Being a staff consultant differs in many ways from your typical 9-5 office job. One of the biggest differences is that you don’t work in the same office with the same people every day and therefore don’t have the same sense of community as other professions. You have a home office that you are tied to from the moment you join, however in most cases you rarely go there after you are staffed on your first project. As a result, networks and relationships in consulting companies tend to be more project-based rather than office-based. This is because you spend four to five days a week with those colleagues working on the same project or account (if there are multiple projects occurring for the same client) as you, rather than those colleagues with the same home office as you. One way that Capgemini strengthens office-based networks and relationships is Capgemini Connects sessions.
Each Capgemini office hosts quarterly Connects sessions every year that all Capgemini employees must attend. Venues have ranged from the offices to nearby restaurants to country clubs and even a Dave and Buster’s. The purpose of these day-long sessions is to bring everyone together to share important updates about the company and increase the sense of community by encouraging networking in an informal setting. Typically the first half of the day is reserved for having breakfast while listening to relevant presentations on topics such as new company policies, best practices, company performance, and offerings. The content for these presentations is the same for all Capgemini offices so that all employees are receiving the same information on a company-wide level. Just before lunch is served there will be a segment where local employees are recognized for special accomplishments and their years of service to Capgemini. After lunch everyone lets loose and informally networks during fun activities such as golf, bocce ball, trivia games, and of course a happy hour.
One neat aspect of these sessions is that presentations are typically delivered by senior executives; however staff consultants also have the opportunity to present select segments. This is a great opportunity for new hires to quickly become visible and network upon first joining the company. Within a few months of joining Capgemini, I presented a segment on Intellectual Property Solutions and had several people come up to me afterwards to introduce themselves and commend me on being a new hire and still having the confidence to present to the entire office.
Another unique aspect is that the Q3 Capgemini Connects session always revolves around community service projects. Each office identifies a few local charities where employees sign up to volunteer their time. This is one of the things I appreciate about Capgemini because it not only encourages ties within the companybut also ties with the local community, which is important to me. Past projects in the Detroit area have included planting local gardens, serving meals at a soup kitchen, cleaning up a neglected part of the city, and packing boxes of food at a food pantry.
Overall, Capgemini Connects sessions are a great way to meet new people and further existing relationships, become more involved in the company and community, have fun with your coworkers, and build a stronger Capgemini.