2013 was an invigorating year of growth, delivery excellence and strategic exploration. As I reflect upon the impact we had at some of the world’s greatest companies, the public-facing digital experiences we created, the obstacles we overcame time and time again on behalf of our clients, it is really inspiring.
We can feel proud of winning another set of national and local Best Place to Work awards. This incredibly positive sentiment is also shared through our annual employee surveys and in everyday interactions I have with our people who are thrilled to be at Slalom. We have given back to the areas and communities where we each live. We are active in making our presence known and are proud to leave a positive footprint in all the places where Slalom offices exist.
This past year was also one of self-realization and commitment to defining our true self. We took the time to look at why we really exist—what really drives us at Slalom—what kind of legacy we want to create. Through a series of cross-market exploratory sessions we came up with
OUR PURPOSE: to help our employees, clients, and communities be amazing. I believe we live this each and every day.
In partnership with defining our purpose, we refreshed the original Core Values that I penned back in April of 2001, while staying true to the spirit of them. We have grown and matured beyond any expectations I had 13 years ago. These are our guideposts. We can feel secure that no matter how big we may get and where we may go, these will always resonate with our people.
In 2013 we invited all our employees to participate in our Strategy Evolution. This kind of transparency—especially for a company of our size—is rare at best. As a result, our updated 2015 Strategy is a true reflection of our people. It is deliberate and actionable, and sets the stage for an expanded 2020 Strategic Plan.
I’m proud to work for this company. Thank you for all you do for Slalom every day.
Our 2015 Strategy Evolution started with asking our employee investors to come to the table with the One Big Idea each wanted to see reflected in our updated strategic plan. We collected a staggering 373 ideas. They were good ideas. Big ideas. Ideas worth discussion and exploration. We grouped like things together and then invited all our employees to vote on them. We had more than 80 percent participation company-wide, and the votes cast helped us to narrow the field of ideas to the those that most resonated with our people.
Our finalized 2015 Strategic Plan is framed in pillars with accompanying long-term visions:
The initiatives in our Strategic pillars are consistent with our Core Values, drive toward better quality for our clients, are meaningful to our employees who helped to form them, and are measurable. We are committed to making substantial progress against each initiative, and to providing our employees with regular status updates and insights as we progress. We’re in this together.
We have amazing teams of talented people across every market we serve. Success in each requires the right leadership, sales team, recruiting team, and most importantly—our consultants. Every individual who joins us become part of our fabric, weaving their unique talents and perspective to the greater whole of who we are. We are family, and our roots run deep.
Slalom has been built on Core Values and principles. Our values put people first, and provide us with a sense of pride and connection to one another.
Today, Slalom is a $500M company, organically grown and employee owned. Our local model backed by National teams provides our clients with a breadth of services, expertise, and scalability to tackle a broad range of projects. Each of our markets has a unique personality derived from the talented individuals who call Slalom home, and the needs to the clients we ultimately serve.
* Numbers shown are as of the end of the 2013 calendar year
2014 could go down as one of the most impactful years in new market development in our history. With the tremendous momentum of the firm and opportunities in front of us, we are looking at one of our biggest investment years ever.
We are planning to open the Houston office on April 1 and are in full speed driving our new market recruiting efforts there. Houston could become one of our biggest offices in the United States if we have the same success there as we have in other markets.
The Phoenix market opened in the second half of 2013, and already has a couple of clients and eight consultants on board. We are officially “launching” the market in early 2014 as we align to find a local Phoenix market leader. Joe Davey relocated from Seattle to Phoenix to lead our technology group in the region and is an integral part of helping make Phoenix a successful market for us.
Our London office will open its doors on June 2, 2014. Opening an office in another country is a huge undertaking that requires a tremendous amount of planning and effort. There is so much to do that we have a team of 10 people working on the various aspects of setting up the business. This includes representatives from Legal, Technology, Finance & Accounting, Human Resources, and Operations.
While London is getting strong attention as our first international office, we are also actively researching and networking to make Toronto our second international office. Toronto is one of North America’s largest markets and if all the stars align, we hope to open our Slalom office there in the second half of 2014.
Every day we have the opportunity to help our clients solve some of their most complex and interesting business challenges. In 2013, we worked with 590 clients to deliver innovative business solutions across a broad spectrum of industries and capabilities. Our consultants bring depth of experience, knowledge and capabilities in their chosen fields to every project. There are a lot of great stories to be told from the work we do together. Here are a few of our favorites from 2013.
Together with Slalom Consulting, Hyatt Hotels Corporation launched an award-winning solution, Group Bill, that's earning standing ovations throughout the hospitality industry. Hyatt wanted to provide its event planners and group event attendees with a superior experience. Group Bill has transformed Hyatt's group billing processes through a concise, accurate, and real-time view of all group charges. Customers and employees are more satisfied, and Hyatt has earned significant operational savings.
