Employees working at Edward Jones, which holds one of the top spots for a second straight year on our Best Places to Work list, often use "friends and family" as warm descriptors to describe working at the Fortune 500 financial advising firm.
"It speaks volumes that my best friends are my fellow Edward Jones financial advisers in this area," commented one employee on the Best Places to Work survey.
According to financial adviser Tammy Reefe, those lasting bonds also stretch to customers. Reefe has operated an Edward Jones office in Waunakee for 16 years. She takes pride in knowing that many of her clients are multigeneration families.
"The feeling of satisfaction of working with that entire family, through several generations, it's kind of great; kids, grandkids—the whole bit," says Reefe, who runs one of three Edward Jones offices in Waunakee.
All Edward Jones offices are independently owned and are comprised of two people, an adviser and a branch office administrator. The Madison area has 59 offices.
Reefe revels in the freedom of running her business. She appreciates that the company keeps up with industry changes the Department of Labor makes regarding retirement investments, compared to other companies that might drop a service platform or not dispense individual stocks because of those changes.
Sue Ellickson has worked with Reefe for 11 years as her senior branch office administrator. Ellickson says Edward Jones' southern Wisconsin offices are a tight-knit community and she appreciates the company's focus on giving back. Ellickson has served meals at American Family Children's Hospital, participated in a Waunakee food pantry food drive and made donations to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Ellickson says it can get lonesome in a small office, but the company organizes social events for employees, and Ellickson has established solid relationships with clients and fellow colleagues. "It's a very friendly, family-type atmosphere," she says.
Edward Jones is a privately held company and offers limited partnerships to employees every few years. Reefe and Ellickson both can take advantage of the perk and it's one reason they enjoy their positions. Reefe says there is no doubt she will retire with Edward Jones.
"To me, it's huge," Reefe says of the partnerships. "I would never go to a publicly traded firm to do what I do."