Even though BlackRock Inc. is the largest money manager in the world, executives seek to foster a boutique-like culture.
“We have a small firm, big firm ethos,” said Mark McCombe, senior managing director and global head of BlackRock's institutional client business. “The business is large and complex, but there's still this sense of it being an exceptionally welcoming and open environment.”
It is a culture, he said, that “recognizes the value of the individual.”
Employees who filled out Pensions & Investments' Best Places to Work in Money Management survey appear to agree. “The company feels smaller than it is. BlackRock's senior management does a good job keeping staff "in the know' about what is going on with the company,” said one employee, adding that “creativity is respected and promoted.”
Another BlackRock staff member noted: “The culture is ethical and inspiring. The people are intelligent and driven. I truly believe we are making a difference in the world we live in.”
Several BlackRock employees also cited the firm's strong reputation as another reason why they're proud to work at the money management giant.
Last year, executives formally launched “Knowing BlackRock,” a program in which employees spend a day being educated on the firm's history and mission.
“We want to make sure people get a sense of what it is that makes BlackRock special,” said Jeffery A. Smith, senior managing director and head of global human resources.
For the past three years, BlackRock has sponsored a Women's Leadership Forum, a yearlong program that gives the firm's senior-level women the global networks and sponsorship they need to help them be better and more efficient leaders. The company also offers a number of active global employee networks, such as its Women's Initiative Network; OUT Network, for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees; the MultiCultural Network, which provides diversity awareness and education; the BlackRock Veterans Network, which sponsors and supports activities and programs that assist veterans and their families; and the Families at BlackRock Network, which provides educational and networking opportunities for employees to share experiences around managing their work and family lives.
When recruiting, Mr. Smith said the company looks internally first. “We've filled 40% of our jobs internally,” he said. “That makes people feel valued and enables them to grow into future roles.
“We invest a lot in our leaders and managers, and making sure we have leaders that can make an inspiring environment is very important to us,” Mr. Smith said.
“Everyone's here to help establish the best outcome,” Mr. McCombe said. “It doesn't matter if you're in index funds or in iShares. You're part of something.”