Robert W Baird & Co

What You Should Know

There are many reasons why employees at Robert W. Baird & Co. feel vested in the financial services firm, and being shareholders is just one of them. There is the casual yet professional atmosphere where big egos and attitudes are strongly discouraged by company leaders. Collaboration is what’s important here. As owners, each employee is given great freedom to do their jobs but also carries great responsibility. Those looking for a less traditional workplace or one that offers cutting edge technology might be disappointed. But those looking to build their careers at a solid firm would do well here.

 Says one employee, “We are blessed with strong leadership, and a carefully chosen workforce that tends to stick with the company for their entire careers.”

WHAT THEY DO

Baird is an international financial services firm. Baird helps individual clients, organizations, companies and municipalities make informed decisions on managing their money and their enterprises.

Website: www.rwbaird.com US Headquarters: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
US Sites: 138 Major Locations: Milwaukee, WI; Chicago, IL; Waukesha, WI; Denver, CO; Cincinnati, OH
US Employees: 2822 US revenues: $1012.92 million
Worldwide revenues: $1068.9 million Employees worldwide: 104
Founded: 1919 Industry: Financial Services & Insurance

FORTUNE's 100 Best Companies to Work for ® 2014


Great Challenges

How much responsibility would I have? What kind of support is there for professional development?

Great Rated! conducted an anonymous survey of randomly selected employees to assess the quality of the workplace challenges the company provides. At Baird, 87 percent of employees report the company often or almost always provides needed training, fair promotions and personally challenging work. Another 9 percent report the company sometimes provides these opportunities, for a combined positive rating from 96 percent of employees in the Great Challenges category.

Baird employees help clients, organizations, companies and municipalities make informed decisions on managing their money and their businesses. The company has approximately 2,822 employees in the United States, where they operate 138 offices.

An overwhelming majority of employees (94 percent) say they carry a lot of responsibility in the organization, and most (92 percent) also say that managers trust them to carry out these responsibilities without micromanaging them. For the majority of employees (85 percent), their work at Baird is more than just a job.

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At Baird, 87 percent of employees feel they receive the training and development they need to further their careers. While it is often difficult for companies to ensure that promotions are awarded fairly across organizations, at Baird, 81 percent say that promotions consistently go to those who best deserve them, exceeding what one can typically expect even at the very best companies in the country.

Supporting Employee Development

  • College Tuition Reimbursement: $5,250
  • Average annual training for part-time hourly employees: 162 hours
  • Average annual training for full-time salaried employees: 97 hours
  • Baird is committed to employee development and has a number of initiatives in place to ensure their employees get the training and opportunities they need. These initiatives include a two-year rotation program in wealth management to gain experience in different areas of the organization, manager training, professional development and tuition reimbursement, employee-run resource groups, community involvement, and mentoring programs.
I believe that management's willingness to have an open dialogue regarding career progression/changes is unique to this company. The encouragement and mentoring I have received over the past seven years has allowed me to grow in ways I couldn't have imagined. Even when the end result is to leave Baird in pursuit of additional schooling or a complete career change, management will stand behind you.

Great Atmosphere

What would my colleagues be like? How do people have fun? How formal a workplace is it?

At Baird, 88 percent of employees say they often or almost always enjoy their colleagues and find their workplace to be fun and cooperative. Another 9 percent sometimes benefits from these qualities, for a combined positive rating from 97 percent of employees in the Great Atmosphere category.

Baird's headquarters is undergoing an extensive renovation to foster a more collaborative atmosphere through open floor plans, increased access to natural light and a variety of focus rooms, conference rooms and casual gathering areas rather than standard offices. There is also a wellness room, showers and lockers.

More than nine out of 10 of employees describe their working environment as consistently friendly, caring and cooperative with 92 percent reporting that people feel comfortable being themselves. In fact, 88 percent actually look forward to coming to work.

Fun and Celebrations

  • Baird employees work hard but make sure they play hard too. They have a variety of fun initiatives, from Associate Appreciation Day including annual bonuses, milestone achievement celebrations and spontaneous fun events throughout the day. They have special fun events such as the Baird Bow Tie Club which meets for regular happy hours wearing bow ties, an annual night out at the zoo with families included, Take Your Kids to Work days, chili cook offs, and obscure holiday observations (International Talk Like a Pirate Day anyone?).

