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ACN laddering experience

#1 ACN laddering experience
13/01/2013 16:21


I am sure Acn guys here would have had much more worst laddering experiences than mine, so just thought of checking out if this is universal..

In my first project my tenure was for 3 months only after which I was rolled off and moved to another client/project. So the first project gave me only Consistent with rating inspite of giving excellent feedback in my performance. The only development point given to me was I should network with senior management more. I could see the obvious reason that since I was leaving the project, there was no reason for them to give me a good rating..!

In my second project which ran the rest of the year, during mid year I was told I am performing at the top end of above level with a serious chance of moving to Significantly above or very top by the end of the year. However although I kept getting more and more client appreciation in next two months, I got only consistent with rating after my laddering. I was told by the Sr. mngr that these things are unfortunate but these things happen. Again when I asked for even a single point that I should improve on, I was told that there is no negative feedback at all and I am the best person in the entire team, but due to laddering process at account level I lost out..

now I am again being told that this year I will definitely be pushed for promotions and all, but should I really believe this? I had joined Acn at a much lower level than my previous employer as that is the normal thing for Acn to hire experienced people at much lower grades ..and now I have waited for 2 years for promotion..

should I believe the same people or just move on and find higher grade at other consultancies?

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#2 RE: ACN laddering experience
13/01/2013 22:53

TripleTwistTrump to cloudnumbernine4u (#1)

Your mistake is waiting 2 years for a promotion and believing their sorry excuse every time.....ACN SE, SM and Ms 'standard' answers when you are a top performer but havent been around the blocks, spent late nights with the groups or havent kissed behinds is 'you were the best but the laddering process dint help' answer - come on, how can you miss out almost 4 times, counting the exception rounds, when you are the best?

They are just towing the line and expecting you to either believe them and stay or get frustrated and isnt the first, nor the last, time this will happen.....look around and if you get something better then go for it.....doesnt look like they are respecting your skills nor rewarding your efforts...move on!


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#3 RE: ACN laddering experience
14/01/2013 07:37

Arby the Manager to TripleTwistTrump (#2)

It's not fair, but usual I'm afraid.

Once you are up for promotion, they will usually support you and you'll suddenly find you are catapulted from "Consistent" to "Significantly Above". This happened twice for me early in my career from Analyst to Consultant and then again from Consultant to Manager. From Mgr to Senior Manager was a different story....

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#4 RE: ACN laddering experience
14/01/2013 10:28

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to Arby the Manager (#3)

I hear they pride themselves on "High performance" so it may be that you need to be "Extra high performance"

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#5 RE: ACN laddering experience
14/01/2013 17:20

Bob to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#4)

The laddering meetings I participated in at Accenture quite clearly demonstrated the concept of 'sponsorship' or 'patronage'.

It's a forced distribution on a ladder. Two people can't be equal; one has to always be above the other. And if you have a bunch of good people where one is backed/supported/sponsored by a PIP (pre IPO partner) and another is backed by a junior Manager then its pretty clear which way the ladder will end up.

So the need to network, impress, brown-nose, scratch backs, toe the line, never contradict the right people is essential if you wish to end up on the top of the ladder. Come laddering time if you have the client/account partner batting for you then you'll have nothing to worry about.

And if the client partner has never heard of you but has 3 Analysts (or whatever your level is) carrying their bag every day then you're in trouble. After all he doesn't want to have to have the conversation with his bag carriers to explain why they've only been given CWs.

But it's not some evil nasty conspiracy that's peculiar to Accenture. It's life in the corporate world. At least there is a meeting with HR sitting in the room. In banking you'll have the MD deciding by himself how the bonus pot is split.

If you really do feel hard done by or wronged then challenge it formally with HR. But first make sure it's really worth it.

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#6 RE: ACN laddering experience
14/01/2013 20:23

cloudnumbernine4u to Bob (#5)

Dear All,

thanks for your advice, experiences. I agree with all the comments here. Feel you need to mould yourself into this culture and understand how the process works to be successful rather than just delivering client value..

Sometimes I also feel, that one needs to be more practical than ethical..just after joining Acn, within a month I had received an offer from Deloitte for higher salary and a higher position (I had given interviews for both at the same time but Deloitte interview process was too slow and also I was not happy with their delays), but I felt it was not professional to join Acn and leave within a month so decided to stay on...also I fell for the wrong carrot by the recruitment consultant that within 6 months I could be promoted due to some fast track promotion mechanism at Acn. it was only after staying long enough I realised there is nothing called as fast track promotion at Acn...

well I have learnt my lesson, I have decided to wait till April - Mid Year results and then take a decision. I know wherever I go it will be the same, but at least in my next move I wont depend on what could happen after 6 months or 1 year..and will make a decision on what is being offered at the moment..!

thanks all for all your time to respond..feels nice to get a view from people who have been there and done that..!

