<!-- Swiftype Variables -->

Best places to work in money management

Dana Investment Advisors

Members of Dana Investment Advisors’ investment team relaxed on the water between sessions on nearby North Lake during an off-site departmental planning event.

First place, money managers with 20 to 49 employees

AUM and AUA: $7.1 billion

Employee count: 43

For a company that has won a Best Places to Work in Money Management award every year since Pensions & Investments started the program, the logical question to ask CEO Mark Mirsberger is: So what's new at Dana Investment Advisors Inc.?

Actually, quite a bit, Mr. Mirsberger said.

In June, the Waukesha, Wis.-based asset manager and adviser hired a research firm to measure subjects such as employee satisfaction, cultural strength and diversity among companies in which the firm invests.

"You can't take anything for granted," he said.

Although his firm "considered these attributes in the past ... it's been more anecdotal," he explained. "This is an effort to better measure and quantitatively compare these attributes between companies."

Mr. Mirsberger said the research firm he hired, Spring Pond Partners, seeks to assess subjects such as women in leadership, innovation potential and culture quality. "We view the information on these metrics consistently with how we try and run our company," he said.

Spring Pond has provided research on companies in the past, but "this is the first year we've added this research to try and quantify some of the social/cultural aspects of companies," said Mr. Mirsberger, adding that clients have expressed an interest in these subjects. "We've seen the positive business benefits of these attributes and values."

Mr. Mirsberger said the research has a strong environmental, social and governance component. "Our focus is on building successful investment portfolios for our clients with stocks and bonds of companies with positive ESG characteristics," he said.

This ESG emphasis strikes a responsive chord with employees.

"I really think it's a function of the high moral character of our employees realizing the benefits of our strong culture and then being passionate enough about (it) to want to make a difference by encouraging other companies to strive for better ESG results while staying true to our strong investment process and philosophy," Mr. Mirsberger said.

Employees say Dana Investment Advisors' management approach encourages loyalty.

"It feels more like a family than a company," one employee wrote in comments about the company. "I know they care about me as a person, not just an employee."

Another noted that the "minimum tenure for a person in my role is 10 years. This doesn't happen by chance."

Comments like these illustrate why there's little turnover and long tenures. Thirty-five percent of Dana's employees have been with the company 15 or more years, and another 30% have worked for Dana for 10 to 15 years, Mr. Mirsberger said.