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Thursday, Jun 1, 2023

The Best Places Have the Best Perks: Food, Fun and Family

Flexible work schedules trips around the world all-expenses-paid education; these are just a few perks offered to employees at some of the best places to work in the Valley. At Ernst & Young and Edward Jones, both of which have regional offices in Westlake Village, flexible work schedules are a key perk. “We have created a culture of flexibility in response to the globalization of both our firm and clients,” said Maho Jordan, people team leader for Ernst & Young’s Pacific Southwest division. “Globalization means it’s 24/7; it doesn’t matter where you work but how responsible you are to clients. Our flexible schedule allows our people to work from home remotely. I think that’s really unique to our business where we have allowed people to take ownership of balancing their personal life as well as being effective at work.” For offering employees flexibility, Ernst & Young made the cover of the Sept. 15 issue of Business Week. The publication named the firm as the top company at which to launch a career. Like Ernst & Young, Edward Jones employees also are offered flexible work schedules. “Advisors have the freedom to make their own hours and work as hard as they choose,” said Regional Leader Chris Hardt. “It’s a great company for working moms because you can arrange your schedule to be as flexible as you want, set it up so you can pick your children up during the day and work later rather than earlier.” Both Ernst & Young and Edward Jones also compensate employees for continuing their educations, while Burbank-based videogame developer Insomniac Games subsidizes the cost of continued education for employees. Hardt, however, believes that what distinguishes Edward Jones from other companies is its philosophy of partnership. Everyone has an opportunity to be a partner in the firm. “One of the biggest benefits is we’re a partnership,” Hardt said. “It’s not just financial; it’s a philosophy. We work together to help serve the clients. We also get individual administrators. Each office has their own administrator, and each office has one advisor, unlike other firms who share an administrator.” Moreover, employees receive real time support on any subject from the home office, according to Hardt. Also, “the firm gives you an office and pays the rent,” he said. “The firm pays all of the overhead for running your office, and, when you start a branch and have a negative profit/loss statement, the firm doesn’t request to get the money back from you. They just pay for it.” The fact that there’s no upper limit on the income employees can make also makes Edward Jones stand out, Hardt feels. The firm offers what are known as profitability bonuses: “The more profitable your office is, the larger bonus you get,” Hardt said. “We encourage you to run a business as if it’s your own business and keep the costs low.” Twice a year Edward Jones employees can qualify for trips around the world with their spouses. “It’s based on how well you diversify your clients and protect them from volatile markets,” Hardt explained. Employees have traveled to East Africa, Tahiti, New Zealand, Switzerland, St. Thomas and many more destinations. At Insomniac Games, employees take trips together to celebrate landmark occasions. “We are taking a trip to Cabo this coming Spring of ’09, commemorating the 15th anniversary of our company,” Community Director Ryan Schneider said. “We took a cruise to Ensenada to commemorate our 10-year anniversary.” Employees are also given luggage featuring the Insomniac logo to boot. While Ernst & Young employees neither win trips nor take them collectively with coworkers, they are given ample opportunity to travel for business purposes, according to Kim Vogler, lead “people consultant” for the company. “We have had a number of senior executives and managers take optional opportunities in China and Europe,Amsterdam and Germany,or even South Africa,” she said. “It’s part of the whole mobility culture of support and really fostering a really strong group of individuals that have international experience and have the opportunity to work with other locations outside of the U.S.” Ernst & Young also rents out Disneyland each year for one day for employees and their families. “It’s making sure we connect not only at our workplace but also making sure that our family appreciates all the benefits that we offer as a firm,” Jordan said. In addition to providing typical benefits such as medical coverage, Ernst & Young equips partners with an executive coach who informs them about fitness routines and stress reduction techniques. Moreover, Ernst & Young employees at all experience levels may enlist the aid of a concierge service to help complete an assortment of tasks,from planning a vacation or party, as well as picking up dry cleaning, helping with research and arranging for personal chef services. Delicious food is a key perk at Insomniac Games as well. Every Friday, employees are treated to a catered lunch. On occasion, the company also offers ice cream bars; “anything to lighten up the mood during challenging times on a project,” Schneider explained. And that’s not all. Insomniac employees have use of a fully-stocked kitchen featuring a convenience store-style refrigerator filled with their favorite goodies. Lest employees pack on the pounds from all of the treats offered at Insomniac, there is a gym onsite, membership to which is more than half covered by the company. Additional perks include reduced costs for childcare and healthcare, pet insurance and extended vacation time based on the length of an employee’s tenure with the company: those who have been with the company for five years are given an extra week of vacation while those who pass the ten-year mark get even more. To ensure that employees aren’t stressed from all of the work they do, massage therapists are available twice a week at Insomniac. Workers can also let off steam by attending concerts at venues such as the Wiltern. Insomniac raffles off tickets to the venue to reward employee performance. Schneider, who has been with Insomniac for nearly five years, described what it’s like to work there. “Working at Insomniac is like working at the Chocolate Factory for Willie Wonka,” he said. “I don’t stress out about work. Everybody walks in here with a smile on their face. There’s really no reason why not. In entertainment, we need to attract and retain the top talent. This is what it takes to ensure a collaborative and productive work environment.”

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