Aksia Encourages a Learning Culture
At New York-based Aksia, a financial services company where Jim Vos is CEO, employees are encouraged to keep learning and expanding their horizons.
“In my past career, I saw the challenges created by fiefdoms and rivalries, but we never set out to establish a particular culture,” Jim Vos said. “We encourage lateral movement, finding the outlets here for your own passion.”
The company’s online research board reflects this corporate culture of continuously learning about the latest trends and strategies which change the investing topography. For instance, cryptocurrency and sovereign debt restructuring seem to be hot topics which may soon be added to the list of the firm’s specialties.
“Analyst projects are encouraged and implemented once you can show proof of concept, whether it’s for internal communications, research methods or client tools,” said an employee. “It has made scaling up in size run more smoothly. Efficiencies are constantly considered, tested and put into practice.”
This special relationship with learning has most likely helped to contribute to the fact that Aksia is a three-time winner in Pensions & Investments’ Best Places to Work in Money Management program.
Aksia also takes pride in its community participatory mentoring programs. One such program they are involved in is as a mentor for students attending Brooklyn’s MS 582, The Magnet School for Multi-Media Technology and Urban Planning. The company is sponsoring a chess program and a professional coach.
“The leadership at Aksia is fair, approachable and very thoughtful,” said another employee. “I feel that I am challenged and that everyone does their best on a daily basis and I never stop learning.”
Learning is encouraged informally as well as formally with one-hour “teach-ins” and seminars. Topics of interest include investing in music royalties to disruption technology in the car industry.
Mentoring and learning are not the only things at Aksia that merit praise from employees.
“Junior employees are given much more responsibility earlier than I have seen at other organizations,” said one employee in the “Best Places to Work survey. “I can never imagine saying, ‘because that’s how we’ve always done things.’ ”