Caring and Support

  • Baird supports their employees through difficult times and will work with them on a case-by-case basis to provide what support is needed, whether it's flexible work arrangements to allow employees to care for loved ones, time off, an Employee Assistance Program as well as individual efforts such as sending flowers, cooking meals and helping with transportation needs.
People celebrate special events around here.
93%
 
Baird has a very unique culture that I have never experienced in my career. It is a casual but very professional environment and the employees care about their work whether its internal servicing employees or external servicing of clients. The employees are genuinely happy to be at work, so that attitude carries over to me.

Demographics



Percentage minorities in workforce


Percentage of executives that are women




 

Great Rewards

What kind of perks and benefits are part of the employment package? What is the work-life balance like? Does the company appreciate hard work?

At Baird, 83 percent of employees often or almost always find the company compensates them fairly, provides special and unique benefits, supports their work-life balance and shows genuine appreciation for their contributions. Another 12 percent reports they sometimes receive these benefits as well, for a combined positive rating from 95 percent of employees in the Great Rewards category. 

Employee ownership is a big positive. People here seem to always respect the company. When you become a shareholder the upper leadership and other employees make you feel important and that you are part of something special.

COMPENSATION BY THE NUMBERS

75% Company-paid health coverage for employees 75% Company-paid health coverage for dependents
24 hours Weekly hours at which part-timers receive health care coverage

COMPENSATION PROGRAMS

  • 401(k) or 403b plan
  • Pre-tax savings account
  • Employee stock purchase plan

PERKS TO MAKE LIFE EASIER

  • Free beverages during the day
  • Onsite package/mailing service
  • Discount ticket sales
  • Weight Watchers meetings
  • Convenience store
  • Personal travel service
  • Personal concierge service
  • Massage therapy
  • Fitness classes
  • Hair salon
  • Banking

WORK-LIFE BALANCE BY THE NUMBERS

27 days Holidays & vacation days after one year of employment $5,000 Adoption benefit
60 days Job protected maternity leave provided above and beyond FMLA 5 days Paid leave for adoptive parents

WORK-LIFE BALANCE PROGRAMS

  • Unpaid sabbaticals
  • Lactation rooms
  • Phased retirement planning
  • Elder care resources
 
I am able to take time off from work when I think it's necessary.
94%
 
People are encouraged to balance their work life and their personal life.
89%
 
I started here when my daughter was six months old and was concerned with starting a new job and having a good life-work balance. I was surprised that I was supported by management not only on the work level but the home level too. They provided me with the support that I could do my job well without having to sacrifice my home life.

HEALTH INSURANCE COVERS

  • Dental care
  • Mental health care
  • Fertility treatments
  • Vision care
  • Alternative treatments, such as acupuncture, homeopathy or chiropractic

ONSITE HEALTH BENEFITS

  • Breast cancer screening
  • Blood pressure screening
  • Complete biometric screening
  • Cholesterol tests
  • Flu shots
  • Medicare facility

Great Pride

What inspires employees' company spirit here? Do people stand by their teams' work? What impact do people have outside the organization?

At Baird, 90 percent of employees report that they often or almost always carry meaningful responsibilities within the organization and are proud of their accomplishments, community impact and the company's reputation in the world. Another 7 percent report that they sometimes experience this pride as well, for a combined positive rating from 97 percent of employees in the Great Pride category.

Baird's clients invest more than $120 billion through their firm. The firm advises clients on financial activities, including retirement planning, charitable giving, corporate mergers and acquisitions, and issuing stocks and bonds. Baird has 2,900 associates located in more than 100 offices throughout the United States and in Europe and Asia.

I'm proud to tell others I work here.
94%
 
Baird's culture is unique compared to other companies that I have worked for in the past. As an employee-owned company, there is a great sense of pride not only in our accomplishments but also how we carry ourselves to reach our goals.

