The 2015 Best Small Firms to Work For: Meridian Compensation Partners


2. Meridian Compensation Partners

Headquarters: Lake Forest, Ill.
Billable Consultants: 56
Client Industries Served: Virtually All
Consulting Service Lines: Strategy

When it comes to being one of the Best Small Firms to Work For, it’s four years and counting for Meridian Compensation Partners. But this year the firm rockets up the ranking from No. 10 all the way to No. 2—an impressive jump, to say the least.

Jim Wolf, Managing Partner of Meridian Compensation Partners, says the firm has achieved an important part of its mission in becoming one of the three largest independent executive compensation and governance consulting firms. And staying among the leaders in both size and client satisfaction will take continued investment in new talent, challenging new opportunities for consultants, and diligence in managing a financially viable and thriving business.

And a second place finish in the Best Small Firms to Work For rankings won’t hurt either. The recognition validates Meridian’s goal of being the most sought after destination for compensation and corporate governance professionals, he says.

“We strive to develop excellent consultants in a collaborative, teaming environment,” he says. “Earning this recognition for a fourth time in our short history helps us deliver our unique value proposition to both consulting professionals and board-level clients across North America. Our leadership can take pride in having Consulting magazine help confirm that what we’re doing is working.”

And what it does, Wolf says, is keep it pretty simple. “We think we earned this recognition through some very simple strategies: invest in the right training, tools and resources; offer an environment where associates can learn from experienced consultants; and, earn people’s trust through open, two-way communication,” he says. “We listen to ideas and respect the range of opinions across our professionals.”

Wolf says Meridian’s work environment doesn’t feature lots of perks and luxuries—preferring to keep things simple in a focused, collaborative organization where people have “the right tools and resources to provide great service” to clients. “We stay focused on our basic mission to serve clients with excellence, develop effective consulting professionals in a collaborative environment, and run a thriving and rapidly-growing business.”

Considering its name and its focus on people, it’s no surprise that Meridian would excel in the areas of Compensation & Benefits and Work/Life Balance on the survey.

“Our 19 partners understand and appreciate that our success stems from, and depends on, the great work done at all levels. Our partnership shares a generous portion of our financial success with all associates, with specific recognition for work well done,” Wolf says. “We respect each associate’s individual approach to managing their time both in and out of work to continue their personal success, and our firm’s success.”

Q&A: When you look at 2016, what excites you the most?

Jim Wolf, Managing Partner with Meridian Compensation Partners, says: “The final months of the year typically bring intense client activity and some of our most demanding assignments, as clients gear up to complete the latest fiscal compensation cycle. Again this year we head into the fall with dozens of brand new client engagements earned over the past several months with the help of strong referrals from our existing client base. We look forward to continuing to grow our business at higher rates than what we observe at other boutique firms. We also see great opportunities to expand our expertise in a variety of industries.”

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