Five reasons to work at a Fortune 500 company

Stephen Ashcroft
16 September 2015

I’ve recently joined a Fortune 500 company and I am very excited about it.

And not just because the company is admired or because I’m leading the procurement and commercial advisory practice, but there are many reasons. I think these could also excite you about the prospect of working for a large company. I’m not saying they are exclusive to me or apply to every company. But for me, it just feels right.

Here are my top five reasons for joining a Fortune 500 firm:

1. To boost your knowledge. I suppose this is the same with most businesses, but when it comes to Fortune 500 processes, services and people there are always new things to learn. Procurement advisory (the function I’m in) may have been around for quite a while, but the platforms, tools, networks and best practices are constantly changing. There are always new ‘drivers’, tools and techniques. It’s difficult for most of us to keep on top of best practice, and there’s nothing better than being able to access systems and IP – and people – to boost your knowledge.

The nature of recruitment at Fortune 500 companies – or talent acquisition as it’s called – means there’s some great people sharing their knowledge. I’m really enjoying boosting my knowledge of programme consulting, planning and scheduling, programme and project controls, programme leadership, risk management – and, of course, procurement. That’s a lot of intellectual collateral. The great thing is it’s not just sitting there and listening, we’re able to talk and discuss too, which brings me on to…

2. To share ideas. Something I’m enjoying is the discussions with other consultants, technical specialists and other professionals. The best people provoke these discussions and we’ve already had interesting debates such as “millennials’ approach to procurement”, “do you always need a cost avoidance strategy?”, “how can you work out the return on investment of sustainable procurement?” and so on. It’s often through chatting with colleagues we can work out solutions to a problem or gain a new insight. It was through a couple of conversations I had with people over a team lunch I shifted my focus and have moved my current project on for the better – doing procurement differently.

3. Because you are a team player (or not). Would you describe yourself as a team player? Big organisations can appear more compatible for team players due to the number of people and the networking set ups. I’m no introvert. But I do like to think quietly when problem solving, prefer smaller agile teams, dislike small talk and get my energy from being on my own or in small groups. Working at a Fortune 500 is wonderful for introverts and extroverts alike. Everyone is there to get the job done, but also to learn more and be enthused with doing projects differently and better.

I was a little concerned about the hierarchy of a Fortune 500 company because I’ve never been a fan of traditional top down management. But the networking opportunities and the fluid nature of problem-solving in small groups and teams has actually meant great conversation opportunities. I’m building on existing and new relationships, which are turning into partnerships to meet some demanding client requirements.

4. Create connections and make friends. I love to learn through social media and this massive repository of knowledge we all access via the internet but building new connections and relationships is probably the best bit of a Fortune 500 company. I’ve already met so many great people, including some I’d already count as friends. From a business point of view, I’ve built connections that have already made me think of the breadth and depth of advice and resources that can be offered to my clients.

5. To have fun. There’s a lot to take in, lots of talking, lots of processes, services and people at a Fortune 500 company – and an obsessive focus on meeting client requirements. All of that is fun, and getting the job done has always been a buzz for me, but there are other opportunities to be a little more social. Opportunities to have a chat with clients or go out for a team meal or have lunch together. Some of my best conversations have happened at these less formal times. I’m enjoying the challenging work, having a bit of fun, being myself and getting to know people on a more social level.

I’ll let you know how I get on.

Stephen Ashcroft is associate director and lead for procurement and commercial advisory at AECOM

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