At Phillips Edison we often talk about the three “P’s” which are the foundation of our business. They are: people, partners and properties. There’s a reason why “people” comes first in that list. Our associates are our greatest resource and our most valuable asset. We believe that we have the best, the brightest and the most engaged team in the industry.
National Employee Appreciation Day was last month. I hope that our team knows and feels that it is valued every day of the year. Phillips Edison works hard to provide a vast array of benefits such as an in-house gym, fresh fruit deliveries, tuition reimbursement, an in-house corporate training program (PECO University) and much more. While these kinds of perks speak volumes to how much we value the team, I believe that time is worth more than anything.
With almost 300 associates, it’s nearly impossible for me to be in touch with everyone but I try very hard to spend time with the team and connect with them on a personal level. I feel like knowing them outside of the boardroom has a powerful impact on the team’s dynamics and ultimate success. This is something that I think many leaders tend to overlook in the rush to get business done, and it can be a great area of opportunity for enhancing their team.
You may have seen a recent blog from our CEO, Jeff Edison, discussing Phillips Edison’s Annual Meeting event. This is our biggest opportunity to spend time together outside of the office, with informal networking opportunities and structured activities designed to help associates at all levels of the company and across all departments get to know each other. There are also every day opportunities to spend meaningful time together. During the rest of the year, I try to have departmental lunches at least once a year. I also try to spend time at our in-house gym playing ping pong and working out with whoever happens to be using the athletic center. I really enjoy our friendly competitions and the conversations that I have with team members in that environment.
Phillips Edison also tries to plan a variety of associate events throughout the year, and I make an effort to attend as many as possible. These range from volunteer events led by our PECO Community Partnership group, to fun and education events offered by our PECO NOW (Networking Opportunity for Women) committee. If you follow us on social media, you’ve also seen some of our more casual gatherings such as National Cereal Day, National Pi Day and Mardi Gras celebrations.
Whatever the setting, it’s vital to spend informal time with the team. Get to know them and have a feel for their personalities and how hard they work. This will increase the team’s effectiveness by helping to establish trust, enhancing communication and breaking down unnecessary barriers. When leaders take the time to form these kinds of relationships, they show their associates that they value them and that the team is a priority. It’s easy to push this kind of thing off but it should be high on the list of priorities for every leader. I’m proud to be part of such an outstanding team and I look forward to my time with them.