“At ZS, you truly are in the driver's seat of your own career,” says Anne Brocchini, a Strategy Insights & Planning Manager and the Global Leader of the Women's Leadership Initiative at ZS, a global professional services firm that leverages deep industry expertise, leading-edge analytics, technology and strategy to create solutions for clients that work in the real world. At ZS, you’re “encouraged to figure out what you really want to pursue and then given the room to make it a reality,” Brocchini continues.
The company encourages employees to solve complex problems together and relies on three core values to drive their decisions: Treating people right, doing the right thing and getting it right. As Brocchini explains, from the company’s founding around a kitchen table and “to this day, all important company decisions were made together using our values to pressure test the ideas.”
And, these values are particularly important in times of crisis. “We find ourselves in a remarkably uncertain, ambiguous and volatile time, and we’ve really gotten to see these values in action over the past year,” Brocchini notes.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the company ensured that it was treating people right by making decisions that centered around people. Employees who needed to take care of themselves or family members had generous time off, there was extended vacation accrual for all the people who couldn’t take holidays, additional profit-sharing bonuses and even more of an investment in empathetic leadership and mental health. Additionally, ZS is set on continuing to do the right thing, and are actively engaged in pro bono work to help nearly 3,000 local health departments optimize their distribution of PPE and critical information.
And, in general, Brocchini states that getting it right “is the bedrock of our business and helps each of us on our client projects every day. It is threaded through the QC trainings our new hires go through at the start of their time at ZS and permeates through decisions that our senior partners make when they are thinking side-by-side with our clients about strategy and implementation.” Through their values, ZS makes an impact.
In this article, Brocchini and other employees share more about ZS and the many ways that the company supports them.
A collaborative, people-first attitude.
“The one thing we hear again and again is ‘It’s the people!’” says Brocchini. “At ZS, you will always find someone who is willing to stop what they are doing and help you out. Everyone, at all levels, will roll up their sleeves to get it done.”
“A key part of ZS’ core purpose is solving complex problems together,” she added. This emphasis on collaboration “shows up every day with our flat organization, which encourages everyone, in all roles, to add their ideas to get us to a better solution.” This is all a part of ZS’ collaborative culture, which supports and enables the ideas of all team members.
As an example of this, Brocchini brings up ZS’ “2025 vision,” which involved inviting all employees at ZS to “visioning sessions” where everyone was able to contribute to discussions on the future of the industries ZS is working with as well as the company itself.
Great benefits and flexibility.
ZS’ benefits are flexible and adaptable. Employees can reduce or adjust their schedules for better work-life balance, and the company will top up pay to match the real hours worked, in case employees end up working longer hours.
Additionally, ZS has a family leave program that allows employees to “be parents and caregivers while having a rewarding career,” according to Brocchini. The company also offers dedicated wellness rooms for new mothers.
These benefits truly help ZS employees such as one manager from Brazil, who said that, “I just got back from maternity leave, and coming back to ZS has been better than I could have ever imagined! First, I was promoted while I was on leave, which is awesome and very unlikely to happen in other companies. Second, my teams have been sympathetic to my recently promoted working-mom reality and new schedule restrictions, and company leaders have shown genuine concern for my well-being.”
Professional development opportunities.
At ZS, junior employees are matched with professional coaches, and, at the consultant level, employees are able to choose their own coaches. “When you join ZS, you hold the reins of your career in your own hands and have opportunities to tailor your work to meet your short- and long-term goals,” says Brocchini. “People who are hired in from the outside are surprised at how much trust they are given to drive the direction of their work and ZS more broadly.”
“At ZS, I have been able to thrive with the right opportunities,” says an India-based consultant. “The part that I love about ZS is the constant encouragement to grow and explore beyond your comfort zone. The opportunities are limitless, and you can shape your career based on merit. I also feel that ZS has a unique culture, where the camaraderie between employees is extraordinarily strong and the culture to share and collaborate is extremely transparent."
And, due to the trust put into their team members, ZS quickly gives new employees experience and the opportunity to interact with clients.
For example, Brocchini remarks about how a “ZS Consultant was telling me how he encouraged an Associate with six months tenure to present to our client since she was the one who had been analyzing the survey data. He said, ‘While I think it is thrilling and fun to present to our clients, she was the one who knew the most about the data we were presenting. So, I wanted to give her this chance to shine.’ The three other Consultants on the call nodded their heads agreeing that this is exactly what they would have done, too.”
Further, ZS’ Evolve Program helps employees explore career options, and employees have opportunities to climb the ranks quickly and receive promotions as soon as they’re ready.
Prioritizing DE&I efforts.
From a 24-hour International Women’s Day celebration to a male ally program, ZS invests in initiatives that support their diverse employees, all toward the goal of creating a human-centered workplace.
One notable program is their Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI). This worldwide effort has thousands of members and over 250 global, regional and local leaders and encompasses mentorship, programming and conversations. “The WLI provides a safe space for women and others to raise their voices and their concerns, receive answers to their questions in a comfortable environment and get access to the many female role models and male allies at our firm,” Brocchini explains.
“WLI is almost like my family away from my family,” says one U.S.-based manager. “There’s support on top of what I get from my project managers and my professional development coaches to help counsel me through my formal and informal challenges, allowing me to carve my own career path in ZS. It’s very heartening and motivating to see that there are women who have faced similar challenges to what I’m facing today, and they’ve made it to the top!”
And this isn’t the only way that ZS aids their women employees. “ZS invests heavily in our global programs for women and in creating a human-centered workplace,” says Brocchini. “We are currently running 10 pilots worldwide to solve for the five themes that dampen engagement for women. These pilots run the gamut, including creating the five faces of a champion, sharing a week-in-the-life of videos of our Principals, creating a new time entry system, exploring impact and purpose and amplifying our voices. We have 15 ZS partners (Principals) on this project and close to 70 ZSers bringing all the pilots to life.”
The collaborative environment, benefits, flexibility and DE&I efforts, coupled with plenty of professional development opportunities, make ZS a fulfilling place to work. Want to join the team? They’re hiring! Click the link below to browse current opportunities.
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