Holland America Line (HAL) knew it was time to explore the uncharted waters of mobile technology, and turned to Slalom Consulting for strategic guidance on making their once-in-a-lifetime experiences come to life on a mobile device. The Slalom team delivered a sleek tablet app that empowers Shorex Managers to provide passengers a comprehensive overview of shore excursions including photos, trip details, and availability—along with booking capabilities—from onboard the ship. Holland America employees can complete the transaction at a location most convenient for the guest—a pool chair, bar stool, or any other location with a Wi-Fi connection.
CRN Tech News is a subscription-based, daily edition for Windows 8 that delivers breaking technology news, valuable executive lists and awards, and a regular series of investigative content that's unavailable anywhere else. Slalom helped CRN bring the power of Windows 8 to its readers by developing a dynamic tablet experience.
Streamlining efforts and boosting efficiencies was a top priority for Advocate Health Care, a leading not-for-profit healthcare system in Illinois. Advocate teamed up with Slalom Consulting to set up a lean project management office (PMO), train its Field IT team, and set the stage for long-term sustainability. Slalom provided a tailored set of easy-to-use standardized tools and documentation. A centralized repository was built on Microsoft SharePoint, enabling shared visibility of status for all local and corporate projects.
“Slalom truly partnered with us to understand our culture, tools, and business needs, ultimately setting us up for long-term success. A lot of consulting firms can deliver a project, but it’s rare to end up with a solution that empowers the organization to be self-sustainable long after the consulting firm leaves,” says Ron Fovargue, Vice President of Field Services.
2013 was a year in which Slalom Consulting solidified the development of nine “cross-market” national communities focused on some of our most critical competencies and industries.
Each community comprises of a group of Slalom employees who represent the markets in a particular area of expertise. The nine communities were selected based on Slalom core competencies and also industries where we’ve gained a lot of momentum over the past several years.
The communities were established to:
Launching these communities has begun to transform how we support each other across markets and how we enable our community members in general. There has been a major shift in our sense of One Team and how we support each other with projects, opportunity pursuits and asset development.
|Cross-Market Community||Interesting Outcome in 2013|
|Application Development||Worked in tandem with Slalom’s National Delivery teams to develop, evangelize and publicize our National Agile Delivery Methodology into the local markets, enabling a consistent methodology for Agile-based projects across all Slalom markets.|
|Customer Relationship Management||Developed and published a standard methodology for delivering projects (sales through project closure) that includes productivity tools and templates (e.g., Project Profile Repository, Sales Collateral, etc.). This methodology (CRM Artifacts Library or CAL) will greatly improve the quality and consistency of our delivery of CRM projects.|
Developed two assessment diagnostic tools, completed a proof-of-concept portfolio management tool, and developed and led a national training seminar for consultants interested in PMP certification preparation.
Supported multiple markets in delivering DL-based solutions for clients.
|Healthcare||Extensive sharing of knowledge, thought leadership, and experiences by our employees with a passion for the healthcare industry resulted in the development of perspectives on patient engagement and business performance improvement. These perspectives have been leveraged across multiple Slalom markets that have a concentration of healthcare industry clients.|
|Information Management & Analytics||
Launched a blogging initiative in early 2013 to increase national awareness of IM&A capabilities and improve our marketing of IM&A to our target clients.
|Organizational Effectiveness||Launched a progressive point of view on “Lean Learning” that starts with the premise that requiring less learning helps people perform better. It’s a holistic approach that delivers the right knowledge at the point of need in the way a learner needs it, based on individual knowledge level. Development of this point of view was a tremendous cross-market collaboration effort that is having significant impact with our clients in almost every market.|
|Retail||Enabled cross-market sharing of key trends in the retail industry and within Slalom. Developed new retail industry whitepapers using input from multiple market leaders for use in marketing efforts, and also provided cross-market support on key client work that required deep retail expertise.|
|Portals & Collaboration||Conducted regular solution summits to promote collaboration among one of Slalom’s largest technology services areas and in addition launched initiatives in Knowledge Management, Common Frameworks, Communications and Onboarding, and Gamification. Developed a robust SharePoint 2013 Playbook on Architecture and Migration, onboarding and delivery readiness resources by the Communications team, and two highly successful challenges campaigns run by the Gamification and KM teams focused on skill mastery and project deliverables respectively.|
|User Experience||UX teams learned Requirements Visualization from experts across the nation, which led to increased skills and offering of the Requirements Visualization capability in the market. The collaboration and knowledge sharing bolstered growth, camaraderie and overall unity of the entire community|
In 2013 we doubled our commitment to building our business consulting and industry capabilities under a unified team we are internally calling Industry & Functional (I&F). The goal of our I&F practices is to provide the subject matter expertise, practice and community development support, and sales acumen to perform as a force multiplier for both our market teams and the National Delivery Network.
