Deloitte – Where Is Your Talent?

First it was Billie Williamson at Ernst and Young, a senior partner and now also their Americas director of flexibility and gender equity strategy, talking about the poor male partners who don’t know how to talk to “emotional” women. They’re so “high-maintenance” and all…

Now it’s Cathleen Benko, podcasting her way to Internet infamy, talking about something called “Mass Career Customization.” Isn’t that a contradiction in terms? How can anything done en masse be customized?

Is the perfect career, mass customized, the goal of the “mental torture” and “brainwashing” that Deloitte is becoming famous for?

What is one of the hardest things to count on anymore in this world?

A straight line to the top of any career.

Why do the firms keep telling young people that it’s just a series of baby steps, one-by-one, slow and steady, to make it to the top? Is it because anything done by routine, in a mechanized fashion, repeatable and scalable to a high volume of employees is easier to count, to measure, to manage?

There’s an old joke…

How do you make God laugh?

Tell him your plans.

Mass Career Customization: Innovative Employee Retention Program Scores High Marks at Deloitte

In a 24 minute Total Picture Radio Podcast, Cathy Benko vice-chairman and managing principal of talent at Deloitte, reveals how Mass Career Customization is helping the company attract, retain, and engage its high-value professionals. The Voice of Career Leadership.

New York, NY (PRWEB) July 10, 2007 — According to Cathy Benko, Vice-Chairman, Managing Principal of Talent, at Deloitte, “The workforce has changed, but the workplace has not.” This fact was the inspiration behind an initiative at Deloitte, lead by Cathy and her colleague, Anne Weisberg, to address the issue head-on.

Peter Clayton, producer/host of Total Picture Radio had the opportunity to meet Cathy at the Fortune Leadership Forum in New York, where she conducted a workshop on Mass Career Customization, and participated in a panel discussion titled “Where is Your Talent?” with executives from Herman Miller and Capital One, moderated by Geoff Colvin, Senior Editor at Large at Fortune.

Cathy and Anne Weisberg are the authors of Mass Career Customization: Aligning the Workplace with Today’s Nontraditional Workforce, (that will be published by Harvard Business School Press this fall). The book is a detailed analysis of what was a pilot program (and is now a phased rollout) at Deloitte by the same title. This concept encompasses structure and a systematic approach that enables organizations to correlate employees’ talents, career aspirations, and evolving life circumstances in ways that match up with the enterprise’s marketplace strategies. Successful implementation results in increased employee job satisfaction and loyalty, lower costs, and greater productivity…”

About Cathleen Benko
Cathy Benko, as Deloitte’s first managing principal (Note to readers: That means she’s not a CPA so she can’t have the “Partner” title…)of talent, is responsible for driving the organization’s commitment to attract, develop and advance a highly skilled and increasingly diverse workforce. In this role, Ms. Benko is leading a pioneering approach to employee engagement and career-life integration called Mass Career Customization, a signature initiative of Deloitte’s Talent agenda. Previously, she had dual responsibilities for leading Deloitte Consulting’s high technology industry sector and the organization’s award winning Women’s Initiative. Ms. Benko, also a member of Deloitte’s executive committee and the Deloitte Foundation board, is well known for developing innovative business strategy frameworks. Along with Mass Career Customization, she is the author of Connecting the Dots: Aligning Projects and Objectives in Unpredictable Times, published by Harvard Business School Press, 2003. Ms. Benko earned her MBA from Harvard Business School and a BS degree from Ramapo College.

3 replies
  1. Andrew Kable
    Andrew Kable says:

    I just had a listen to Cathleen’s podcast, and while “mass career customisation” is an unattractive term, it seems to be a good thing to me.

    Although making it systematic imposes a certain degree of rigidity, they are institutionalising flexibility in the way people work. Allowing them to “dial up and dial down” their careers across four metrics.

    How can this be bad?

  2. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    I can answer where Deloitte’s talent is, having worked there for a few years. The good talent leaves and produces elsewhere.

    I was astonished at the complete ineptitude of the human resources department while I was there. People that were 1 and 2 rated on a scale of 4 (1 and 2 being the best) asking for transfers to other departments (i.e. for example, audit to valuations or mergers & acquisitions), or just transfers to another office in the country, and there would be absolutely no response for several months, no matter how many times you leave a voicemail or email or have a face-to-face conversation.

    However, while that was going on, Deloitte did do amazing things for their homosexual and transgendered employees with their programs as they, HR and their managing parnters, made everyone fully aware in mass emails and leaflets posted. The frequency of these mailings or posts got to a point where I wondered if I was working for a San Francisco S&M club, and not a Big 4 professional services firm.

  3. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Welcome to the 2oth uhhhh I mean the 21st century!

    You say “How can anything done en masse be customized? “

    When is the last time you bought a car(they do come in different colors, manual/auto, fabric/leather, 4/6 Cyl, GPS….) or a computer(from someone like Dell) or bought a book( from Amazon) or installed a software package (with options)?

    It happens a million times a day.

    I agree with the above comment that the terminology is a bit contrived but the concept is sound.

    As a former executive that has started a company from scratch and been the CEO of a public company, employees expect and appreciate a plan and the flexibility to react to changes of both their own and the enterprise’s creation.

    It is essential to communiate along the way.

    That is where most organizations come up short.

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