Employees at Principal are greatly encouraged to collaborate through open spaces and off-site work activities.

Principal Global Investors

Employees help build a real spirit of collaboration where customer is No. 1

Third place, managers with 1,000 or more employees

“We really do preach focusing on the customer first. And if the customer is at the center of our decision-making, we get to a better spot,” said Dan Houston, chairman, president and CEO of Principal Financial Group, the parent of Principal Global in Des Moines, Iowa.

Principal Global, which employs about 1,500 in asset management in the U.S. and is headed by CEO James P. McCaughan, is a five-time winner in Pensions & Investments' Best Places to Work in Money Management survey. Principal Financial offers individual, workplace and institutional asset management, insurance and retirement products.

“We listen to the front-line employees” who distribute insights and information throughout the company in order to build a collaborative culture around innovation. “The best ideas are those that are vetted by customers,” Mr. Houston said. “The ethos and the DNA of the organization are centered on this.”

“Unlike other companies I have worked for, Principal actually encourages their employees to find better efficiencies in their role,” one employee said. “To have senior management embrace and implement a procedural or process improvement is not only motivating, but inspiring. I have had the privilege of working at Principal for 11 years and still look forward to my workday.”

“The benefits are great, and senior management is extremely supportive,” added another employee. Those benefits include an up-to-8% 401(k) match, flexible time off and volunteer time.

“You always have support,” another employee said.

Mr. Houston said this support has been designed in to team structures as well as the working environment of more flexible, open office space and the “full flexibility to engage at will.”

This article originally appeared in the December 12, 2016 print issue as, "Principal Global Investors".