Like most money managers whose employees enjoy coming to work each day, Voya Investment Management offers fun activities like ice cream socials — where senior executives serve the employees ice cream — golf outings and employee talent shows.
But what the employees really seem to appreciate is that Voya Investment Management, a newcomer to Pensions & Investments' list of the Best Places to Work in Money Management, is a company in which their ideas are heard and their work is appreciated, regardless of their title or how long they've been there.
“We check titles at the door at meetings. It's not hierarchical at all,” said Jeff Becker, CEO. “We value those people who can grab the ball and run with it.”
Voya's employees responding to P&I's “Best Places to Work” survey seem to agree. When asked what they like best about working for their company, among the responses were that the New York-based asset manager “promotes taking on responsibility” and offers the “opportunity to learn and advance.”
Michael Pratt, managing director, head of human resources, said the low egos and approachability of top management create an environment where new employees feel they can sit down and talk with the CEO.
“I write a handwritten thank-you note to all new employees. They're choosing to spend the next phase of their career with us, Mr. Pratt added.
When the firm formerly known as ING U.S. Inc. officially changed its name to Voya Financial Inc. on April 7, 2014, Mr. Becker said executives at the firm's asset management arm believed Voya's values should be reassessed along with its name.
“With our rebranding, we saw it as a great opportunity to give a fresh look at not just our brand, but also at our values,” said Mr. Becker, who describes Voya as a company that “thinks a lot about its values (of) stewardship and service.”
“We take our stewardship and service goals very seriously,” one employee said in the survey. “The philosophy of stewardship and service is real,” said another.
Mr. Becker said he believes following and implementing these values makes Voya Investment Management a better company and a place where people want to work.
The firm's monthly educational series, created from bottom-up demand, features each department showing the other departments how they serve Voya's clients. “We started noticing that (employees) wanted to connect more broadly on the mission of the organization,” Mr. Pratt explained. “It helps people understand the importance of how what they do on a day-to-day basis connects to our end clients and internal partners. It's been going on for about 18 months and it helps people connect to the organization.”
“The employees wanted a better understanding of how each department fit within the broader organization,” Mr. Becker added.
Voya also encourages charity work and volunteerism, but on the employees' terms, with staffers offered 40 hours of paid time off annually for community service.
“We match up to $5,000 to the charity of their choice,” said Mr. Pratt. “We let them do it the way they want to do it. It's up to them to define the charities.”