SunTrust provides paid volunteer days in a program called Shine On, where employees can either do charitable work on their own or in groups.


Atlanta | 67 employees | Ranks 3rd among organizations with fewer than 100 employees

he tie that binds everyone together at SunTrust Institutional Investments is the passion and dedication to non-profit organizations.

Inside the offices, SunTrust serves about 750 foundation and endowment clients. Outside, there is an equally heavy emphasis on individual volunteer work, and nearly all the employees sit on some kind of board or investment committee for non-profits, said Jack Nichols, managing director for institutional investment management.

“As a person responsible for the whole line of business, what I enjoy and love is watching these people's passion for non-profit groups,” Mr. Nichols said.

SunTrust provides paid volunteer days in a program called Shine On, where employees can either do charitable work on their own or in groups, said Marissa Lara, human resources leader. The company as a whole is dedicated to supporting the Atlanta community as well as communities in the other office locations, but it is largely up to the individual.

“It's very different for us ... a lot of firms pick a cause and work on it from a corporate perspective,” Mr. Nichols said. “We don't do that. It's whatever they have a passion for ... that's why people really love it.”

Alan McKnight, managing director, head of institutional investments, said members of the team recently worked together on a community garden and have often volunteered for Habitat for Humanity. (Despite their similarities in title, Mr. Nichols oversees the operations of the company, Mr. McKnight, the investing side.)

There is a website for employees to find listings of programs and volunteer opportunities in which to participate, Ms. Lara said.

“We track the number of volunteer hours,” Ms. Lara said. “We're always so impressed as the number of volunteer hours increases every year.” She added it is mostly done on people's free time, as well as part of team-building activities.

“We are strong advocates for engagement in the community and providing opportunities for that,” Mr. McKnight said.

Outside of volunteering, employees enjoy going to Atlanta sporting events or dinner or drinks, Mr. McKnight said.

The words “passionate” and “team-oriented” and “collaborative” are thrown around often by both executives and employees that responded to Pensions & Investments' Best Places to Work in Money Management survey.

“With a variety of locations, it's incumbent upon us that everyone feels like a part of the team,” said Mr. McKnight, adding everyone usually meets in Atlanta twice a year. “There's nothing worse than being a part of a team where you don't feel like a member of the team.”

There are a lot of opportunities for employees to move up, and a recent mentoring program has been implemented for new hires, Mr. McKnight said. “The real benefit of SunTrust is the ability across the organization to find the right opportunity for each person,” he said.

The money management firm is a unit of SunTrust Banks Inc.

Some of the comments from employees included, “We are treated with the utmost respect by senior management” and “an incredibly collaborative and team-oriented environment.”

SunTrust recently has rolled out an initiative called “productive mobility,” where employees are given more flexibility on where and how to get work done, Ms. Lara said. An example would be an employee with a long commute getting to work at home once a week, she said. There is also a tuition reimbursement program for both formal degrees as well as industry designations.