Supporting the Community

  • Paid time to volunteer per employee per year: 16 hours
  • Philanthropic donations in the last year: $3,409,616
  • Baird employees support the community through a number of initiatives such as Baird Gives Back Week, which encourages employees to volunteer at activities scheduled at nearly 100 nonprofit organizations across the country,  as well  as matching donations and supporting  volunteer events throughout the year.
I feel good about the ways we contribute to the community.
96%
 
Every year employees volunteer in the community during our Baird Cares Week.

Great Communication

How easy is it to talk with managers and get the information I need? Will managers listen to my input?

At Baird, 85 percent of employees say they often or almost always experience a free and transparent exchange of ideas and information within the organization. Another 10 percent sometimes has this experience as well, for a combined positive rating from 95 percent of employees in the Great Communication category.

Despite operating 138 offices around the country, most Baird employees have the information they need. Nine out of 10 staffers feel their managers are easy to talk with, and more than eight out of 10 feel their managers not only give them straight answers to reasonable questions but they actually seek and respond to employee suggestions and ideas. Eight out of 10 also feel their managers keep them informed about important issues and changes, and make expectations clear.

Considering that we now have over 3,000 employees it is amazing how approachable our top management is. At any time we can either place a phone call or send an email and very promtply get a response.

Great Bosses

What are managers' leadership strengths?

At Baird, 85 percent of employees say their managers often or almost always act with integrity and care, are competent in their positions and provide clear directions and vision for the organization. Another 10 percent say their managers sometimes display these characteristics, for a combined positive rating from 95 percent of employees in the Great Bosses category.

Baird employees widely appreciate the friendly atmosphere and sense of pride their leaders encourage at the company. They describe highly ethical and skilled business leaders who have a clear vision for the firm. More than nine out of 10 say that managers are competent at running the business and are honest and ethical in their business practices. Nine out of ten say their leaders have a clear view of where the organization is going and how to get there. Nearly as many say that they show a sincere interest in employees as people and would lay them off only as a last resort. More than eight out of 10 say that managers deliver on their promises and walk the talk.

Management is extremely open with the entire company and willing to answer any question asked. All employees are valued and encouraged to do their best.

Great Perks and Programs

  • Infertility Treatment and Adoption Benefits: Baird covers infertility treatment up to $5,000 per year which is consistent with their adoption benefit of $5,000 per child to reimburse employees for a portion of the expenses associated with adoption.
  • Intern Benefits: Summer interns receive the Fourth of July as a paid holiday, and may take part in the Baird Cares program, which provides a day’s regular pay for volunteering at the charity of their choice. Long-term interns receive nine paid holidays, tuition reimbursement of $500 per year, 401(k) and profit-sharing contributions, and consideration for a year-end bonus.
  • Deals and Discounts: Baird offers a variety of discounts ranging from personal computers and software to local fitness centers, retail clothing stores, cars, museum memberships, theater tickets, sporting event tickets and tourist attractions.
  • Casual Dress: Baird has a “dress for the situation” policy meaning associates wear formal business attire when meeting with clients and can wear business casual attire at other times. The firm also has a number of “jeans days” throughout the year.
  • Onsite Conveniences: At Baird headquarters and larger offices, there are kitchens as well as an onsite restaurant and other services including vending machines, private lactation rooms, a health care clinic, and fitness center.

Employee Quotes

Great Rated! collected feedback from Baird employees via an anonymous survey. Following are common reasons employees said they appreciate their workplace.

Word Cloud

"I've never worked at a company where the sense that 'we're all in this together' was so evident... from the CEO to the rank and file employees. "

"In my role, Baird is supportive of creative and innovative ideas. I appreciate that very much!"

"There is a pervasive sense of 'do the right thing' at this company, which when matched with a particularly high level of professional competence makes it an exceptional organization. Employee ownership is a huge factor, as is a continual focus on protecting the positive culture. "

"Baird as an organization has truly genuine people with a sense of purpose."

"I enjoy the people I work with and the work I am able to do is rewarding. I have the opportunity to impact the firm in positive ways. I really appreciate the flexible work environment and the caring attitude of my management."

"I absolutely love the culture here. There is collaboration on everything and everyone is approachable. "

"People here are friendly here regardless of their position."

"Baird truly fosters a culture where its employees and clients are valued. Baird also places a large value on giving back to the community, which is very important to me."

