Best Places, Practices For Finance Pros Cited

September 26, 2001 ( - Cargill, Inc., First Data and FleetBoston Financial have been designated the 2001 Best Workplaces for Financial Professionals, according to a new survey.

The survey noted that all of the honorees had dedicated human resources (HR) professionals and/or direct reporting responsibility for HR in their firms.

Conducted for the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP), Hackett Benchmarking & Research, and CFO magazine, the Best Workplaces for Finance Professionals recognition program evaluated nearly 150 organizations based on:

  • employee satisfaction surveys
  • an online company questionnaire
  • an executive interview (for program finalists)

Practice Criteria

Best practice utilization was measured in the following areas:

  • quality of work life
  • personal and professional development
  • employee job satisfaction
  • technology and tools
  • innovation

The winners were:

  • Minneapolis-based Cargill , an agricultural products supplier, promotes job rotation, flexible work hours, job sharing and volunteerism. More than 70% of employees in their worldwide audit unit, for example, telecommute on some level after being employed for six months.
  • First Data Corporation was cited for its flexibility in job rotation, extensive training and an annual talent review to identify personal preferences and job motivation. First Data finance labels itself the “CFO Organization,” along with its own logo and newsletters.
  • FleetBoston Financial also promotes job rotation, job sharing, telecommuting and flexibility for time off. Finance employees receive two days off per year to volunteer for organizations of their choosing, are trained in customer service and communicate via a quarterly newsletter.

Special Mention

In addition to the overall winners, the following were also recognized for leadership roles in specific areas:

  • Innovation — First Data Corporation , acknowledging steps such as 360-degree feedback, maintaining HR staff exclusively within finance, and conducting CFO-directed employee satisfaction surveys every 18 months
  • Technology and Tools — Johnson Controls , for benchmarking internal processes, implementing continuous improvement initiatives and valuing finance as a strategic partner
  • Employee Job Satisfaction — Putnam Investments , for treating finance employees as respected strategic advisors and offering a dynamic workplace
  • Personal and Professional Development — Sodexho — for allowing finance employees to tailor career paths centered on job rotation, quarterly feedback, and specific training and skills development

All organizations that completed the application process received a customized report for evaluating their use of best practices against leading-edge companies.