Neuberger Berman Group, New York, for example, is leaving it up to its employees to determine if or when they return to work in the firm’s offices, said George Walker, chairman and CEO.
“Neuberger Berman is operating in a no-questions-asked work environment,” Mr. Walker said, stressing that if an employee is scared or nervous about returning to their offices, they don’t have to.
Employees’ return to work at Neuberger Berman started with just 10% to 15% of employees present in mid-2021. Since Labor Day, about 75% of staffers now work in their offices at least some of the time, Mr. Walker said.
Neuberger Berman managed $437 billion as of Sept. 30. and was ranked No. 1 in the Best Places’ ranking of employers with more than 1,000 U.S. employees.
Managers on the conference panel said a hybrid work model with some days each week spent in the office and remote working on other days is a popular and important option for both existing employees and potential hires.
At New York-based Schroder Investment Management North America Inc., employees have changed their approach to work since the COVID-19 outbreak and are eager to embrace a hybrid work model, with 90% of employees surveyed saying they want to retain some flexibility in their work life going forward, said panel member Racheal Hanifan, head of human resources.
Schroder North America is hiring now in what Ms. Hanifan described is a very competitive talent market and workplace flexibility is something that “every single candidate is asking for.”
“People are rethinking what they want to do and their expectations for their career have changed,” with employees focused now on flexibility, a sustainable job and meaningful work, Ms. Hanifan said.
In response, Schroder North America has changed its employee management policies to better serve employees with fewer formal reviews and more coaching sessions, she said.
Schroder Investment Management North America, recognized in the large employer category with between 100 to 499 employees, managed $172 billion as of Sept. 30.
Other panelists said their firms have been providing extraordinary support for employees throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as they deal with the challenges and stress that have arisen while working remotely.
For example, Polen Capital Management LLC, Boca Raton, Fla., which managed about $80 billion as of Nov. 30, focused on providing its workforce with free mental health counseling, said Rachel Trock, head of human resources, during the panel discussion.
The program is “hugely popular with employees” as is an annual stipend, a portion of which also can be used for counseling services, Ms. Trock said.
Because Polen employees “want to know that they are being heard,” Ms. Trock said CEO Stan C. Moss talked with every one of the firm’s 144 employees for a checkup, an action she said was very positive for employees.
Polen Capital isn’t requiring or pressuring its employees to come into the firm’s offices but Ms. Trock said about 80% of staff are working in their offices regularly.
Polen took first place in the large employers category (100 to 499 U.S. employees) in P&I’s Best Places to Work.