Twenty years ago John Montgomery had a vision. What if our partners came to work every day and found joy in what they do? When he started Bridgeway Capital Management and Bridgeway Funds, his vision was to build a company that not only cared passionately about its investors and their returns, but one that cared deeply about each other and the world around us. He wanted an energetic and inspirational culture that challenged people professionally and personally.
In 2013 we celebrated 20 years as a firm. As we celebrated we also reflected on the early, pivotal, and innovative decisions that created our unique culture. We are still building, growing and learning, but here are four of the ways we're trying to make Bridgeway a joyful and inspiring place to work...
We have a vision
Our vision statement is, "A world without genocide. Partners effecting extraordinary community and world change." This vision serves as a constant reminder that we have a responsibility to use our talents and business success to give back. Most companies aspire to be #1 at something. Ours is a calling for higher purpose.
We ask and empower all Partners (Oh and by the way, all our employees are "Partners") to engage with their community and the world. We know this is good for them, their families and the world around us.
We are committed to the Bridgeway Foundation, Bridgeway Capital Management's private foundation. The Foundation leads transformational change efforts and implements our vision. It has allowed us to engage in efforts around the world such as genocide, child soldiers, and bringing an end to the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). Most recently in Africa, we are working with many partners to assist in the rescue and reintegration of LRA defectors.
For a small company from Houston, we are amazed what is possible if you commit and engage passionately.
We give away half our profits
We give 50 percent of our profits to charitable causes, and through a variety of granting, matching and gifting programs, Partners are able to support their passions. Over the years we have celebrated projects in Nicaragua, Honduras, Peru, and other parts of the world. Importantly, the commitment to giving motivates our business success as it inspires us to grow and be efficient -- a dollar wasted really does impact someone who is in need.
We keep a cap on executive pay
We maintain a seven to one total compensation cap. That's right. No-one in the company can make more than seven times the lowest paid Partner, even the founder. This formula is a bit of an anathema in an industry where a CEO's pay can exceed 300 times the average worker. We pay our Partners competitive wages, so currently only the founder and CEO are impacted. The benefits to the organization make this formula successful.
We value and love people for their unique abilities and potential
As we have grown, we have met some challenges. We started as a flat egalitarian organization with no titles and run by consensus decision-making, but this made us slow to respond and responsibilities unclear. We've replaced this with an organization built on 'servant leadership' that empowers our Partners to grow and lead and respects each individual's ability to make a positive contribution. Our strong emphasis on caring for each other built on integrity, trust and open communications helps create a fun and rewarding work environment. We were excited to be named a "Great Place to Work" in 2010, the only year we applied.
We are on a journey, learning as we go. What we love to do is challenge other companies to develop a culture of giving. This is not a marketing trick. It is about building a better company - one that positively impacts the lives of your employees and their families. A 2013 study by Gallup called the The State of the American Workplace sadly identified that 70 percent of workers are actively disengaged or not engaged. Those are sad statistics and something that desperately needs to be addressed by company management and owners. Bridgeway's vision and commitments are one way we believe we are making an impact.
This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and Virgin Unite to explore ways we can all thrive at work.It's also the subject of a Google Hangout on March 31, moderated by Guy Kawasaki and featuring Arianna Huffington and Richard Sheridan. Instagram or tweet your ideas and comments by using the hashtag #workthrivejoy.