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Fifth Place (tie) | Hamilton Lane

TAKING MUSIC SERIOUSLY: The conference rooms at Hamilton Lane are named after some of the staff’s favorite rock bands like The Grateful Dead, above.

Striving hard to nurture both personal and professional sides

Hamilton Lane Advisors LLC executives embrace the personal as much as the professional side of their workforce.

“There's a personal investment and then there's a professional investment,” said Erik Hirsch, chief investment officer.

On the professional side “the way we compensate ... is a very equity-driven culture. So today, 100 of our 250 employees are direct shareholders in the business. For us we can't think of an easier and simpler way to both incentivize and align interests between the company, the employees and our clients,” he said.

Hamilton Lane also has “lots of emphasis ... around training and professional development,” including in-office classes and mentoring programs, Mr. Hirsch said.

CEO Mario Giannini said: “The personal side in some ways ... is even more important. It's recognizing that our employees both have a choice of where to work but also that they do have a personal life ... that Hamilton Lane can be a part of.”

“We have about 20% of the workforce on some kind of flex schedule,” Mr. Giannini said. “It has allowed them to have that balance they need in their lives and it allows us, frankly, to keep really talented people.”

“I feel like we are all almost in a contest for perks” with other investment management firms, Mr. Giannini said, adding, “We have plenty of perks,” such as new parent time off, onsite gyms, free-lunch Mondays.

Hamilton Lane is a four-time winner in Pensions & Investments' Best Places to Work in Money Management report. As one employee commented for the survey, the firm's leaders “seem to "get it' that a company is only as good, healthy and effective as its employees.”

To bolster collaboration, staffers passionate about a cause have created committees made up of employees from all levels, except top management, Mr. Giannini said.

The women's exchange committee's activities include raising the firm's status as a leader in diversity in the workplace, Mr. Giannini said. Some 30% of its senior leadership is made up of women, he said.

The wellness committee focuses on “all sorts of activities around being healthier, feeling better, all that touchy-feely stuff that really does matter in terms of how you feel about where you work,” Mr. Giannini said.

To foster bonding, Hamilton Lane hosts an annual three-day, off-site staff meeting of all its employees worldwide, closing its offices for the event that is a combination of business and pleasure.

In September, the firm hosted its first fall festival for Bala Cynwyd, Pa., employees to bring their families, “recognizing we are all sort of part of each other lives in more than just a work setting,” Mr. Hirsch said. A focus of the festival's activities turned out to be a dunk tank featuring Mr. Hirsch as well as other employees as targets. The dunk-tank tosses — three balls for $10 — raised about $5,000 for charity.

“To have a world-class company you have to take the culture seriously,” Mr. Hirsh said. “We don't manufacture anything. Our reason for existing is our people. If we don't continue to invest in them, we don't have much of a franchise. So for us it's attracting people and retaining them. ... They all have choices” to work elsewhere.

This article originally appeared in the December 14, 2015 print issue as, "Fifth Place (tie) | Hamilton Lane".