Polen Capital Management LLC, for example, implemented a ROWE policy in 2015. Since then, the Boca Raton, Fla.-based firm has doubled its workforce to 66 employees, including hiring 13 employees since May. CEO Stan C. Moss said the policy has been a competitive advantage.
"We're attracting top talent in the industry, we're developing that talent and we're retaining that talent," Mr. Moss said. "If you talk to any CEO in any industry, those are three things that they would like to able to say and we're doing it. ROWE is a strong contributor."
In a recent survey of about 300 financial services professionals by Focus Consulting Group, employees said autonomy was their top motivator (17.6%), ahead of passion for work (16%), purpose/meaning (15.6%) and bonuses (14.8%). "If you're trying to build a first-rate culture that attracts and retains people, you better make sure you get the rewards piece right and part of that is autonomy," Mr. Ware said. "Autonomy is ROWE."
Milwaukee-based Baird Asset Management has a flexible time-off policy that allows employees to amend their schedules, with manager approval, when needed. Mary Ellen Stanek, managing director and chief investment officer at Baird Advisors, and president of Baird Funds, said the policy makes employees feel like they are engaged and respected. And while the policy is popular with employees, it also helps Baird's bottom line. "The ability to attract and retain strong investment teams that are successful together is very much in our investors' best interest," Ms. Stanek said.
In early 2018, New York-based money manager OppenheimerFunds Inc. amended its Responsible Time Off program to give employees greater flexibility and to be "more reflective of where, when and how work is performed," said Andy Doyle, chief human resources officer. In a statement to Pensions & Investments, the firm said its "evolving policies around work-life balance will help reinforce our culture of accountability and results, and continue to retain and attract top talent."
Employees' work-life balance was something executives at the world's largest money manager, BlackRock Inc., took into account when the New York-based firm rolled out a flexible time-off policy at the beginning of 2018. The decision came on the heels of its 2017 global benefits survey that asked BlackRock employees what they liked about the firm's benefits program and what more could be done.
"We got overwhelming feedback that our employees desired more flexibility with regard to their time off," said Jennifer Lee, BlackRock's global head of benefits.
"This, coupled with the fact that we felt our time-off plans had been inequitable, spurred us to make the move toward FTO." Previously, allotted days at BlackRock were based on tenure and title, whereas now employees are not held to a fixed number of days off. They can take time off as needed, with manager approval. When asked if BlackRock is worried about employees potentially abusing the policy, Ms. Lee said the firm trusts its employees to take time off to balance work and personal demands.
"We're not flexible about performance, but we are flexible about time off," Ms. Lee said.