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Seattle firm accepts jobs only if its own employees are available

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in Employee Benefits Program,Human Resources

When Tim Jenkins and two friends started professional services firm Point B in 1995, they aimed to offer their employees an escape from the 100-hour workweeks and extended business travel that typically accompany high-powered consulting jobs.

So they scattered Point B’s offices around Chicago; Denver; Los Angeles; Phoenix; Portland, OR; San Francisco; and Seattle and hired local employees to work with local clients. That means little or no travel for consultants.

Each of the company’s 350-plus employees decides how many hours to work each week, although 20 is the minimum to receive benefits.

Some will work 50- to 60-hour weeks in the fall, winter and spring, taking summers off. And an employee who wants to take a two-month vacation—albeit unpaid—simply tells the practice’s staffing director, who leaves the worker off the next project’s schedule.

Working around employees’ schedules makes for complex staffing, says Jenkins. Occasionally, it even means the firm has to turn away business, because Point B won’t force employees to work hours they haven’t agreed to.

“We measure [how much work we can accept] by how close we are to how many hours they want to work,” Jenkins says.

But the $75 million firm recoups the cost of missed jobs with higher employee retention and productivity. Jenkins estimates a 10% attrition rate, which he says is low for a consulting firm.

Contact: Laura Yurdin at lyurdin@pointb.com or (206) 985-9634.

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