The Motley Fool — A Culture Encouraging Fun & Growth Produces a Company Dedicated to Transforming the World Through Financial Literacy

The Motley Fool — A Culture Encouraging Fun & Growth Produces a Company Dedicated to Transforming the World Through Financial Literacy

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Sean Garrity
By: Sean Garrity
Posted: March 28, 2017
Our finance experts and industry insiders blog the latest news, studies, current events, and other interesting tidbits from inside the credit card industry.

In a Nutshell: For almost 25 years, The Motley Fool has been putting consumers on track to become more financially literate and independent through its website, podcasts, books, newspaper column, radio show, and premium investing services. A big reason for the company’s success in creating so many valuable resources is its culture, which allows employees to flourish so they can perform their best work. Perks, such as in-house personal massages, health and spinning classes, and a complimentary $1,000 to invest in shares of publicly traded companies, keep employees happy, loyal, and more than willing to provide outstanding financial advice for investors. Passionately serving others is at the core of The Motley Fool’s business model, and its dedicated team is actively working toward the goal of helping the world invest better.

It used to be the case that compensation, insurance, and upward mobility were the only considerations when taking a job — people were looking for a stable paycheck and not necessarily seeking a fun company culture. Today’s employees are still primarily looking at salary when choosing their next position, but more and more are weighing where and how they want to spend their 40 plus hours per week.

The Department of Economics at the University of Warwick found happy workers are 12% more productive than the average worker (some studies suggest 20% or higher), while unsatisfied workers were 10% less productive. Besides being productive, contented employees are more creative, innovative, and help attract other positive and valuable staff.

The Motley Fool logo

The Motley Fool knows happy employees equate to happy customers. That’s why the company provides concrete benefits, like generous compensation plans and health insurance, but also offers perks that lead to abstract benefits such as satisfaction and trust. Employees rate The Motley Fool’s workplace highly, and several organizations, such as The Washington Post and You Earned It, have recognized the company for the unique culture that makes it so successful.

Because The Motley Fool nurtures such a rich work environment, its energetic team is able to more effectively deliver its message promoting financial literacy and independence. Through its website, podcasts, books, newspaper column, radio show, and premium investing services, The Motley Fool has been setting consumers up for success for almost 25 years.

Built on a Mission to Help the World Invest Better

Brothers David and Tom Gardner founded The Motley Fool in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, in 1993. With a name slyly borrowed from Shakespeare, the brothers fostered an environment where instruction and amusement could thrive.

Photo of David and Tom Gardner and graph depicting Dow Jones industrials

David and Tom Gardner founded The Motley Fool in 1993 to help the world invest better.

The Motley Fool team’s goal is simple: educate, amuse, and enrich. There is no business babble or psych-speak — just a desire to help their fellow man with a few laughs thrown in. The company’s mission and attitude have resulted in many nominations for best-place-to-work accolades from organizations such as Glassdoor, The Washingtonian, and The Washington Post.

With a fun and quirky corporate culture, The Motley Fool is somewhat of an outlier when compared to the stereotypical stiff and straight-laced financial services companies common in the industry. The Motley Fool subscribes to a “buy-and-hold” philosophy of wealth building, and it is clear the company has the same philosophy (or Foolosophy) when investing in employees.

Foolosophy 101: Take Care of Your Employees & They Will Take Care of Your Customers

The Motley Fool believes that anyone can do anything, and that starts and ends with the employees that bring its resources to life each day. The company fosters a culture that encourages employees to have the freedom to pursue their passions in their daily roles. The Motley Fool knows continually anticipating and meeting the needs of employees is good business practice and works hard to create a cyclical environment that takes care of everyone — employee, customer, and shareholder.

Unlike other companies that may list a compensation model or insurance as the first benefit of employment, The Motley Fool highlights“Your Voice” at the top of the list. Decisions that are tied to happiness are left to each employee (or “Fool” as they are called). If you are someone who can’t function before 9 am, no problem! You can come in to start your day with the others who think 10 am is the ideal time to clock in. The Motley Fool believes in trusting employees to create their own successful working environment, which goes a long way in developing loyalty to the company they work for.

The Motley Fool offers all the basics your mom would ask about: health, vision, and dental. There are vacation and sick policies, but they’re a bit different than you may expect. At The Motley Fool, employees take what they need. People work with their teams to coordinate time off, and everyone supports one another.

Photo of Tom and David Gardner in front of The Motley Fool headquarters

Tom and David believe employees should follow their passions and created a culture to allow them to do just that.

Employees enjoy the flexibility of the company’s corporate culture. Dress code allows for everything with exception to Viking helmets (but only when paired with strapless evening gowns), too many polka dot prints, and more than three colors not found in nature.

Onsite, The Motley Fool treats employees to all sorts of goodies to keep them happy and healthy. Subsidized, in-house professional massages and health and spinning classes along with a cupboard full of healthy snacks keep employees smiling as they work. Fools also have access to continuing education with visionary speakers like Elon Musk and Alexis Ohanian.

Each Fool is also given $1,000 to buy shares of a public company to understand better what they do for members every day in helping them be better investors and smarter business people. For employees with new pets, the company’s “Peternity” program allows a week to get new tail-waggers accustomed to new homes. Mani-pedis and haircuts even show up on the monthly event list.

The Spirit of Giving is Fostered Through Foolanthropy

Not only does The Motley Fool give to its employees, but they make giving a priority in the company culture. Foolanthropy is “The form of charity advocated and practiced by The Motley Fool.”

But stop right there if you think they just donate cash to a charity once per year. Like the mission statement, Foolanthropy should be enacted to educate, amuse, and enrich. Excitement and passion are key components in this type of philanthropy, carried out with the understanding that enrichment isn’t just financial, but a true heartfelt practice for all involved.

Each year a committee selects an organization to benefit from Foolanthropy’s holiday efforts. In 2016, that lucky company was Growing Power, a non-profit organization in Wisconsin who works to provide healthy food that is also affordable and sustainable.

The Motley Fool also provides jobs and training to those in at-risk communities. The company encourages employees and members of The Motley Fool to get involved to better society.

The Motley Fool & Its Employees Receive Recognition for Their Thriving Culture

When a positive and creative environment based on respect and flexibility is put in place, the company and the employees thrive. For instance, The Motley Fool team member Shawn Viduranga earned a spot in the You Earned It Top Ten Most Recognized Employees in 2016.

Only at The Motley Fool could you customize not only your working style but also your title. Rather than taking on a run-of-the-mill title, like Director or Programmer, Shawn decided to title himself, Batman. Among the things he’s empowered to do at work that make his work day great are having a culture of trust, the freedom to forge his career path, and creating a Bat Room with a bat signal.

It is giving employees room to be unique that allowed The Motley Fool to top Glassdoor’s best place to work list. Creating a place where employees can support one another and grow the company together is beneficial for everyone. The Motley Fool wants its employees to be “fools for life,” and its company culture makes it easy to see why most of them will probably be.