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#7 RE: ACN laddering experience
15/01/2013 12:25

Bob to cloudnumbernine4u (#6)

@Cloud9 - you sound like you're taking this quite maturely.

If you want some advice re. your upcoming promotion point: don't just 'wait for April'. You need to manage the cr*p out of it just as you would a client project.

It's about stakeholder management. Identify the key influencers / partners / SMs and make sure they know who you are, what you're doing and why you deserve a promotion.

Then figure out who your sponsor is. And make sure they're senior enough and have enough clout. If the default sponsor is too junior, approach someone more senior, buy them a coffee, and ask them to be your sponsor. If they say yes, they'll have skin in the game: failure to get you promoted is now partly their failure to help make it happen.

Help them with the paperwork in preparation - write up your promotion case so they can use it as a script them they're going to bat for you: cover what you've done, what has added to the complixity of the roles, what value you've added, how many people you've managed (directly / indirectly, client / consulant), feedback or endorsements received from clients. And make it pithy so they don't have to spend much time trawling through it.

Then get your sponsor to start laying the ground work. Ask them to give you a view on whether you're ready - and to validate that view with the wider senior leadership team (i.e. start lobbying on your behalf). If answer comes back as 'no' then ask them what the gaps are and close them.

And yes, it will help if you attend drinks, dinners, account meetings, etc. You can call it brown-nosing but mainly its just being visible and making sure people know who you are.

Finally, watch out for the thin line that takes you from 'actively managing your career and promotion' into 'desparately nagging for promotion'.

Good luck.

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#8 RE: ACN laddering experience
15/01/2013 14:30

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to Bob (#7)

Eugh, sounds like a lot of hard work, all this politics and persuasion business. I'd just fire off a few CVs elsewhere and then, with another credible offer on the table, "tell" them they're going to have to pay you more if they wish to retain your services. You'll then find out just how much they truly value you (words are cheap).

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#9 RE: ACN laddering experience
16/01/2013 14:26

Anon MCs to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#8)

I agree with Bushy,

You've been messed around. They want to play little games and tow you along?

Fine, get yourself better pay and a promotion by obtaining a job with another MC (or a promotion in another dept within ACN). Its all the same, every MC rep tells you of the minor differences between them, but basically it really is the same.

Who's up for creating a nice powerpoint on this subject!?!

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#10 RE: ACN laddering experience
16/01/2013 21:43

cloudnumbernine4u to Bob (#7)

Dear Bob,

amazing. Great post and I really value each and every word you have mentioned..I completely agree as that would be the right approach to get the desired output. I only feel that this may take up good time. I already have started on some of the points that you have mentioned since my last appraisal and am building the necessary support at both the project and the DTE level. But as all the red tapes go, its less likely for April and most likely a September result for me.

Dear BEP - for all your other posts for all the other threads as well, I love reading your stuff..! :) In this case as well, I guess your solution as well as what Anon Mc has mentioned will be the quick fix. The only issue would be I really would be leaving Acn then as I dont think they go out of policy to provide the hikes/promotions other than during Mid year and sept. to retain of my colleague in quite similar situation just left, and he was told by his CC that, that level of hike is not feasible in Acn, although they can try to help if he can stay till sept...

I am actually trying both the am building the support system and well as already have started applying for other big will anyways take good 2-3 months till I get a reasonable offer I guess...

P.S.- consulting career in these big firms is kind of addictive, I am not sure I will enjoy working for SI's or smaller consultancies now after working for Acn...

thanks once again to all..!

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#11 RE: ACN laddering experience
16/01/2013 23:19

Anon MCs to cloudnumbernine4u (#10)


To be fair smaller consultancies can be just as rewarding... But definitely have a different feel to them hence it depends what you want out of that career period.

Nonetheless, some people love the big companies and there's nothing wrong with that.

But do think about the other MCs out there as by the looks of things the ACN boys may be messing you around.

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#12 RE: ACN laddering experience
17/01/2013 09:27

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to Anon MCs (#11)

Yeah, and forget all about "policies" that various people and HR departments might quote at you.

The only "policy" that counts is the one Adam Smith's "invisible hand of capitalism" operates by - i.e. market forces. Let me give you a ridiculous example to illustrate the concept. Say you're a junior analyst single-handedly bringing in £500M of new business from your personal network each year. When you come to the HR manager one day and say that Deloitte offered you a £5K pay rise to join as a senior consultant, do you think they're going to turn around and say "oh but that would be against our policy to give you such a big promotion, the best we could ever offer you is senior analyst and in any event you'll have to wait until september next year when a committee of 40 senior managers will need to make the decision"? No. You would skip about 20 grades and go straight to partner, all in the space of about 2 minutes. This concept works at all levels, to varying degress of success depending on how much they really value you.

