The Whole Package

Creating a Great Place to Work at FINRA

This year, FINRA has been named one of the Top 100 Best Places to Work for IT professionals by IDG’s Computerworld magazine. This is the fourth year in a row FINRA has received this award. The list is compiled based on a comprehensive questionnaire regarding company offerings in a variety of categories such as benefits, career development, training and retention.

The survey looks at more than just what’s offered on paper: responses by IT workers factor heavily in rankings as well. The employee survey collects information on satisfaction with management, benefits, workplace culture, compensation and job duties.

"The 100 organizations on Computerworld’s 2015 Best Places to Work in IT list realize that attracting and retaining a highly-skilled technology workforce leads to competitive advantage,” says Scot Finnie, editor in chief of Computerworld. “In a tight market for tech talent, these outstanding employers attract the best and brightest IT pros with generous salaries and top-drawer benefits, then deepen their teams’ engagement with challenging, business-critical projects built around cutting-edge technologies. As a result, these winning organizations are best positioned to take advantage of the digital transformation sweeping through every industry.”

This is just one of the many awards FINRA has received as a great place to work. Other awards include: as one of the 100 Best Companies by Working Mother, one of the 50 Best Employers for Workers over 50 by AARP, and the Maryland Work Life Alliance has awarded us its Workplace Excellence Seal for several years running.

Work life balance

These awards show our emphasis on helping employees create a work life balance that works for them. One key component has been embracing mobile technology to help employees work anywhere. Though security is important, finding options for employees to work remotely has been critical to provide flexibility and options. “We’re focused on creating an environment that is flexible” says Brittney Barry, a FINRA HR specialist. “We try to offer flexible schedules, especially for parents.” This can be seen with generous parental leave, telecommuting and flexible schedules options. Another way we try to help is providing back up options if babysitters fall through. FINRA has partnered with Bright Horizons to help parents find babysitters to cover.

Another aspect FINRA focuses on is physical health. At our Rockville campus, there’s not only a free gym but also free classes for employees. Yoga, Pilates, and Zumba are just a few of the classes employees can attend. During lunch time, you can also find employees a game of pick up soccer, or going for a walk around the lake.

Growing careers

In addition to work life balance, FINRA is committed to professional development of all employees. Technology interns don’t just get coffee and make copies: they help write code and build the systems we use every day. Their program also includes mock interviews and tips for building great resumes to prepare them if they plan to look for work elsewhere.

Employees looking for further education opportunities can also benefit. FINRA offers $5,250 a year in tuition reimbursement. This money can go towards tuition, books, and other related expenses. At nearby University of Maryland, it can cover the costs of part time enrollment.

For Keven Dickey, an Associate Systems Analyst, tuition reimbursement has made his career switch to programming much more feasible. “I got my undergraduate degree in a different field,” Keven explained, “A master’s degree would be helpful in growing my career as a programmer.” With help from FINRA, Keven is now able to do an online program with Harvard University for a Masters in Information Systems Management. “Work is my focus, school is on the side. It’s nice that FINRA provides these funds. It makes going to school much more feasible.”

Professional development isn’t just limited to additional degrees. For less formal opportunities, FINRA offers various tools from online courses from Harvard Business School to the Toastmasters International® program. In addition, employees can go to week long trainings, for Java Script or Python to help hone their technical skills.

More than training, FINRA rewards performance. We work to give employees opportunities to grow whether they want to become stronger developers or become managers. Each year, employees get reviews. Looking at the total package of work and performance, employees can also receive potential bonuses.

The combination of stability, opportunity, and benefits creates a strong incentive for employee loyalty: Nearly 35% of our technologists have been with us for more than 5 years.

We provide these benefits because we believe that hard work needs to be rewarded with more than just a salary. “We see it as a total package” Brittney explained. We work to offer a set of benefits that include, 401(k) matching, vacation, parental leave, and much more. Because when employees thrive, FINRA thrives too.