From its promotion policies to its employee get-togethers to its office layout, workers at New York-based WisdomTree Investments Inc. describe the provider of exchange-traded funds with words like “collaborative,” “accessible” and “family.”
The praise has paid off as the firm — with 165 worldwide employees and $57 billion in assets under management — makes its first appearance in Pensions & Investments' Best Places to Work in Money Management.
“Management is in touch with and accessible to employees,” said one employee responding to the survey. “There is plenty of opportunity to advance.”
Jonathan Steinberg, the chief executive and president, said the more employees know about how WisdomTree works, the better they feel about working there and the better the company will perform. “There are no turfs; there are no silos,” he said. “Transparency creates its own culture.”
Mr. Steinberg has created an open environment not only through action — quarterly meetings with employees that coincide with quarterly earnings reports and lunch meetings with new employees — but also office design. When WisdomTree moved into the 35th floor of a Park Avenue high-rise, top managers' offices were strategically located around the perimeter. The doors are open, and employees appreciate it.
“Management goes the extra mile to keep employees informed,” said one worker, citing the company's “open-door policy and my ability to learn from thought leaders throughout the company.”
WisdomTree's effort to promote open communication and teamwork has led to many internal promotions. For example, nine people have been promoted from the internal sales desk to regional-director jobs, and the current U.S. sales director started as a regional sales director.
Outside of work, WisdomTree emphasizes teamwork for employees' charitable endeavors, said Kathy Tignor, director of human resources. In October, 30 employees spent four hours helping teach physical education at a New York City public school. They attended a “field day” for 130 students in grades K-5, helping them participate in sports such as soccer and relay races. WisdomTree also donated gym equipment.
Employees' children are welcome at WisdomTree. Sometimes, parents will take their children on a tour of the office. “It can happen any time,” said Mr. Steinberg, who always gives toys to young children who visit.
In another example of teamwork outside of the office, WisdomTree in August held a 5-minute-mile run at Chelsea Piers, an athletic complex in New York City. Mr. Steinberg offered $10,000 to anyone who could achieve that mark; he confessed to breathing a sigh of relief when no one did.
However, the event was captured in a book of photographs — The 5 Minute Mile Challenge — showing employees, their running times and their grimaces. Each runner received a copy of the book.
Mr. Steinberg said the challenge probably will be just a one-time event, but it was part of WisdomTree's family atmosphere. “I want WisdomTree to be their best work environment,” he said.