Denis Farmer is leading our industry-focused practices with a continued emphasis on Financial Services while also building out leadership within our Healthcare practice. Denis and team are tapping into the existing leadership and momentum we have around healthcare in the markets as well as adding those key experts who will enable us to achieve the outcomes we believe are possible at Slalom.
Chad Corneil leads the other half of I&F with a focus on Business Advisory Services (BAS). BAS will look to draw together the amazing story we already have around Strategy & Operations, Delivery Leadership, and Organizational Effectiveness into a unified message internally and externally. Our core focus is to connect and amplify the great work we are doing as we continue to focus on being known for our outcomes.
Our integrated National organization went through some great growth and alignment over the course of 2013 that truly speaks to our rallying cry of One Team. The biggest move was the integration of the Slalom Delivery Network, our national technology practices, and the digital product development team from Chicago under a single organization.
Made up of nearly 250 Slalom employees, the National Delivery Network (NDN) is leveraged by every local market and supports clients outside of our markets. In 2013, we experienced another year of significant growth, expansion, and integration with all our markets, led by Mike Cowden, Ian Cook, and Stephen Roger. We continued to build depth and breadth of capability and technology expertise as well as deal pursuit and delivery leadership. NDN will continue to build scale and expertise and will expand to support our new markets.
This model has proven to be a big differentiator for us in the market. Our clients view the local model with regional scale as a strategic component of their vendor strategy. The backlog of demand from the business coupled with the rapid pace of technological change demands a delivery model that is nimble, responsive, available, and cost-effective. We are seeing demand continue to grow as companies invest in strategic initiatives and top-line growth. Our investment in National and the National Delivery Network has uniquely positioned us to partner with our clients and meet that demand.
The Studio was founded on the idea that we could create consistent and best-in-class materials that support National Delivery and all our markets. In 2013 we expanded our capabilities in the areas of design, digital, social and editorial. We completed over 750 projects ranging from critical proposals and sales collateral to event support and videos. We added lots of wow and pop to otherwise traditional presentations. We looked at ways to create the unexpected with creative ingenuity. The Studio is proud to support the people who live our brand every day.
The Studio’s goal has always been to enable connections between our clients, people, and communities. In 2014 we are even more focused on creating compelling content that brings the Slalom story to life. Our editorial team of writers, editors, and social media experts gives us the ability to make those connections in a more relevant, timely and personal way.
How we publish is changing too. You’ll see more emphasis on social media channels and innovative use of the web, video, audio and traditional media. With our growing numbers and new offices, we recognize the need to create systems that allow our consultants and leaders to share their insights across multiple channels, with minimal bottlenecks.
Our improved operating model will contain three integrated teams around Operations and Systems (led by Steve Donnelly), Creative and Design (led by Mack) and Editorial (led by Chris Sallquist). Stay tuned for stories that celebrate our brand. We encourage you to reach out to us and help us shape the next wave. Our doors are open.
Each day at Slalom, we help our clients, communities, and each other be amazing. Great people who are constantly growing are the key to delivering “amazing,” and in 2013 we made significant investments in growing our people.
The driving purpose of Slalom Talent is to enable our consultants to thrive professionally and provide ever greater value and service to our clients.
Highlights in 2013:
We rolled out a new Performance process this year to give employees year-round recognition and feedback. Giving each other recognition is a great way to celebrate what we’re doing well. Feedback from many sources gives us a more well-rounded view of our performance, helping us get even better at what we do. Also new in 2013 was a Mentoring program that will help our people find wisdom and guidance from others.
Slalom Edge was launched to help us efficiently view, manage, and develop our talent. Edge facilitates our performance cycles, including feedback, goal setting, and recognition. Employees can also use Edge to find learning opportunities, request approval, and register online. People all over Slalom took advantage of the Professional Development benefit in 2013, which is flexible to allow everyone to acquire the skills and knowledge they need to excel.
We rolled out several new classes this year, including DISC workshops to increase our communication effectiveness with coworkers and clients. More than 1,300 Slalomites have taken the DISC assessment, and over 50 facilitators at Slalom are now certified to deliver this workshop with internal teams and clients.
As our business grows, so does our need for strong leaders. We established two new leader roles to support the work we do with clients and add delivery-focused career paths for consultants: Solution Principal and Principal Consultant. We’ve also continued to expand our Integral Leadership Program (ILP) to intentionally grow our senior leaders. In 2014 we’ll be rolling much of this leadership content to employees across Slalom.
We’re excited to help make Slalom an even more amazing place to work in 2014. We’ll be focused on career development for consultants, leadership development for managers, apprenticeships to leader roles, and continued improvement in the performance process.
