Kamal Bhatia, New York-based chief operating officer at Principal Global Investors, said the manager creates a truly connected culture by focusing on supporting employees. “The No. 1 question we ask everyone is, ‘Do you feel supported in the work you are doing?’” he said. That support can take on many facets, including building strong internal teams, creating flexible work policies and supporting open communication. Employees are also encouraged to identify areas of investing they are passionate about and focus there.
Employees in the anonymous Best Places survey praised the firm’s inclusive culture and support.
“All are welcome and the company goes out of its way to show that. The people of Principal make the difference. I love the people I work with and know I can depend on them when needed,” one worker wrote.
Principal also encourages employees to join its structured mentoring program. Mentor pairs meet one-on-one every month between October and June. The program has specific goals around professional development, improving skills and developing business acumen.
According to Mr. Bhatia, it’s also a way for the company to connect across all types of boundaries.
“The program is primarily virtual so mentor relationships are happening across teams and globally. Building those global connections is a really powerful component. Employees are getting different perspectives and making connections they might not otherwise make,” he said.
In addition to networking and building skills, the mentoring program also is a key part of Principal’s diversity and inclusion efforts. Alongside the mentorship program, Principal has 13 employee resource groups that are designed to support all employees as they develop within the company. Mr. Bhatia says that having these programs in place is helpful for recruiting a diverse spectrum of employees and retaining them once they are hired because they can meet others like them and learn from their experience in the company.
The resource groups and mentoring program are key parts of Principal’s global approach to diversity. Mr. Bhatia noted that with a global workforce, Principal’s diversity, equity and inclusion policies have had to remain flexible to account for different jurisdictions and their requirements.
Principal is also working to bring on employees from other fields and put them into finance roles where their perspectives can add value.
“We want to have a diverse workforce in all senses of that word, so we’re actively trying to bring in people of color, women and other underrepresented groups. And, we’re looking for candidates that aren’t just MBAs. We’re also trying to index younger in terms of the age of candidates we’re bringing into investment management so that our overall workforce reflects the same level of diversity we have in our client base.”