Customer Career Choices

By Adrienne Fox Jan 1, 2010
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January CoverDeloitte LLP recognized that employees needed a voice in tailoring their career paths to their life stages. In 2005, Cathleen Benko, vice chairman and chief talent officer at Deloitte in Foster City, Calif., launched the Mass Career Customization (MCC) tool to help partners and consultants visualize their career paths.

The tool helps consultants pick projects based on life stage. “You sit down with your manager and decide if you are on an accelerated path or a dial-down path,” Benko explains.

Some projects require high intensity and others don’t, but all are critical to the organization. “If someone is in ‘dial-down’ mode for personal reasons, then you don’t want to be on a mergers-and-acquisition project, which requires a lot of hours and travel. Dialing down doesn’t hurt your career,” Benko stresses, adding that everyone at some point needs to slow down. Meanwhile, “We have other consultants who are in a stage of acceleration who will have a better success rate on high-intensity projects.”

MCC is built into Deloitte’s talent management life cycle from acquisition to performance management to compensation to career development to deployment. The workload dimension is indexed to compensation. If you’re dialed down to 80 percent of your time, your compensation is lowered to 80 percent.

After four years at Deloitte, Mike Jacobson, a financial advisory services senior associate in the Chicago office, discussed his interest in pursuing an MBA, using the MCC framework, with his supervisor. To fit in MBA studies with his work, Jacobson dialed down his schedule to reflect his travel restrictions. He maintains a full-time workload, but his career pace has slowed.

Jacobson says the MCC tool helped him become more articulate about his career/life choices. He adds that solid preparation and getting early buy-in from his leaders were key to his ability to develop a career/life fit that works for him and the business.

Since implementing MCC, Deloitte has seen a 25 percent improvement in employee satisfaction in career/life fit and a 30 percent increase in expectation for future satisfaction of career/life fit. Employees say knowing the option is available eases stress. Retention of top performers has jumped 15 percent.

With MCC rollouts under way in global operations, Benko says it will keep Deloitte competitive. 

The author is a contributing editor and former managing editor of HR Magazine.

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