The 2017 Best Small Firms to Work For: Meridian Compensation Partners

14. Meridian Compensation Partners

Headquarters: Lake Forest, Ill.   Billable Consultants: 63  Client Industries Served: All, with expertise in Manufacturing, Energy, Financial Services, Retail Consulting Service Lines:  Human Resources

It’s been six straight years as one of the Best Small Firms to Work For for Lake Forest, Ill.-based Ore. Meridian Compensation Partners. The recognition again this year as a best firm to work for validates the goal to have Meridian be the most sought after destination for compensation and corporate governance professionals, says Jim Wolf, Managing Partner of Meridian Compensation Partners.

“We strive to develop excellent consultants in a collaborative, teaming environment. Our clients want to work with a firm that invests in its people,” Wolf says. “Earning this recognition for a sixth time helps us deliver our unique value proposition to both consulting professionals and board-level clients across North America.”

Wolf says he thinks the firm earned this recognition through some very simple strategies: Investing in the right training, tools and resources for associates to serve clients;  Offering an environment across the firm where associates can work alongside experienced partners from day one, and learn from consultants across every location, not just their local office; and, earning peoples’ trust through open, two-way communication.

“We listen to ideas, and respect the range of opinions across our consulting professionals,” Wolf says. “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.”

Meridian achieved an important part of its mission in becoming one of the largest independent executive compensation and governance consulting firms, Wolf says.

“Staying among the leaders in both size and client satisfaction starts with a top priority of serving clients with excellence,” he says. “It will also take continued investment in new talent, challenging new opportunities for our consultants, and diligence in managing a financially viable and thriving business.”

The final six months of the year typically bring intense client activity and some of Meridian’s most demanding assignments, as clients gear up to complete the latest fiscal compensation cycle. Wolf says the firm heads into the fall with dozens of brand new client engagements earned over the past several months with the help of strong referrals from its existing client base.

“In the coming year our clients will need help with both new and repealed regulations, the potential business impact of tax reform, and ever-growing scrutiny from investors on the tie between business results and compensation,” Wolf says. “We look forward to growing our business at higher rates than what we observe at other boutique firms.”

Q&A: How would you describe morale at your firm?

Wolf: “Our associates tell us that morale remains high, in a demanding environment where our clients ask a lot from all of us. Our work environment does not feature lots of perquisites and luxuries—we keep things simple. Importantly, our consulting teams have the independence to make decisions and develop solutions they believe will fit each client the best. Our consultants work hard, and are often in high demand—by both clients and other consultants in the firm. We show associates our appreciation for those efforts through good compensation, and perhaps more importantly, through rapid development, new opportunities and respect as a consulting professional.”

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