Having access to development opportunities at work is crucial for career progression—and companies that don’t offer these are more likely to have employees leave their jobs according to a recent survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management. As an employer, Fisher Investments understands this well—which is why it offers the training and advancement people need to build lifelong careers. In this three-part article series, we spoke to employees about their growth at Fisher and how the company helped them get to where they are today. Below, you can read part two of the series, and click here for parts one and three.
Ritesh S. has only worked for one company since he graduated college 16 years ago: Fisher Investments. Why? He’s been able to continuously grow and even reinvent his career at the firm, so he's never had a reason to seek opportunities outside of it. Today, he’s a Training Program Manager who works with new Investment Counselors—his sixth role so far.
“I think Fisher’s done a really good job of encouraging people to be happy and find what they want to do,” he says. “My dad had one role at one firm for 30 years, and that was more common at that point. But times have changed.”
Fisher fully embraces this more modern approach to career development—which includes lateral moves and even transfers to different office locations—through its philosophy of open career paths. Employees can learn about other parts of the business at internal job fairs and information sessions, receive career coaching and training, and participate in a shadowing program—all of which make it easy to try out new jobs and find a right fit within the firm. These opportunities are what have allowed employees like Ritesh to follow their interests and pursue a career path that best suits them.
Here, Ritesh talks about how the open paths philosophy has impacted his own career at Fisher, the key role his managers have played in his development, and the ways the company’s culture has evolved over years.
What initially interested you about working at Fisher? How did you know it would be a good fit?
I joined Fisher right out of college in 2006. I applied because a friend of mine told me about the company and how much he enjoyed his interview. During my own interview, I immediately knew this is where I wanted to be.
Even back then, I could see how different Fisher was from other traditional finance firms. The biggest thing that attracted me was the culture of open communication. With an open floor plan, everyone could get up and talk to people when they needed help or guidance, and the managers were approachable. It was a great experience.
What has your career path been like since joining Fisher?
I started out as a Client Service Associate based in San Mateo, CA. About a year later, I had the opportunity to relocate to our office in Washington State and take on another role in Client Service. Fisher supported me with robust training and a dedicated mentor prior to the move, which helped me feel prepared and enabled me to hit the ground running.
I’ve experienced numerous other departments since then: I’ve held roles in Regional Sales Support and Client Development and went on to become an Investment Counselor. In February 2023, I moved into my current role as an Investment Counselor Training Program Manager. In this position, I oversee the training program for new Investment Counselors. I teach them our investment philosophy, get them ready to help clients, and then continue to support them once they have clients of their own.
How did your managers support and encourage you to pursue new opportunities?
At Fisher, you have one-on-ones with your manager where you talk about professional and personal development. For example, I can ask, “How can I develop in my current role?” and managers do a good job of helping you pursue whatever it is you want to do with your career. When I told my previous manager that I wanted to become an Investment Counselor, it wasn’t a surprise because we had talked about it many times. My manager encouraged me to apply for my current position because he thought I would be a good fit.
Tell us about Fisher’s “open career paths” approach to internal mobility.
We have an official job shadowing program that allows you to shadow someone in a particular position, whether you’re simply curious and want to know more, or because you might want to apply for that role down the road. On top of that, departments host informational sessions for anyone interested in making a move to a different team as well as events where you can network with managers. We also have internal career fairs for current employees to network with colleagues in other departments. Finally, we have many training resources that are available. For example, if you want to be an Investment Counselor, you can take self-paced online courses in our learning center to gain a better understanding about the role, prior to formally joining our IC bridge program.
What is the process when you choose to explore a new internal role or path?
It depends on the role. For example, when I wanted to move into my current role, there weren’t any projects for me to take on to prepare—it’s hard to run a training program unless you’re actually doing it. So in that case, the conversations my manager had with the hiring manager about me and my work made a huge impact.
Sometimes, it’s about proving yourself in your current job and then showing the hiring manager how you can take what you’ve learned and apply that to the new role. Many skills are transferable, so the main thing is to show you have the right skills, attitude, and experience to do the job well.
Why is the “open career paths” such an important part of the company culture and what positive impact does it have?
Employees value that there is no stigma about moving from one role to the next. There is also no stigma if you want to stay in a role. If you want to switch roles, the resources they provide—from the career fairs to the job shadowing and professional mentorship—encourage people to find a role they are interested in. Once you’re in a new role, there are plenty of resources to set you up for success.