The days of “business is business” are over. Leadership teams cannot afford to ignore the value of relationship building and soft skills development geared toward building a positive corporate culture. Today’s most successful companies invest in people, taking the time and resources to foster a diverse, inclusive and value-rich work environment. This starts at the top, is maintained by hiring the right people and is reinforced through an ongoing commitment at all levels.
The Cincinnati Enquirer recently named Phillips Edison & Company as a Top Place to Work in Cincinnati
. Companies honored with this designation were chosen based on associate survey responses, making this award even more meaningful. I’m extremely proud of our team’s enthusiasm and dedication. However, we didn’t get here overnight and it didn’t happen by chance. Here are a few of the things that we have done to contribute to the success of our culture.
Involve the Team
Ensuring that we have an engaging company culture has been a priority since the company began more than 25 years ago. Throughout that time, we have consistently dedicated significant resources toward these efforts. At various points in our history, many of our associates have participated in roundtable discussions, surveys and interviews designed to identify what makes our culture desirable and what values resonate with them. Their responses were used to define Phillips Edison’s culture and core values.
pportunity. These words were carefully chosen by our team
to represent PECO’s unique and engaging culture. We promote this culture by living out the following values as identified by the associates:
- Do the Right Thing.
- Have Fun and Get it Done.
- Think Big. Act Small.
- Always Keep Learning.
Involving associates from all areas of the business in the discussion has ensured that our culture and values reflect how we actually operate and the true beliefs of our team. As a result, culture and values are genuine and fully embraced–more meaningful than if dictated from the top down.
Invest in Time and Resources
Don’t be afraid to invest in your company’s culture. At PECO, the company supports our culture and values by hosting annual all-associate meetings which include team development. We also sponsor a variety of programs geared toward promoting PECO’s culture and values. PECO NOW (Networking Opportunities for Women) and PECO Community Partnership are two great examples of this. Both are associate-led avenues for personal and professional growth, offering opportunities for associates to connect with each other on topics and projects that are relevant to them, personally. The groups plan volunteer, networking and learning events that speak to them as individuals. Most recently, PECO NOW hosted a speaker on the topic of gender differences and PECO Partnership brought the team together to volunteer at Gorman Farm in Cincinnati.
Understand that time changes everything.
In the company’s early days, it was easy to direct company culture because we were a small team, close-knit and in frequent contact. As we have grown, with more than 310 associates today, that has changed the team dynamics. In addition, technology has evolved and markets have shifted over the years, changing our business and how we work together. This doesn’t mean our values have changed but it does mean that we must make the effort to check in more frequently with our team. We assess and reassess the culture and make changes as necessary to ensure that we are actively pushing it through the entire organization. Remember to keep asking for feedback—frequently and without repercussion. Give your team the opportunity and the invitation to tell you what’s happening. They know what is going right and what isn’t. You must consistently solicit their input and act on it.
The Cincinnati Enquirer article covering PECO’s receipt of the Top Places to Work award quoted an associate’s comment on the survey as follows:
“Innovation lab, town hall meetings, leadership development and one-on-one coaching emphasis for every associate ... all of these create an open dialogue environment that allows people to express and implement new ideas.”
This is what we do. We ask for feedback, listen to what our associates say and give them the tools and resources they need to live out the PECO values. Our skilled and energetic associates make PECO a great place to work and I’m proud to be a part of the team.