I work for a consulting firm made up of employees that generally work in one of two types of roles. Some employees visit the client and do the work that makes us profitable, while other employees work at the firm's headquarters and ensure that those first employees have jobs lined up, that they're happy and fulfilled, that they're paid on time, that their computers work, etc. etc.

Everyone in the first role is known as a "consultant." For the latter role, the internal/administrative folks, we're struggling to come up with a term that makes sense. This issue matters more and more as my firm places a greater emphasis on security and therefore needs consistent terms for groups and access levels and related communication/documentation.

We used to label the latter role as "headquarters workers" (note, not real name), but our headquarters has space for consultants to work too, so "headquarters worker" has gotten confusing for those with a mostly-permanent residence here. Similarly, we're very open to telecommuting, so many "headquarters workers" may very rarely actually work at the headquarters.

Final twist: no one at the company likes calling the administrative workers "corporate workers." They certainly are corporate, but the word is generally despised.

Any suggestions?

Example phrase: At my firm, employees are either consultants or _________s; the consultants do the actual consulting, and the _________s support them.

Bonus phrase: For the Quarterly Review communication, let's open up access to _________s for now, then add consultants when we're ready to publish.

  • It's a pity that "drones" won't do. "Support staff" seems like a pretty good generic. – Rob_Ster Mar 28 at 16:42
  • drones ... good. – lbf Mar 28 at 18:05
up vote 0 down vote accepted

I might suggest the term "Supporting Staff" for employees that don't interact directly with the clients.

You might also try: "backoffice", "administrative staff", "administration", "office staff", "internal staff"

Indirect Staff

I work for a government contractor. Our staff are grouped into the roles, Engineer, Technician, Management or Indirect.

I've been told that using the term indirect staff rather than support staff tells the government that those persons are still doing work that adds value to the contract just not directly. Further, it tells the other disciplines that those indirect staff persons have their own importance and are not just there to "support" the other roles.

FWIW I'm American but have heard the same term at Australian firms.

back office TFD

The section of a business or company that is responsible for managing internal affairs (such as administration, information technology, and so on) and thus generally does not have contact with clients, customers, or the general public. You should ask one of the people in the back office for help with your computer. I spent so many years as part of the bank's back office that now I'm not sure I know the appropriate way to talk to a customer.

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