Second place, money managers with 100 to 499 employees
AUM: $70.8 billion
Income Research & Management is focused on employees inspiring each other, and has found success through informal networking circles.
Led by the firm's senior leaders, these groups of five to seven employees from across functions have participated in activities such as learning to meditate, sharing early career stories and volunteering together.
"A small-firm feel, even though the firm has grown a lot," said one employee of the Boston-based three-time Best Places to Work in Money Management winner.
And "the philanthropic efforts are amazing" at the fixed-income specialist, another said.
Jack Sommers, co-founder and managing principal, agrees on the importance of giving.
"Philanthropy is a real differentiator," he said. In the last year, 70% of employees have volunteered on behalf of the firm or made a donation matched by the manager up to $1,000, but Mr. Sommers is most proud of the recent addition of a service component for new-employee orientation, which includes a half-day volunteer project for the firm's 10 to 15 new hires each year.
Alongside profit sharing and a "generous family leave program" with 16 weeks of fully paid maternity leave, six weeks of paternity leave and up to six weeks of family leave to care for an immediate family member, the firm encourages employees across the firm to get to know each other across levels and functions with an open office plan and "networking circles" that reach across functions and generations, Mr. Sommers said.
Income Research & Management has also begun a speaker series to feature two to three external experts or luminaries per year. When Harvard men's basketball coach Tommy Amaker delivered a message about building great teams, he encouraged the firm to inspire each other to be great.
"The people we hire arrive motivated," Mr. Sommers said, "but how can we continue to inspire such talented people?" As such, he noted, the manager's annual 360 evaluation for each employee now includes a critical question on what people are doing to inspire others.