Q: When is the Best Firms to Work For survey open?

A: In 2019, the survey will be open between March 11 and June 28, 2019. Full results will be published in the September issue of Consulting magazine. The award culminated with a gala dinner at the University Club of Chicago on Sept. 19, 2019.

Q: What is the Best Firms to Work For?

A: Consulting magazine's annual ranking of the profession's Best Firms to Work For and the Best Small Firms to Work For. The award culminated with a gala dinner at the University Club of Chicago on Sept. 19, 2019.

Q: How does it work?

A: The rankings are based on responses to survey questions taken by a firm's own consultants. The questions cover six areas of employee satisfaction: Culture, Career Development, Work/Life balance, Client Engagement, Compensation & Benefits and Firm Leadership. Scores are measured against all qualifying firms. In all, 30 firms are on the list each year, 15 Best Firms to Work For and 15 Best Small Firms to Work For. Complete rankings are published in the September issue of Consulting magazine.

Q: What's the difference between a Best Firm and a Best Small Firm?

A: Best Small Firms are firms between 20 and 250 billable consultants (not employees). Best Firms have 251 or more billable consultants.

Q: What if my firm has less than 20 consultants?

A: Firms with less than 20 billable consultants do not qualify.

Q: How does my firm qualify for the ranking?

A: Qualification is based on the number of completed surveys per firm. For most firms, we recommend at least 10 percent of billable consultants complete the survey. However, we do need a minimum of 20 completed surveys for a Small Firm to qualify and a minimum of 50 for a large firm to qualify. In some cases, that means more than 10 percent would need to complete the survey. (For instance, a 300-person firm would need 50, not 30, completed surveys to qualify.

Q: Does qualifying mean I make the ranking list?

A: No. Qualifying means you have enough responses to be judged against all other qualifying firms. Many qualifying firms do no make the final ranking. In all, 30 firms are on the list each year, 15 Best Firms to Work For and 15 Best Small Firms to Work For. Complete rankings are published in the September issue of Consulting magazine.

Q: What about the ranking in other categories?

A: We also publish Top 10 lists in the six categories the survey measures, as well as Top 5 firms by Service Lines.

Q: What if our results aren't very good. Do you publish a list of participating firms?

A: No. If your scores are low and do not appear on any of the lists we publish, no one will know.

Q: How do I know if my firm has qualified?

A: You can check in with us periodically here (JKornik@alm.com) and we'll let you know if you've qualified or how many more completed surveys you need to qualify.

Q: How many firms participate in the survey?

A: Typically, we get more than 12,000 and 15,000 completed surveys representing more than 300 consulting firms. About half of those firms qualify.

Q: Did my completed survey go through?

A: Yes, assuming you saw our Thank You page at the end of the survey.

Q: The survey asks for our firm's revenue, which we typically do not disclose. Do you plan on publishing this?

A: No, that information will not be shared publicly. It simply gives our analysts another data point when analyzing the data in aggregate.

Q: I see an optional section on compensation and fees at the end of the survey? What is that?

A: That section is indeed optional and responses or non-responses do not impact a firm's overall ranking at all. It's data we'd love to collect to gain more insight about the profession as a whole, but it will not be published.

Q: Is the survey really anonymous?

A: Absolutely. We will not disclose your identity. In fact, it's up to you if you want to provide your contact information at all.

Q: If it's completely anonymous, how do you guard against foul play?

A: So far, it's never happened. The integrity of the survey is paramount and we do have several safeguards in place. We've been conducting market research in the consulting profession for nearly 50 years. Our analysts are adept at uncovering anomalies in the data and have many ways of uncovering red flags or uncovering inconsistencies in the data. Again, it has never happened.

Q: Is there a cost to participate?

A: No.

Q: I don't see my firm on the drop down list of companies. Can you add it?

A: No, once the survey is open it we cannot add a firm to the survey. You will need to choose the other box and type in the firm name. If you qualify for this year's survey, we will add you in next year.

Q: Can you send me a PDF or Word document of the questions that we can use as a working document, before filling in the questions on line?

A: Yes, the printable version is available on the nomination form.

Q: What would be the best way for me to receive alerts and stay on top of the other awards from Consulting Magazine?

A: Subscribe to the magazine, one of our Newsletters or check out our Annual Features/Ranking Schedule.

Q: Should it be U.S.-based consultants only?

A: No, the survey is global and can be taken by any consultant.

Q: Would it be possible to receive the results in exchange for getting our employees to take the survey?

A: No, participation is completely voluntary. If a firm qualifies, Consulting magazine can provide a quick snapshot of the firm's results - such as a firm's highest and lowest categories and any historical shifts on performance year on year. Firms have the option to purchase their data back or do a more in-depth data dive cut any number of ways.

Q: Can we gain more insight into our results?

A: Yes, several customized data packages are available and those can be discussed if a firm is interested in going that route.