Being a part of a consulting company that is growing at a rapid pace, it is easy to be critical of all the growing pains that accompanies growth. Ingrained in our corporate culture is the idea that the most important task for our employees is to be billable. I don’t believe the company does this on purpose, but every conversation always seems to come to the bottom line. As the department I am a part of has grown from a cozy 25 employees to almost 100 employees, the department togetherness has been lost. The department no longer seems like a cohesive business unit with managers working together for the better of the department. Right now, as it stands, managers are only out to improve their own situation by being sure the employees they are directly responsible are billable at any cost. This creates a constant battle of resources and a constant lack of communication. It is crazy to me that the mangers within the department don’t work together, don’t communicate, don’t share resources and knowledge, and in all, just don’t care about eachother. The department has become so disjointed that its really starting to hurt what should be the bottom line, a quality deliverable and a happy client.
To me, this issue resides within the managers themselves, but most of all falls on the shoulders of our department Vice President. As the corporate culture of being billable at any cost will most likely not change, the VP needs to gather his managers and figure out a way to bring back the department to its cohesive unit operating together in unison. Maybe to do this, the VP should stop looking at managers individually and start looking at them as a group. Force them to work together by combining the business units billable numbers. Another solution to bring together the department could be an ERP system or Enterprise Wide Management. An ERP is actually in the works for our company, but I do believe that this will get all the managers using the same tools, performing the same tasks, and in turn coercing them to work together.
What do you guys think? How can our department be sure that managers get their billable numbers, but still work together in the process? Is it possible to change a corporate culture away from a billable nature for a consulting firm?