Mesirow Financial Holdings Inc. wins praise from employees for supporting work-life balance, encouraging social and philanthropic efforts, and fostering an entrepreneurial culture that encourages contributions and rewards success.
Employees of the Chicago-based firm, now recognized twice in Pensions & Investments' Best Places to Work in Money Management survey, in 2013 and 2015, also aren't shy about touting their colleagues and growth opportunities.
“By far, the people are the best part about working for Mesirow Financial,” one said in responding to the survey. “They make it clear this is a place to have a career that you can advance in and not just a job,” said another.
Mesirow Financial officials moved to step up development efforts even more in 2014. New programs included a leadership training program, designed to tackle business concerns and expose high performers to colleagues across the organization, an effort Chairman and CEO Richard Price expects will broaden collaboration and problem-solving.
Twelve employees, members of the inaugural class of 2015, were divided into teams of four. Each team then tacked one of three key areas: distribution, human capital and global/ macro risks and challenges.
Team members were diverse in demographics as well as roles and business units. A professional coach and an in-house mentor guided each group.
Some of the recommendations put forward are being implemented, said Marty Kaplan, director of corporate strategy and chairman of advanced strategies. In distribution, for example, communication among Mesirow's business units has improved through regular meetings of those involved in client-facing activities.
The firm also is a member of the Financial Services Pipeline. The initiative, launched in Chicago by leading financial firms, aims to increase opportunities for black and Latino workers, and improve the cultural competency of the industry, driving home the importance of a diverse workforce.
Working with Mercer, the pipeline initiative aims to focus on recruitment and retention as well as the reasons why minority employees leave the industry, said Toni Cornelius, Mesirow Financial''s chief inclusion and human resources officer and a member of the pipeline's steering committee. The data-driven initiative aims to develop steps that all participants could incorporate.
That initiative will build on Mesirow's ongoing efforts to foster diversity and inclusion. Various affinity groups at the money manager provide opportunities for networking with clients and colleagues, such as its WomenConnect group, which meets quarterly. Recently, the firm also launched the Business Spotlight series, which features a panel composed of three to four team members in a particular business area who describe their roles and the unit's function.
“It's very helpful for people to understand as much as they can about the workings of the firm,'' Ms. Cornelius said. The gatherings also “provide great opportunities for the kind of networking we always encourage.''