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March 18, 2024

Best Places to Work 2024: 1. Johnson Brunetti

Headquarters: Wethersfield Industry: Finance Website: Top Executive: Joel Johnson, Managing Partner Check out the other 2024 Best Places to Work  
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“Service, service, service” is key to Johnson Brunetti’s continued success, according to Joel Johnson, managing partner of the Wethersfield-based retirement planning and investment management firm.

At the helm since 2005, Johnson said he started the company to fill a gap in providing financial services for “hardworking, non-ultra wealthy people.”

Working with 5,500-plus households today, Johnson Brunetti provides information in digital, hard copy and in-person formats and places a “hyperfocus” on communication, both with clients and employees.

“We make a huge effort to keep in touch and meet their financial and emotional needs,” Johnson said.

The firm’s 50 employees, who range in age from their 20s to 60s, share a dedication to community service that differentiates Johnson Brunetti from others in the financial planning industry, he said.

“The young people we attract want more than just work,” Johnson said. “They want to make an impact on the community they serve and the world, so they go above and beyond.”

For example, the company has partnered with the Make-A-Wish Foundation for several years. Firm employees helped build a court for a basketball fan and provide flying lessons to a young woman.

“Each one is hard to forget. These are kids with serious diagnoses and health challenges,” Johnson said.

Employee engagement

Chief Operating and Marketing Officer Laurie Tobias, who has worked at Johnson Brunetti for 14 years, said the firm’s community service and “entrepreneur mindset” are among its most appealing qualities to employees.

Each quarter, employees sign up to help charitable causes during work hours. A designated donation is also given on behalf of each new client.

Tobias noted team members volunteered at House of Heroes, painting, weeding and installing a deck for veterans, as well as meeting their families.

She said the firm does not have minimum-asset requirements, and tries to help people, even if they ultimately do not become clients.

“Our advisers will give a few pieces of advice to start them working toward a better retirement,” she said.

What impresses Tobias the most, however, is that employees “always try to be better within ourselves and for clients.”

“There is a `hey, let’s just run forward,’ environment. Let’s try things and experiment and always move ahead,” she said.

Johnson said the firm prioritizes diversifying its workforce with underrepresented groups in the industry like women and minorities.

The diversity inclusion committee recruits through colleges and groups such as the National African American Insurance Association and Hispanic Latino Professional Association.

Johnson Brunetti holds an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau, and offers benefits like 85% medical coverage and 100% dental, as well as matched profit sharing, life insurance and short- and long-term disability, the company said.

Appreciation events like “Sip n’ Paint Night,” performance-based bonuses and year-end, goal-incentive trips are other perks.

For telecommuters, Johnson Brunetti provides employees with laptops and software to communicate in the company network, and web conferencing, chat boards and IT support.

Johnson added, “Constant in-person events keep employees engaged. We have a lot of fun.”

That enjoyment includes pizza Tuesdays, ice cream trucks, ax-throwing, go-karting, corn hole, chair massages, reiki and more.

And Johnson’s top tip for individuals approaching retirement age?

“Definitely save 15% of income,” he said.

Check out the other 2024 Best Places to Work

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