Grant Thornton

Grant Thornton LLP is the American member firm of Grant Thornton International, the seventh largest accounting network in the world by combined fee income. Grant Thornton LLP is the sixth largest U.S. accounting and advisory organization. 

Grant Thornton has more than 8,000 U.S. employees and 550 partners across 47 offices in 28 states and produces nearly US$1.9 billion in annual revenue.  

As a professional services firm, Grant Thornton (GT), prioritizes how they work as much as what they do. With more than 8,000 employees and 51 offices across the globe, the firm prides itself on living key cultural attributes:  being easy to work with, building strong relationships, and creating shared experiences, trust, and success with clients and colleagues.  
In 2019 –– and in conjunction with a leadership change –– the firm made significant investments to further cultivate these attributes –– until the 2020 pandemic caused a significant cultural drift felt by employees across the organization.  

Despite a familiarity with hybrid working, COVID challenged the firm’s routines. In-person information exchanges disappeared along with shoulder-to-shoulder collaboration that often led to new insights and a deeper understanding of clients’ businesses. Even firmwide collaborative onboarding, learning, and growth experiences for new hires suffered. Leadership and employees were adrift, struggling to reconcile their new reality with the cultural strengths that were an anchoring point for the organization. 

The CEO and leadership team galvanized. To preserve its company culture, the firm decided to create a hybrid Future of Work initiative that would reinforce its strong culture with an approach that focused on putting people over profits. Three strategic pillars would guide their philosophy.  

  1. Take Care of Our People
  2. Be There For Our Clients
  3. Keep Our Firm Strong During ths Time of Need 

To turn Grant Thornton’s Future of Work into a tangible working reality, collaboration and inclusivity were fundamental to this philosophy and embraced firmwide, but how Grant Thornton’s Future of Work would look in practice needed intentional consideration and redesign. The leadership team understood they needed to actively support the effort, so +One was engaged as a thought leader/workplace culture consultant to add resources to support this evolution. 

The two organizations partnered on a three-phased engagement to help define their Future of Work philosophy, co-creating the vision and strategy with a cross-functional/level/location group of stakeholders within GT. 

Phase One

In Phase One, the consultants liaised directly with the firm’s senior people experience leaders to interview stakeholders, contribute to market research and professional services category knowledge, trends, and observations to validate and expand GT leadership thinking about their Future of Work philosophy. 

Phase Two

Phase Two involved a series of workshops designed for a cross-functional manager/staff group of participants, delivered by facilitators who would complement the GT culture, speak the language, elicit active engagement to represent the diversity of thinking, and exceed the expectations of participants who regularly attend workshops. 

Phase Three

Phase Three produced a consolidated report from workshop responses and insights, along with a plan and list of actionable activities to support the Future Work philosophy rollout firm-wide. The scope covered a variety of suggestions for immediate change and stretch goals to address strategy and employee engagement for the GT evaluation and implementation. 

In 2021, Grant Thornton rolled out its Future of Work initiative across the firm. Using its three strategic priorities to map and track success. Today, the firm offers a “Work in Your World” flexible model where colleagues can decide to work from a Grant Thornton office, their home, or a client site based on specific needs – not a catch-all company mandate. The foundation for the hybrid work model is the Team Work Commitment document which guides employees, establishing clear practices, responsibilities, and expectations to meet client, team, and personal demands. It also establishes new terminology and norms based that employees can easily understand and adhere to. 

Team Work Commitment Process
Grant Thornton Team Work Commitment Process

Additionally, Grant Thornton rolled out new rituals for expressing appreciation for each other. The result: an 8 percentage point increase in team members’ perception of being valued, appreciated, and connected to the firm. To maintain momentum, Grant Thornton established a Future of Work Taskforce – a group of employees who can monitor the program’s success, analyze new rituals, and identify opportunities for improvement.   

In the months following the rollout, employees began reporting better control over their days. Mandated quiet hours without video conferencing on Fridays reduced screen fatigue and burnout. Working parents found greater work-life balance. And offices transitioned from transactional, private workspaces to environments where employees can collaborate socialize, and onboard. With offices serving as flexible cultural hubs instead of rooted siloes, Grant Thornton was able to reduce square footage while also making strides towards their emissions reduction goals.   

For Grant Thornton, establishing a new hybrid model was always more than analyzing the business pros and cons of location and proximity. It was an opportunity to examine how the firm works best, what ultimately drives success and the fundamental elements that contribute to the firm’s strong culture. With data, insights, and a clear plan, they can now preserve that culture while also offering employees greater flexibility over where and how they work.  

Brad Preber
Brad PreberCEO
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+One didn't come back with a bunch of our own ideas, which often happens with consultants. And they also didn't come back with pie in the sky, unrealistic things that you simply put on a shelf and say, ‘well, that was so far out there we could never do it.” The deliverable was squarely in the middle of where we were versus where we thought we needed to go with information. That was not something we could have ascertained ourselves. A credible consultant gave us an answer that was practical, that we felt we could implement and probably create the greatest amount of good work in that moment, knowing full well these things are dynamic.
Janae' Morren
Janae' MorrenEmployee Engagement Manager
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+One really helped us think about what the future of work looks like for a firm. That means thinking through our policies that allow working solutions and figuring out how to create meaningful moments that bring people together in person or virtually. Overall, they provided a clarity in the sense of behavioral alignment on how people show up every day, and how we can all move towards a direction to help us achieve the strategies of the company and of our clients.
Janae' Morren
Janae' MorrenEmployee Engagement Manager
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We were trying to figure out what the future of work looks like, and it was at a time when there wasn't a ton of research to tell us the right answer. Working with +One gave us three steps in the right direction and the tools that we needed to continue doing It on our own because of the foundation +One laid for us in those workshops.