There is such a thing as a free lunch.
Employees at Windsor, Conn.-based Fiduciary Investment Advisors LLC enjoy one every time the investment consulting firm gets a new client. And the 54 employees there aren't going hungry — FIA is on track to reach a total of 40 new clients in 2015, said Mark Wetzel, president.
The free lunches serve to reward employees for the company's success and are part of FIA's overall culture of “solving problems for our clients at a place where people like to work,” Mr. Wetzel said.
Employee comments in Pensions & Investments' Best Places to Work in Money Management survey bear that out. “FIA is a collaborative, supportive culture where we are constantly encouraged to put the clients' best interest first,” said one respondent. “This helps facilitate a culture of sharing responsibility and rewards like our free lunches when we win new clients, our summer barbecues and our annual offsite activity like bowling, paintball or hibachi dinners.”
Responsibility is a key word at FIA, where along with employee rewards there's a culture of giving back to the community. An employee committee chooses one service project to focus on each quarter, plus one work day is set aside each year for everyone at FIA to perform community service.
In the past, Mr. Wetzel said, that day has involved one charitable group, but this year four different events were offered for employees to choose from — delivering used furniture to formerly homeless people who recently found housing; gardening and painting outside a food pantry; painting railings and fences outside the office of an organization assisting the disabled; and cleaning up a summer camp for children.
Other employee perks include an annual family picnic and shorter work hours on Fridays during summer months, added Maureen Cooper, principal and chief operating officer. And these social and other events have led to “a lot of friendships and relationships outside the office,” she said.
FIA's employee-friendly culture also has paid dividends with its clients, Mr. Wetzel said. “It's very important to talk with clients about out continuity, our empowerment of employees,” he said. “Everybody here knows their value and their responsibilities, and it's good for the client to know that as well.”