Last week Phillips Edison & Company held its 2017 Annual Meeting in Nashville, Tennessee. A three-day, all-associate gathering, this event is designed to give our geographically diverse team an opportunity to reconnect. We spend time reviewing accomplishments from the previous year, discussing goals for the coming year and engaging in a variety of interactive team-building activities that solidify relationships, improve communication and enhance collaboration. A vital component of our company culture, the Annual Meeting is not only my favorite time of year for our company, I believe it is also one of the most important.
When Phillips Edison & Company first opened our doors in 1991, we had only two offices and less than 10 associates. It was easy to stay connected to each of our team members, know their families and be involved in their daily work. Today, 26 years later, we have almost 300 people, four corporate offices and remote team members all over the country. This growth has been an amazing thing for the company and I’m proud of what our team has accomplished. However, sometimes, it can be a challenge to find ways to stay connected – both personally and professionally – to our team the everyday details of the business. Our Annual Meeting helps with this. I try to meet as many of the new associates as I can and spend time talking to a variety of team members throughout the event. The challenge is maintaining those relationships throughout the year.
Phillips Edison’s company culture has always been based on a sense of community. Associate feedback shows that even today, at our increased size, what our team appreciates most about working for PECO is the camaraderie they feel for each other. From a leadership and logistical perspective, it’s vital to stay in touch with, and continue to understand how the team operates on a daily basis so that I can continue to guide the company effectively and help the team successfully overcome any challenges they may face.
PECO’s culture is founded on community. Part of that asks our leaders to maintain the proverbial “open door policy”. That being said, the majority of the team will not use that opening and it’s the leader’s responsibility to leave the office, ask the questions and listen to the answers. Opening the door, walking the halls and actively engaging associates is the best – and only – way to stay connected.
As a rapidly growing company, Phillips Edison works hard to maintain its “small company feel” even as we add people and spread out across the country. One of our core values is “Think Big. Act Small.” We truly believe that the key to this is spending time with each other in person, outside of the office. It’s about stepping out from behind our desks, getting to know one another, having fun and working hard. Our Annual Meeting brings the team together and makes it stronger by giving the team a solid point of connection every year.