What do millennial job seekers really, really want? To work for a company that values their well-being, particularly by promoting employees’ work-life balance.
According to a recent Gallup poll, nearly 60% of millennials cite work-life balance as “very important” to them when looking for a job, and additional research indicates a large share would go as far as taking a pay cut if it meant attaining better balance. In fact, with all the buzz surrounding balance these days, certain industries with a reputation for long hours and little flexibility may find themselves less considered by millennials.
One industry in particular that could fall prey to these correlations is consulting, a field known for involving extended travel and intense schedules. But to assume work-life balance is off-limits to all consultants would be a mistake — or, at least it would be at ZS, where consultants like Christina Corridon enjoy their share of flexibility without the pay cut.
For her part, Corridon — an assistant principal within ZS’s oncology vertical — can’t support the stereotypes. She’s actually found her role at ZS to be one involving a good amount of flexibility, especially when she contrasts her workload with some of her friends’ in other industries.
“None of my girlfriends from my MBA program are in consulting, and they all work just as much as I do and in many ways have less flexibility,” she pointed out. “If I decide I want to take on additional travelling projects, that decision really lies within me and my power, so to speak… We are thoughtful about (travel), and therefore you don’t consistently see the typical Monday-through-Thursday-night, every-single-week project model; in fact, it’s rare.”
To be sure, by virtue of the way business is done in the consulting industry, life at ZS can still involve some time spent on the road. But rather than subject all employees to the same travel standards, consultants at ZS have the ability to choose a focus and thus maintain more control over their schedules, Corridon clarified.
“You can be client-focused local to where you live or expertise-focused, which may involve a bit more travel but offers the benefit of seeing more of what’s happening across the industry,” she explained. “We have both models and people can have very successful careers in either one. They can also make a shift over time to better balance their lifestyle and their professional aspirations.”
Certainly, Corridon isn’t alone in feeling like she maintains some control over her schedule at ZS; the company’s anonymous employee reviews on Fairygodboss include several positive references to flexibility and balance, like: “At ZS, there is flexibility to create a role that works for your family and still keeps you thinking and growing.” Another reviewer wrote they have always “felt fully supported in both my personal and professional goals,” while still another applauded the company for “providing flexibility as I earned my MBA part-time.”
That combination of collective support and personal agency is paramount to the company’s values, and something Corridon says she sees reflected in the day-to-day of her job, too.
“I really do want to be in the office and working with my teams, but I also have flexibility so that if I’m working all morning with teams across the globe that aren’t local in Boston, I can work from home that day,” she said. “If I’ve had an especially heavy week away from home, I can schedule some personal appointments around that, or I can take an hour out to have breakfast with my husband. I don’t have to feel like it’s a secret, or that I need to cover that up.”
That’s because, in an effort to ward off burnout, ZS encourages employees to “get creative” about making work work for them, a fact that amounts to a more long-term sustainable and effective lifestyle. It’s what enables Corridon to kill it at work during the week (you don’t get named a “rising star” within the industry without the elbow grease to back it up), while her weekends are spent kayaking and hiking with her husband or indulging her serious love of cinema (she has “no guilt” about spending rainy days watching four movies in a row).
Of course, given the increasingly global and plugged-in nature of not only consulting, but most competitive modern industries, not every weekend can be spent in an uninterrupted movie binge-fest. However, Corridon wouldn’t want it to be — her work at ZS, she says, is what truly energizes her, and she knows her team feels the same. And it’s this sense of driving passion that not only helps to stave off burnout, but also makes the company especially millennial-friendly, she adds.
“People are really excited about what they’re doing; we have a lot of interesting people doing interesting things, and with similar passions,” she said. “To me, I think that folds really perfectly in with what a lot of millennials are searching for… to feel like they’re serving a greater purpose or doing something that has meaning and isn’t just focused on the bottom line.”
Though she’s quick to note that ZS does “compensate people very well for what they’re giving,” what’s more important from a generational perspective is the company’s emphasis on values. And that’s evidenced, at least in part, by their slew of social events, like monthly “family meeting” lunches, game nights, in-office wine tastings, and other team-building activities. As busy as consultants often are, it feels especially significant how well-attended these events tend to be — while many of us may moan and groan about being “forced” to attend our company’s annual holiday shindig, the folks at ZS seem to genuinely enjoy spending time together, and doing so often.
“Myself and other leaders at ZS aren’t just focused on driving revenue and selling projects. We have a keen desire to stay connected with each other, and that’s a value of the firm’s, too,” Corridon said. “We know that we will not retain new, young Gen Z talent if we don’t care about our people.”
Want to be part of a high-achieving team that’s equally passionate about work time and play time? Luckily for you, ZS is hiring – check out all their open positions!
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