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How can Slalom help team members maximize the value of their time on the bench?

Employee listening +1

August 17, 2023

We partnered with Slalom Consulting to foster an enriched workplace experience. Collaborating closely, we engaged their consultants in two PSi discussions with their consultants, aimed at enhancing their work environment. Through open dialogues on the PSi platform, we sought to help Slalom’s employees to share ideas and find solutions to improve job satisfaction. 

Slalom Consulting

Slalom Consulting, founded in 2001, is a distinguished management consulting firm known for its innovative problem-solving in the business realm. What distinguishes Slalom is its collaborative and adaptable approach, which prioritizes comprehending both technological and business aspects.

Slalom's core principles centre around client-centric strategies and localized solutions. Unlike conventional consulting firms, Slalom fosters strong client relationships and tailors its solutions accordingly. This personalized approach cultivates high client satisfaction and enduring partnerships.

The company's service portfolio encompasses a wide array of offerings spanning various industries and functions. These include aiding businesses in transformative endeavours, providing technology insights, data analytics, cybersecurity, digital experiences, and organizational efficiency enhancements.

Slalom Consulting has a diverse portfolio of clients, ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies, and provides a wide range of services, including strategy, technology consulting, data and analytics, customer experience, and organisational effectiveness. 

Slalom's organizational culture is a cornerstone of its success. Encouraging an entrepreneurial spirit among its consultants, the company fosters autonomy and innovation. This environment empowers consultants to take ownership of projects and explore inventive avenues.

An integral aspect of Slalom's model is its local presence. Operating through regional offices, the firm enables consultants to work closely with clients, fostering a profound understanding of local business dynamics and community connections.

Beyond its consulting work, Slalom upholds social responsibility. The company encourages employees to engage in community service and volunteerism, underscoring its commitment to broader societal well-being.

Slalom's exceptional approach and dedication have garnered widespread recognition. The firm consistently receives awards for its performance, workplace culture, and rapid growth. Its reputation as a top workplace and a rapidly expanding consulting entity remains unwavering.

Slalom Consulting's distinctive blend of client-focused strategies, local engagement, inventive solutions, and social consciousness sets it apart in the management consulting sphere. Bridging business acumen, technological expertise, and a dynamic work ethos, Slalom continues to profoundly influence organizations navigating today's intricate business landscape.

Slalom's problem

Slalom Consulting is a global consulting firm that provides advisory, technology, and business transformation services to companies across various industries. With over 10,000 employees worldwide, Slalom Consulting has been growing rapidly in recent years and has been recognized as one of the best places to work by several publications. However, like many consulting firms, Slalom Consulting has several consultants who are not in active client work at any given time ("on the bench" in the lingo), and its ARC Labs wanted to understand how to maximize the value of consultants on the bench.

To solve this problem, Slalom Consulting partnered with PSi, a software solution for employee listening for businesses. PSi hosted a strategic workshop with people at Slalom ARC to define the right question for their audience. The strategy workshop was intended to define the right parameters of the discussion, around anonymity, privacy, duration and participant-level information to be collected. PSi then hosted a 30-minute conversation with 16 consultants from the ARC Labs, where they were asked the question: "How can Slalom help team members maximize the value of their time on the bench?"

During the conversation, 16 people submitted 16 ideas and 16 people joined the conversation, resulting in a 100% turnout rate. The participants thought that the best way to maximize their time on the bench was via Shadowing opportunity, which was independently proposed twice and received a total of 30 votes. The runner-up idea was "1/2 project work + 1/2 mix of professional & practice development." The top idea received 38.9% of all votes cast. The other votes were split across 10 ideas, and 4 ideas did not receive any votes. There were 2 rounds of discussions, and people talked for 40 minutes. Consensus was reached in just 10 minutes! The polarization between 'Shadowing Opportunity' and '1/2 project work + 1/2 mix of professional & practice development' was 46.6%, which means that about 53% of people split their vote between the two ideas. Transcriptions were analyzed with PSi's transformer-based natural language processing suite to create Ideas and viewpoints embeddings. Dimensionality reduction techniques (UMAP) were used to plot the data, and clustering techniques were used to find opinion clusters. PSi also calculated the group's average thought diversity by comparing average semantic similarity scores across ideas proposed.

Four ideas were shortlisted, and two ideas were selected by the group for how to maximize consultants' time on the bench. One idea was for consultants on the bench to spend half of their time on project work and half of their time on a mix of professional and practice development. The second idea supported by the group was to provide the bench with shadowing opportunities. Other ideas proposed were to conduct mini hackathons and a checklist for training and certifications.

PSi mapped the ideas proposed onto a network to understand the relationship between ideas submitted during the discussion. Each bubble represents an idea that was proposed. Larger bubbles represent ideas with more support. The links between ideas show potential overlap between ideas based on shared supporters. The network produced shows that three of the ideas proposed can work together synergistically.

The findings were presented at a Slalom meeting in London in March 2023, attended by several senior members of the organization, including its co-founder.

PSi's solution was praised by the participants, who found it to be interactive and easy to use. They also appreciated that it prevented unproductive tangents and provided a lot of organization to the discussion.


In conclusion, the collaboration between Slalom Consulting and PSi was successful in identifying ways to maximize consultants' time on the bench. The engagement resulted in two concrete ideas that were supported by the group.

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