The word “consistency” comes up often in a conversation with Thomas Finke, chairman and CEO of Babson Capital Management LLC, discussing his firm's being ranked — for the third consecutive year — among Pensions & Investments' Best Places to Work in Money Management.
“It represents that our approach is sustainable,” said Mr. Finke, who presides over the Charlotte, N.C.-based firm with 775 employees and $223.5 billion in assets under management. “Our consistency stands out.”
Comments by employees demonstrate a consistency in company policies that allow workers flexibility, not only in coming to work — or working at home — but also in learning more about Babson beyond their vocational specialties.
“Ability to work on projects not limited to your own department or area of focus,” said one employee, responding to P&I's survey and listing reasons that Babson is a great place to work.
“We broke down silos,” said Mr. Finke, adding that is part of a strategy to encourage greater understanding among employees of the company and of its clients, as well as to increase transparency in communication with employees.
“Although I am young and have only been with the company for five months, my opinion is valued and trusted,” wrote another employee. “I feel included in important decision-making.”
Babson Capital emphasizes teamwork so employees “feel comfortable in expressing their opinions,” Mr. Finke said.
That concept extends to meetings with clients. Mr. Finke recounted a recent meeting, at which he and Russ Morrison, vice chairman, managing director and head of global fixed income, “did the least amount of talking in the room.” Instead, Babson's analysts made the presentation.
“When you show confidence in your people, that means a lot” to the clients and to the employees, Mr. Finke said.
The teamwork concept extends to work outside the official workplace. Many employees praised Babson Capital's flexibility in allowing them to work from home.
“We are empowering people to be untethered from the office,” said Mr. Finke, noting Babson Capital lacks a formal work-from-home policy. “There's a culture of understanding. We are looking at results. If that's happening, we trust them in making a decision ... We can't predict life events.”
Outside the office and work, executives try to foster a sense of teamwork in the communities where it has offices. Contributing money to charities is fine, said Mr. Finke, but establishing a personal presence is better.
That's why, for example, employees have participated in an annual 5k event — running, walking or rolling — to raise money for Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte, and in a two-day bike-a-thon — the Pan-Mass Challenge — to aid the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.