"Honesty and integrity first."

"I have been given several opportunities to prove myself at Baird, as well as ample support to ensure my success."

"We truly do the right things for our clients even if it means we will make less money. Clients really come first."

"We are blessed with strong leadership, and a carefully chosen workforce that tends to stick with the company for their entire careers. I've been at a number of firms, but this is by far the best. I am immensely proud to work here."

How to Get Hired

We asked Baird for some inside information on how to get hired at the organization. Here is what they had to say.

What key characteristics tell you a prospective employee will be a great fit for your company?

Candidates will be a great fit for Baird if they are high-performers who share our commitment to working toward a common goal and being a workplace where everyone counts. Because teamwork is so important to the way we do business, prospective candidates must be able to thrive in a collaborative environment. We want talented professionals who are approachable, credible and easy to talk with. Integrity is paramount, along with a strong work ethic and a passion to succeed. Additionally, the following characteristics are important: a client-service orientation; a willingness to seek win-win solutions and be innovative; the ability to maintain collaborative working relationships in a fast-paced environment; a long-term outlook rather than looking for a quick fix; a well-rounded perspective; a consistent, pleasant disposition (we have a “no asshole rule”); a sense of humor; an ability to lead and follow; an interest in giving back to our communities.

What can prospective employees do to get your attention?

Candidates who are interested in Baird can always get our attention if they are motivated, personable and put others before themselves. They should research and understand our firm, especially our culture. While they should understand the responsibilities of the role, it is imperative they know how we do business – we still believe in handshakes and looking someone in the eye. We consider the interview process a two-way street – not only are we interviewing candidates, but they are also interviewing us – so we expect them to be authentic and to ask questions. Additionally, we are impressed with professional, down-to-earth, relationship-driven people who enjoy working as part of a team and are involved in their communities.Candidates may also get our attention by attending and networking at professional association events that cater to the financial services industry and at campus career fairs and diversity recruiting events.

Are there any unusual or especially rigorous steps of your hiring process that candidates should be aware of?

The Baird culture, which values honesty, teamwork and integrity, is a key differentiator for our firm, so we look for people who will be stewards of our culture and are respectful of everyone they interact with.  People who exhibit characteristics that violate our no-asshole rule, such as arrogance, condescension or putting themselves before others in any way, are not hired regardless of how good they may be. We have a very thorough interview process. Our recruiting team will phone interview an average of 10-15 applicants – regardless of the level of the position – and meet with five to eight individuals before narrowing to three to four candidates. These top candidates will talk with as many as 10-15 people who will be working with the new hire. We take this thorough approach to interviewing because we understand that hiring associates who are a fit for our culture is crucial.

Are there any positions or types of candidates you are particularly focused on hiring in this coming year?

The full-time advertised positions we are currently hiring for are across the firm in our business units and corporate resource groups. They include opportunities in Equity Research, Investment Banking, Private Wealth Management, IT, Operations, Human Capital, Compliance, Legal, Marketing & Communications and Finance. In addition to the advertised positions, we are always looking to take advantage of seasoned talent in the marketplace, adding senior professionals whose skills complement our business strategy and who fit our culture.  Specifically, we are actively recruiting experienced Financial Advisors and their teams in Private Wealth Management. We also frequently have Client Relationship Assistant openings in Private Wealth Management. For these positions, we frequently look for candidates who have industry experience and possess licenses or certifications related to the position (such as the Series 7 & 66, CPA, CFA, and PMI).

What should interested candidates do to find out more and get started?

To see open positions at Baird, visit BairdCareers.com.

4%Job Growth100Average number of applicants per opening
7%Total voluntary turnover in past year45200Applicants in past year
375Openings in past year47%New hires by employee referrals

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A casual yet professional atmosphere where big egos are discouraged is just one of many reasons employees at Robert W. Baird feel vested in the company.

%96

Great Challenges

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Great Atmosphere

%95

Great Rewards

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Great Pride

%95

Great Communication

%95

Great Bosses

Legend
Often or Almost Always
Sometimes

This review is based on 1084 employee surveys, with a 95% confidence level and a margin of error of ±2.34. It was published on Oct 2nd, 2014. Our methodology

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