Hopefully you will be able to understand this. Many left-wingers and liberals actually are unable to understand it, it's like explaining algebra to a cow or something - they literally lack the ability to understand it.

So, get another credible offer and lay it on the line to them!

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#13 RE: ACN laddering experience
17/01/2013 12:02

cloudnumbernine4u to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#12)

@BEP - haha..good one. I will do that. off course I am not able to bring 500 Mill. and so wont jump 20 grades...but I can try jumping 1 grade with whatever offer I get outside..!

@Anon Mc- yeah, you are right, the experience / profile may be much better there. firstly as both of you have suggested, I should go out and find something better than what I have already got..

So the search begins..!!

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#14 RE: ACN laddering experience
17/01/2013 13:46

Mr Cool to cloudnumbernine4u (#13)

Be aware that every piece of advice on this forum when asked about how to leverage an outside offer has always been, quite rightly,

"do not accept the counter offer. If it took the threat of leaving to get what you wanted then the bond of trust has been broken."

Makes you think?

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#15 RE: ACN laddering experience
17/01/2013 14:21

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to Mr Cool (#14)

I'd say it depends what the counter-offer is.

Again, let's illustrate it with examples.

Example 1:

If your other offer is £5K more and the existing employer counter-offers you £5.5K more, then one might imagine the offer from a new employer is a better proposition (rather than having to go and keep getting alternative offers to hold your current employer to ransom every time you think you deserve a raise from them).

Example 2 (ridiculous example to illustrate the concept):

If your other offer is £5K more and the existing employer counter-offers you £250K more, then you might be tempted to stay put.

So, I don't think "bonds of trust" and "saving face" or the like is the key issue here. Many employers are pretty much totally untrustable anyway. You've just got to look at the two offers on the table and work out which one is better overall. Of course, the salary they're both offering is the key consideration, but you would also want to take into account which one is likely to give you better pay rises and an easier time at work in the future (noting that your current employer might now be irritated and want to give you a hard time, so you might insist on them giving you a premium for the risk associated with accepting their counter-offer).

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#16 RE: ACN laddering experience
17/01/2013 15:01

Mr Cool to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#15)

Ah but.....

The difference is rarely so exaggerated, nor is it just a question of salary comparison.

Say you're a sr consultant on 43k plus 10% discretionary bonus. You're trying to get assurance of being on the Manager promotion list which is published in nine months. Manager salary range is 50-58k plus up to 20% bonus.

Another firm offers you Manager right now, on 49k and 15% bonus.

Isn't that a much more realistic dilemma?

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#17 RE: ACN laddering experience
17/01/2013 15:35

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to Mr Cool (#16)

OK, that's a more marginal call, but the principles are the same. Surely in that situation you'd just take the other offer?

Offer from new employer: £49K right now (presumably with the same promotion prospects for the future, if not better, noting that people don't usually get recruited at the top of a grade)

Counter-offer from existing employer: "Maybe" getting £50K in almost a year's time, or possibly ending up stuck on £43K again, noting that they have already strung you along and got you to jump through all sorts of hoops?

I'd say that, if that's the best counter-offer they could come up with, then taking the other offer is a no-brainer!

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#18 RE: ACN laddering experience
17/01/2013 19:19

TripleTwistTrump to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#17)

Just to make things clearer.......we have ACN as the example so

1. Consultant salary tops out at £55k ish, no bonus

2. Manager salary starts at £68k + £5kish car allowance + 8% bonus

So Mr. Cools example hits home - not many out there (excluding top tier) to pay a manager that much - more likely a smidgen above ACN consultant plus a bonus, nothing more - I know I'd take that offer and move on rather than kiss behinds for the promise of a 'chance' at promotion :-)


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#19 RE: ACN laddering experience
17/01/2013 22:58

Mr Cool to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#17)

But Bushy! Surely the option of staying pays more if the promise of promotion actually happens?

Has there been some loss of trust.....?

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#20 RE: ACN laddering experience
18/01/2013 09:23

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to Mr Cool (#19)

Using your figures, the other offer is still better...

£49K in the hand, right now. Immediate payrise of £6K.

Or, "possibly" £50K in a year's time. But then, maybe not. Lots of jumping through hoops to get it, assuming you actually do, that is. And in any event, if you did get it, it would be in a year's time... by which point the other offer of £49K will now be paying you £54K or something owing to a payrise.

"A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" - especially when it comes to dealing with HR depts.

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