Professional Services Firm

Business Problem:
Internal studies have found that the ability to manage work and personal commitments
and a flexible, supportive work environment are competitive differentiators for the firm,
contributing to increased employee commitment and the ability to attract and retain key
talent. The firm wanted to create a culture of flexibility and improve team satisfaction and
effectiveness at the client engagement level to enhance productivity and quality client
service and reduce turnover on engagements.

A structured dialogue and planning process was piloted with three client engagement
teams to utilize flexible and more effective ways of working to better manage workload,
client, team and personal commitments. Through this process several barriers were
identified. Staff turnover on engagements led to inadequate staffing and added to
workload and long hours. Multiple and sometimes unrealistic requests for high priority,
time sensitive tasks coupled with client delays in providing essential information
contributed to stress and added more work and hours for team members.

Through a Team Effectiveness Dialogue and Planning Process, teams established
better client management and communication plans to clarify expectations and
timelines and held weekly team check-in calls for updates and problem solving. In
addition, the teams developed flexible/virtual work operating principles and ground
rules to encourage more flexible and innovative ways of working and integrated
personal priorities into project planning.


At the end of the pilot, teams reported improvements in team effectiveness,
communication, morale, satisfaction and flexibility to manage work and personal
commitments. This in turn led to enhanced productivity and quality of client service and
reduced turnover as demonstrated by professionals who indicated a desire to work on
these engagements in the coming year – engagements which had experienced high
turnover and low morale previously. The firm is planning to expand the use of this
process throughout the firm.

“I am very pleased with this process as evidenced by success stories from my team
regarding improved flexibility, morale, work/life balance and team effectiveness.”

Senior Manager,
Professional Services Firm
New York, New York

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