During a year in which so much of day-to-day office life was anything but business as usual, a record number of firms — 94 — earned a spot on the 2020 Best Places to Work in Money Management list produced by Pensions & Investments and its research partner.
In its ninth annual program, P&I worked with Best Companies Group, Harrisburg, Pa., to collect and analyze survey data to identify companies that stood out for their efforts to create a culture that supports employees and fosters their best work.
"In this very unusual year, we learned again that employers that consider the overall well-being of their employees are regarded well," said P&I Editor Amy B. Resnick, New York. "The best employers in 2020 are those that have stepped up with policies and practices to support and protect employees' physical and emotional health, while continuing to keep the focus on clients' needs. Our surveys found that the employers on the list were likely to work hard to sustain their corporate cultures, even during times of pandemic lockdowns and continuing to work from home in many cases."
In this year's special report, a variety of firms provided insights into how they build and maintain a healthy corporate culture in a virtual world as the global COVID-19 pandemic disrupted long-standing practices such as daily in-person meetings, strategy retreats, chitchats around the water cooler, holiday parties and in-office birthday celebrations.
How to keep morale high and mitigate the stress of lockdown weighed heavily on employers' minds, judging by survey responses. Employers stepped in with enhancements to health and wellness policies, ways to virtually share accomplishments and praise, and extra days off to combat stress and burnout.
At New York-based PineBridge Investments LLC, a newcomer this year to the Best Places program, the company doubled the number of allowable 2020 vacation days and extended the carryover timeline so that the days can be used at any point during 2021. It also launched a "Work from Home Diaries" that encouraged employees to share their experiences and journeys during COVID-19.
Employers also stepped up when it came to ensuring that employees had the technology and tools to continue to work remotely. Among the responses in the survey, Chicago-based GCM Grosvenor Inc., another newcomer to the Best Places program, offered employees reimbursement of up to $500 for the cost of technology equipment used while working remotely. ClearBridge Investments LLC noted that its employees also received a $250 stipend for working from home-related expenses. And Palladium Equity Partners LLC, another newcomer, noted that meal stipends remain in place while team members are working at home and that any office equipment required for remote working is reimbursed by the firm.