Our staff’s personal and professional development is one of the most important aspects of our culture. Here’s how we support that development.
Picture a pyramid where technical skills form the foundation. Communication skills, which staff must use to share their technical skills effectively with clients in order to build relationships, come next. As clients become more comfortable and secure in their relationships, staff can better provide insights and solutions related to clients’ business opportunities and challenges. Finally, over time, we reach the pinnacle — the point where clients come to view firm staff as trusted advisors.
We call this our “Pyramid of Progress,” and we challenge our staff to understand where they are on the pyramid and what needs to be done to get to the next level. It’s a way for them to visualize and articulate how well they’re serving our clients and identify opportunities for improvement.
We support and incent staff on their journey to the top of the pyramid through extensive training and other programs.
Both new hires and seasoned staff take advantage of ongoing firm-focused and technical trainings geared to specific roles and competencies. We also focus on leadership development training early on, proactively preparing staff to take on roles. Trainings are intensely focused, highly interactive, and often include members of the firm’s leadership team. Participants are encouraged to ask tough, candid questions.
We also offer many optional training courses on time management, public speaking, and conflict management, to name a few examples. If a staff member requests a training we don’t offer, we’ll help identify external training. And, we encourage all staff to share their knowledge gleaned from external trainings with one another in informal settings, such as our popular “lunch-and-learns.”
Ninety-three percent of our staff said they’re offered training and development opportunities to further themselves professionally.
Programs and policies
In addition to our training programs, many other programs and policies support our culture of staff development.
Buddy & team partner program
Often cited as new staff members’ favorite thing about joining the firm, our Buddy & Team Partner Program pairs each new staff member, including interns, with two experienced staff to oversee their care and career development. Buddies function as a big brother or sister to help newcomers get acclimated, while team partners assist with career coaching, planning, and performance evaluation.
Open Door policy
We’re serious about our open door policy. Staff are encouraged to stop in, ask questions, or share concerns with each other at any time. Except for scheduled meetings, even our managing partner’s door is always open.
Candor is kindness
Supervisors and staff members are expected to treat each other with mutual respect and candor, and staff at all levels are encouraged to offer positive, constructive, and immediate feedback.
Tech-savvy practice staff with ideas about optimizing technology have opportunities to put their heads together and share their thoughts with the firm's CIO and management team. Often, innovation groups go on to run a pilot of their idea or take ownership of implementation.
Female mentoring programs
Our Women in Leadership initiative champions a popular, 18-month mentoring program that pairs senior-level female associates with female and male partners to provide additional guidance and support along the path to partnership. Beyond formal mentor pairings, participants also have access to training on many personal and professional development topics.
Staff resource group
Plante Moran has two staff resource groups (SRGs) — the African-American SRG and PM Pride (LGBTQ+ staff and allies) — designed to serve as a network for diverse staff by providing a source of learning and knowledge-sharing, offering support, and maximizing diverse staff’s potential for career development. These groups have been instrumental in retaining talented diverse staff. “Plante Moran is a people-firm, known for its culture,” says AA SRG Leader Shawana Jackson. “But it’s challenging to come to the firm and not have it quite click for you like it does for everyone else. These SRGs get staff members connected to people who are culturally like them and passionate about the same things.”
As you can see, our staff’s personal and professional development is one of the most important aspects of our culture. Our firm was founded on the belief that successful organizations develop, coach, mentor, and reward staff. And it pays off: According to the 2019 Great Place to Work survey — the basis for Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list, which we’ve been on for 21 years running — 93 percent of our staff said they’re offered training and development opportunities to further themselves professionally.
So how about you? How will you progress up your pyramid of progress? Check out our open opportunities today.