Westwood Holdings Group Inc. employees and executives overwhelmingly cite the Dallas-based firm's team atmosphere as a main reason why it's a best place to work.
At any given point in the day, you'll see employees huddled at work stations, the trading desk, or in a meeting room, said Jackie Finley, senior vice president, institutional sales and client service.
Glass walls, low cubicles and open doors make these interactions easy. These interactions will be even easier come 2016. Being named to the list of Best Places to Work in Money Management for the first time in 2014 got the firm thinking about “how important it is for us to be together and on the same floor,” as opposed to two floors, said CEO Brian Casey.
When space opened up on one of the floors earlier this year, Westwood executives seized the opportunity. The union is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2016.
Employee survey responses show that Westwood's team atmosphere goes beyond its office layout and design.
“Teamwork does not have to be stressed here. It is part of the culture and an everyday routine,” said one employee.
“The teamwork that can be seen through all the departments makes working an enjoyable experience and a lot of fun,” said another.
Among the benefits is a sick leave bank that allows employees to transfer unused sick days to other employees. And Westwood Wednesdays, launched earlier this year, bring all Dallas employees together once a month to celebrate work anniversaries, engagements or new births. The event lasts about 20 minutes and is held after the market closes so all employees can attend.
Efforts are also made to unite Westwood's five offices — Dallas, Toronto, Omaha, Houston and Boston.
The investment team was brought together for two days this year to work under the same roof and get to know each other better, said Mark Freeman, chief investment officer.
Competitions also bring the individual offices closer together. Dallas and Toronto had a bowling competition and went head to head in the ALS ice bucket challenge.
In Dallas, a magnetic photo wall shows employees on vacation, attending work events and volunteering.
“We encourage other faces from other offices,” said Mr. Casey. A dedicated e-mail address makes sharing photos to the Dallas wall easy.