Updated with correction
For a multibillion-dollar global company with more than 6,000 employees, Invesco Ltd. still acts like a much smaller one when it comes to core values.
“We feel as a company that we've come such a long way in really establishing a highly collaborative culture. That permeates everything we do,” said Colin Meadows, senior managing director and chief administrative officer in the Atlanta headquarters. “We thought about: Why would someone want to come? Why would someone want to stay?”
People stay, he said, because the culture fosters direct and open communication and collegiality. Then there is the continuing education, which emphasizes cross-cultural understanding of what the firm does in the 20 countries in which it operates. “You want to get a 360-degree view,” said Mr. Meadows.
That feeling was echoed in Pensions & Investments' Best Places to Work in Money Management survey. “People are friendly and helpful to colleagues. I have seen this over and over throughout locations and departments,” said one employee. “A total focus on people from around the world gives me a wonderful perspective that is enriching to me and I think to my company,” said another.
Its emphasis on learning led the company to launch in 2012 its Intentional Innovation program, which encourages innovative uses of technology to enhance the company's investment and operational performance. So far, it's been a success, with 1,200 participants producing 134 new ideas and a lot of enthusiasm.
“It is exciting to see where we go in the next 10 years,” said one employee response.
Collaboration is so important that employees are rated in their annual performance reviews for collaboration and teamwork, and get special recognition through the Invesco Principles at Work program for embodying those traits. Along with regular networking forums, female employees in seven major cities have taken advantage of the Invesco Women's Network, used to help the company's ability to attract, retain and advance women at all levels and across all functions.
All the effort pays off in the bottom line, too, said Karen Dunn Kelley, senior managing director for investments. “It is an investment culture. We believe in continuous performance excellence.” With 432 investment professionals based in the U.S., and clients in 150 countries, “it's very interesting to get someone with a different perspective. We have a unique way of looking at things.”
According to the company's own employee engagement survey, two-thirds of employees do get to work with someone from a different geographical area on a regular basis. The workforce “looks like the U.N.,” said Washington Dender, head of human resources. “We hire people that have a respect for cultural diversity. We offer that as one real benefit,” he said.
In P&I's survey, employees also raved about a work/life balance that includes flexible hours and a high number of people working from home, and what one employee calls the “meritocracy” that lets people feel appreciated for their efforts.
Team input is not only encouraged, but highly valued,” said one employee response.
It also helps to have a rigorous interview process that includes having candidates interview with others outside of their core competency. That, plus the emphasis on connection and collaboration, makes retention a non-issue, with less than 5% turnover among investment professionals and less than 8% companywide.
There is another rule that helps employees feel “like a big family,” as one worker said in the survey: “Everybody has to have fun every day,” said Ms. Kelley. That's important, said Mr. Meadows. “Folks like coming to work every day,” he said.