Principal Global Investors LLC's corporate culture embraces four guideposts for building its business and inspiring its professional staff.
“Teamwork, collaboration, (professional) development, communications: Those are really the kinds of words we try to inculcate in the culture,” said CEO James P. McCaughan, adding the culture includes encouraging workplace diversity in gender, ethnicity, race and language.
Daniel J. Houston, president and CEO of parent company Principal Financial Group Inc., said: “Great companies are always made up of great people. You don't become a great company unless you are able to attract and retain the best talent.”
An open-door policy is a key to bonding with staff, particularly “of investment firms, which are filled with analysts, natural skeptics,” Mr. McCaughan said. “Communication is a two-way street,” including “listening to suggestions ... and letting people feel ... that they have an ability to influence ... management.”
That resonated in employee responses to the survey. For example: “Management and HR are open to employee ideas and strive to make it a place people want to work;” and “I enjoy having the opportunity to have "face time' with senior management.” One also cited “the ability to raise concerns and be heard.”
Listening extends to clients, too. “Our people (including portfolio managers and analysts) really get excited about going out and interfacing with the customer,” Mr. Houston said. “It allows them to hear firsthand what our customers have on their mind. That is something that is inspiring to (staff). That is something that is fun to do.”
Also “on the fun side, what's kind of interesting about Principal (is) we're in so many of the asset classes,” real estate, fixed income, equities, alternatives, Mr. Houston said. “Think about how much fun that is because you have people who can pick and choose from this whole list of capabilities and create solutions for problems customers have. That's pretty fun stuff.”
Employees agreed. “Never a dull moment, or day when I say I am bored,” one wrote.
But beyond intellectual interaction, “Principal knows these (professionals) are humans,” Mr. Houston added. “We always benefit when we can round out that executive.
“All of us have a responsibility to find whatever it is that helps us take our minds off of what we're doing day to day and find that creative sort of view,” Mr. Houston said. “We encourage (this diversion). We have rooms that have games in them. We have wellness facilities. We have break areas. We try to have living areas with couches and things that allow people to get together and talk casually.”
Employees also praised the company's flexibility and efforts to provide work-life balance.
To Mr. Houston, “work-life balance is kind of an odd term. When you reach a certain level of professionalism we're on all the time.
“Do (professionals) feel like they can leave at 3:30 on a Tuesday afternoon to go watch their daughter play soccer? We want that to occur. And my guess is that same executive is jumping on e-mail about 6:30 or 7 after dinner and finishing the rest of what he or she might have been doing earlier that day.”