Perkins Investment Management LLC promotes an organizational culture that takes “very seriously the work-life balance,” as Ted Hans, chief operating officer and chief compliance officer, put it.
“You have a bunch of burned-out employees, that doesn't do anyone any good.”
Chicago-based Perkins doesn't track personal time off for most employees. They are “on the honor system,” Mr. Hans said. “There is no set amount. ... It gets back to the type of people we hire, (with a) strong work ethic.”
Jeffrey R. Kautz, chief investment officer, portfolio manager and soon-to-be CEO, said the work-life balance is “one of the unique features of our culture. We want people to have a life outside of work. We want to be able to go home and coach our kids' soccer and basketball and baseball team. Having said that, everybody knows the work's got to get done. And at a smaller firm like this, it is readily apparent when it's not getting done.”
Perkins' staffers are at the heart of what makes the company special, its executives say.
“People are dedicated to their jobs. They like coming to work every day. It's a positive environment,” Mr. Hans said.
At Perkins, there is “just a tremendous amount of (staff) stability, which is unusual in this business,” said Mr. Kautz. “We've had two departures since its founding in 1980.
“I think (the low staff turnover) just speaks volumes to the culture that we've built here.”
Mr. Kautz attributes that low turnover to a culture that promotes “a very flat organization.”
“Check your ego at the door,” Mr. Kautz said. That sentiment is repeated by employees responding to a question on what makes their company a good place to work.
Perkins embraces “a singular approach to investing, where everybody really buys into the way we do things around here,” Mr. Kautz said. As a result, “people truly enjoy working together.”
One employee wrote, “We have an open culture that allows all opinions, concerns, ideas and criticisms to be heard. We have a flat organization where titles are not important. The most senior people in the company are accessible to the most junior people on a daily basis.”
Another said, “I feel that my feedback matters.”
Among Perkins amenities, one employee in the survey noted, “All employees have a private office. The majority of the offices have a view.”
Both at and outside work, “we truly enjoy each other's company,” Mr. Hans said.
“Many people are involved in charities,” Mr. Hans said “There are a number of people here who have individual charitable foundations ... that support various causes,” including education.
“It's not just writing checks,” Mr. Kautz said. “Employees ... are involved in giving their time, whether it's tutoring or ... coaching” or whatever.
Employees have access to a suite of services, including “help with your pets ... burial, substance abuse issues, senior parents,” and an on-site fitness center, Mr. Hans said.
“It's almost the corporate nanny state — but in a good way.”