Slalom.org is truly representative of all the community engagement activities we do. This takes the form of volunteer events, fundraisers, donations and sponsorships, and pro bono engagements. In 2013, the primary of focus of Corporate Responsibility has been community engagement, building on the incredible portfolio of philanthropic activities we have engaged in year after year. We also augmented our local Slalom.org efforts with a national program to help provide additional support, guidance, and organization.
Across the board in 2013 we had incredible participation in community engagement activities. Coordinated by enthusiastic employees with the full support of leadership, our Slalom.org network participated in volunteer events, fundraisers, donations and sponsorships and pro bono engagements.
The total estimated financial value of our community impact for 2013 was $1,002,000! In addition to donations made directly by Slalom and the ever-increasing funds raised by our Slalom employees, a large portion of our giving came in the form of the value of our pro bono service to non-profits.
The development of our pro bono activities has been the primary differentiator from past years, especially through our “Philanthropy Fellow” placement program. The program, which started as a pilot in Seattle in 2012, places a consultant at a qualified non-profit for three months, full time.
The Seattle and San Francisco offices had a total of five placements in 2013, and we are looking to expand the program to other markets. Beneficiaries in 2014 included Hopelink, Child Care Resources, Big Brothers Big Sisters, United Way, and Larkin Street Youth.
The biggest fundraiser of the year was the second annual National Food Drive, in which we collectively raised over $120,000 to fight hunger. That was a 43 percent increase over the 2012 total! In spirited competition, New York took the honor of most raised per employee.
The giving spirit is strong across all our offices. You may have seen a lot more facial hair last fall, due to the grassroots effort spanning most of our Slalom markets to participate in Movember, in which our teams raised over $25,000 for men’s health awareness.
In addition to these national programs, our Slalom family has participated in numerous events through local offices with their own donations and time. Some of these included the Make-A-Wish Foundation, backpack drives for school-aged children, “Power Lunch” for literacy in local schools, GiveCamp, silent auctions for numerous non-profits, and much more.
In 2013 we established a cross-representational Advisory Council to define guidelines and strategy moving forward, as well as a designated Corporate Responsibility lead: Adam Barley. Rest assured that as Slalom continues to grow, this area is something we take seriously, and we are committed to providing value to our communities and employees through our philanthropic efforts.
We additionally made a concerted effort to define, measure, and talk about our community engagement at a national level. Having the ability to track corporate giving not only provides us visibility into the overall impact we have in our communities, but also enables us to better plan and manage our level of investment in the future.
In the coming year, we will continue developing better resources and tools, define our Corporate Responsibility strategy and goals, and share our community impact stories more broadly.
There are many reasons we want a diverse team at Slalom; chief among them is the belief that we make better decisions as a company when garnering input from people with diverse backgrounds, perspectives and experiences. While there are several areas in which we need to impact the diversity of our business (e.g. gender, race, orientation, experiential, etc.), we chose to focus on one in 2013—gender diversity—to allow us to hone our processes and thinking before broadening out to the others.
Within the context of gender diversity at Slalom we focused our team on several areas with the goal of developing an understanding of how we can recruit and retain more women.
Recruiting: The team developed an overall scorecard for Slalom as a company and also one for each market. Updated and produced monthly, it gives GMs the information needed to understand their markets’ recruiting efforts, ultimately paving the way for healthy discussions around recruiting successes and difficulties.
Leadership: It’s important that the efforts we undertake stay true to our Slalom culture, and for that to happen, we need to understand our attitudes and perspectives. To do this, we are currently working with an outside consultant to develop a holistic view of Slalom and our perspectives on women leaders. We will use this as input to ensure what we put in place is developed and implemented consistently with our culture and core values.
Slalom Women Connect: Women in each market had the opportunity to engage with this formal group to build and strengthen relationships with each other. The markets held a broad range of events for women leaders, many that involved clients and community leaders in meaningful and engaging ways.
We have already started to broaden our efforts to include other areas of diversity, led by the LGBT community. Soon you will hear more about our efforts as we build our approach to Diversity and Inclusion and continue to make Slalom the best place to work for all.
At Slalom, we believe that successful companies thrive on the passion and creativity of their employees, but that truly great companies are built when employees have the opportunity to see their contributions through the entrepreneurial experience.
One of our goals with our equity incentive programs is to attract, retain and reward talented individuals at all levels of the company and across all of our markets who are looking for a dynamic organization in which to invest their career, and in so doing create an engaging, multi-generational culture within Slalom.
We place a high value on our company culture and believe our equity incentive programs set us apart from comparable companies. Our equity incentive programs have resulted in great participation and employee feedback, and we are excited to continue offering this opportunity to our employees.