Walker recently made the list for the Consulting Magazine's Best Places to Work for small consulting firms (20 to 499 consultants) in the U.S. Often in my blogs, I focus a lot on what other companies do and industry trends. I thought I would take a couple of blogs and turn the mirror on ourselves and focus on what Walker is doing that helped it make the Best Places to Work list.
First let me clarify the award. Consulting Magazine is a magazine devoted to the consulting industry. Over the past several years Walker has shifted its focus from a research company to a consulting company. This award is not only a recognition of Walker being a great place to work but also Walker is a consluting company. We feel the award is more significant than the standard Best Places to Work in Indiana or wherever, as we were compared to our peers and came out as one of the best.
One of the aspects where Walker excelled was Work/Life Balance, ranking second. There are many pieces that go into Walker being excellent for work/life balance. One of the biggest is the paid time off (PTO) policy. Walker associates get over five weeks off a year, yeah that is right, I said over five weeks off. This is an addition to the standard company holidays (Christmas, 4th of July, etc.). They do not delineate between sick days and vacation days. This eases the administrative burden of HR and management to deal with doctor's notes and tracking if it was PTO or a sick day.
I was talking to a friend of mine about work and we got to talking about vacation times. He was telling me if he is sick, he has to take a vacation day. He can only take a sick day when his vacation days are gone. What a stupid, stupid policy. This is not some small mom and pop shop he is working for either, it is a national engineering firm. So let's play this out, I am sick, do you think I am going to take a vacation day to stay home? There is no way, I am going to come in, even though I am probably not going to be very productive and will probably infect the office with whatever bug I have. Rather than stay home for a day and get the rest I need so I can come back to work at full strength, I am going to come into work and this bug will drag on for days. What message does this policy send to the employees? This tells me the company is going to penalize their employees for getting sick and staying home. That is what this is, taking a vacation day for being sick is a penalty.
This PTO policy is just one aspect, I will go into a few more over the next couple of days.