Best Places to Work Winner: Invesco

Atlanta | Founded in 1974 | 6,000 employees | Ranks 5th among companies with more than 1,000 employees

Not every boss invites employees to his home, but Martin Flanagan, CEO of Atlanta-based Invesco (IVZ) Ltd., decided this year to host company's annual picnic in his backyard, even setting up a petting zoo and a rock-climbing wall.

That level of involvement extends to other offices of the global money management company. An annual barbecue is a hallmark of the Houston office, for example, with supervisors serving the meat and fixings to employees.

The annual events are just one part of a corporate culture that promotes employee satisfaction, involvement and teamwork, said Colin Meadows, chief administrative officer and senior managing director of the company, which had $683 billion in assets under management at the end of October.

Mr. Meadows is part of a management team that Mr. Flanagan brought in after joining the company in 2005.

The new team came up with a “best practices” premise, taking what worked at other companies to improve Invesco's corporate culture, said Mr. Meadows.

“It starts with a view that our people are our most important asset, and we have to have a strategy toward attracting, retaining and developing our workforce,” he said. “We have a proposition that we put in place: We call it the employee value proposition. This includes compensation, training and career path development.”

Mr. Meadows said while the company needs to pay competitive wages, other factors are important.

He said an employee survey conducted every 18 to 24 months shows employees who are most satisfied with working at Invesco feel good about the opportunities they have for career development. Those less satisfied aren't as enthusiastic about their training opportunities.

So, Invesco is expanding training opportunities, from skill-based training for specific jobs to management leadership training programs for those workers who aspire to supervisory roles.

For example, a management training program just for investment professionals was started this year to supplement the main program for other company employees. Mr. Meadows said investment personnel tend to work in smaller teams and so their training is more specifically geared toward managing smaller groups.

The investment in training pays off for Invesco because, he said, employees believe that “if you develop me right, I will be much more likely to stay, much happier when I am here and more likely to recommend others to join.”

One employee responding to Pensions & Investments' Best Places to Work survey commented: “The management recognizes people when they do a good job and provide sufficient resources for personal development.”

A second employee stated: “The environment (is) very team oriented, ideas are shared and no one is stepping on anyone else to get ahead.”

The teamwork approach is also determining how Invesco's worldwide offices are remodeled as they come up for scheduled renovation.

“It's more of an open-plan feel,” said Mr. Meadows. “Fewer offices, more open space, more collaboration zones — places for people to collaborate, socialize and connect.”