Reflections on Prophet’s Listing as a ‘Best Firm to Work For’
This challenge is teaching us to think even more deeply about what it means to nurture and develop talent.
Our values vibrate throughout our organization. We see this in the way our teams support one another and the way we show up for clients. We are fiercely committed to offering quality solutions to challenging business problems while holding on tight to our humanity in the process. Clients often note Propheteers’ ability to deliver high-quality thinking and solutions, without compromising their best selves. It is the depth with which people embrace, build upon and live our values, that has led Prophet to be honored with a ‘Best Firm to Work For’ award by Consulting Magazine.
Given this honor, I wanted to take the time to reflect on this past year – a whirlwind of a year like none other.
We’re all continuing to adapt to these challenging times – both in the consulting industry and in our personal lives. What’s most fascinating is the crossover between the work we are doing internally to keep Prophet’s business moving forward and the ways we are supporting and guiding our clients. At the beginning of the pandemic, Prophet took swift, empathetic actions to address the sudden changes in the market. As we uncovered solutions that worked for our business, we’ve been able to share ideas to help our clients find their footing at the same time.
Along the way, we’ve learned that no one can eliminate risks. But if we can find ways to be empathetic, transparent and supportive as we navigate this context together, we can strengthen our bonds, elevate our sense of community and feed off of each other’s energy to unlock the strength we need now and in the days ahead. By focusing on our people and our relationships with clients, we became more comfortable leaning on one another and navigating this together. We became more confident in our intentions and our commitment to moving forward.
Maintaining morale by putting our people & culture first
Morale has remained remarkably strong. We’ve truly seen a collective spirit of resilience. This “fearlessness” – one of our company values – has always existed in our people, but we are seeing it play out in tremendous, fresh ways. We’re piloting new tools and programs for remote working, pivoting in-person client events to become engaging digital experiences and teaming and collaborating in new ways across disciplines and geographies. Our biggest business transformation project to date was launched in June without traveling to the client for months.
Our people are the life force that powers our business. And we’ve even seen resilience in fostering those relationships and finding unique ways to keep our culture alive. We asked a focused team to take this “culture and morale” issue head-on, and they helped us design new, fresh ways to engage our employees, build community and connectedness without the usual constructs of offices and typical gathering places. They’ve created new experiences that will become of the Prophet traditions of tomorrow, like a “Prophet Rocks” virtual concert from teammates (and their families) around the globe, the Prophet Summer Olympics, a soon-to-be-launched Prophet TikTok Dance Challenge, and so many more. We also created space for weekly “Global Pulse Checks”; a time set aside for the entire firm to gather virtually as a community to unpack current events, share “kudos”, celebrate holidays and milestones and learn from and about one another.
But we also recognize that morale has its own ebbs and flows. The pandemic has put enormous strains on our people – both at work and at home. Over the past six months, we’ve encouraged our people to take the time they need to reflect, refresh and focus on their mental health. And we focused more and more on creating spaces to welcome and facilitate ongoing dialogue, both in formal and informal ways. We listened as our colleagues grieved over Black lives lost to racism and demanded Prophet do more in the fight for racial equality. We’ve learned that the best way to maintain morale is through open and honest communication. That the more we can communicate, the better we can do for everyone– employees, their families and communities, our clients and society.
Being two years into our own firm transformation has elevated our focus
We began to accelerate our firm’s transformation agenda at the beginning of 2019. We created a Transformation Management Office devoted to aligning our efforts and strategy with our longer-term aspirations. We reconnected with who we wanted to be (an indispensable ally that helps our clients unlock uncommon growth), expanded our superpowers, built upon our strengths and embraced a period of internal growth. Through these efforts, Propheteers have come to embrace a ‘growth mindset,’ which helped us manage the ‘growing pains,’ discover agile ways of working and refreshed our sense of purpose.
We were happy we started this ambitious transformation when we did – as a large focus of it was our own digital transformation and upskilling employees on all things digital. Of course, as we adapted to the global pandemic, we were pleased that a lot of our digital processes were already in place, which made the transition to remote work easier.
“Our people are the life force that powers our business.”
As a leadership team, we remain committed to growing and adapting our offerings to shifting client needs, accelerating our growth momentum and developing a robust incubator and innovation pipeline with net-new offers and IP. We are excited to have the operational and financial strength to continue to invest in this transformation agenda in 2021 and beyond.
Strengthening our commitment to building a diverse, equitable & inclusive workplace
Most recently, we’ve put more investment behind our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts and we know that doing so will play an instrumental role in our long-term growth as a firm. It’s another reason for our people to be proud and energized to be here. We have lots of work to do, but we have already engaged actively: Prophet is working to increase our diversity representation, we are developing firmwide training programs focused on antiracism, microaggressions, inclusivity and bias and we are donating $4 million of our pro-bono hours to organizations committed to racial justice.
Our DEI efforts are a large focus for the next six to 12 months. We are currently working with Collective, an outside DEI consulting firm, to evaluate the results of our firm-wide DEI survey, to audit our internal systems and processes and to help deploy a new DEI strategy for Prophet. We’ve rolled out an employee training on unconscious bias and microaggressions and look forward to embracing the other educational opportunities our Learning & Development team is putting together.
Our people team is busy recruiting top talent – including a new Head of DEI for our firm. Our employee resource groups – Women in Leadership, Pride at Prophet and Black at Prophet – are continuing to develop programs that drive the community and advance our inclusivity. Additionally, our offices are hosting monthly ‘Listening Sessions’ to create a space for honest and important conversations on the local level. We know that by making DEI a top business priority, Prophet’s business will only grow. And as we learn more, we will grow better, together.
2020 is a year that has tested us all in such profound and unexpected ways. If anything, this honor gives us an opportunity to take a step back to reflect on the resilience of our team, our culture and our clients in this extraordinary year and express our gratitude. The firm is changing and the change is powered by innovative ideas, new methods and digitally-powered workflows. This evolution is springing up organically all around the globe because everyone feels empowered to lead, innovate and change. Nothing lifts the spirit of people more during trying times than having the ability to drive meaningful, purposeful, high-impact work that improves the lives of people, communities and institutions.
So yes, we will use this as an opportunity to celebrate with our teams. Thank you to everyone for the continued energy, positivity and commitment that fuels our Prophet community and allows our teams to deliver smart, creative and innovative growth moves for our clients.