Are CEOs Having the Wrong Workplace Debate?

"The real workplace debate is all about driving culture as a key driver of business performance" - and today's business centers are in a prime position to help drive that change.

CEOs are actively seeking to make radical shifts in workplace strategies – and it has been a boon to business centers as expanding Fortune 500 companies take up residence in serviced office space.

Yet some CEOs may be missing the point. So says a recent report from Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL).

“The real workplace debate is all about driving culture as a key driver of business performance,” asserts Susan Lim, a member of JLL’s global workplace strategy board with responsibility for the Asia Pacific region. “To drive the global economy, you’ve got to create a shared culture aligned with CEO vision. You can’t mandate motivation. We should be debating how companies create and sustain culture, community and experience.”

With that in mind, Lim worked with her colleagues on JLL’s workplace strategy board to recommend that organizations transform their workplaces through three guiding principles: (1) Corporate success begins with shared culture aligned with CEO vision; (2) Shared communities drive productivity; and (3) Improve employee engagement by creating destinations of choice.

In the first part of this series, we’ll take a look at Lim’s first suggestion and how it relates to business centers.

Again, Lim contends that corporate success begins with shared culture aligned with CEO vision. By that she means that as CEOs drive shareholder value and business strategy, it is essential to define and shape a shared culture, values and community spirit. In a healthy organization, she explains, the CEO defines the vision and shapes the cultural values. Only then do execution and policy emerge from a shared set of values and goals.

When CEOs focus on culture, shareholders listen. According to the Great Places to Work global research firm, “Financial performance of publicly-traded companies on our 100 Best Company List consistently outperform major stock indices by 300 percent and have half the voluntary turnover rates of their competitors.”

“A shared mission creates a resilient, high performance organization – not specific policies,” observes Claudia Hamm-Bastow, the JLL global workplace strategy board member heading the EMEA region. “When culture is a strong reflection of the CEO’s vision, it creates an underlying bond that encourages managers to translate shared values within local workplace environments, fostering a sense of identity and belonging.”

So how does this translate to the business center level? Hamm-Bastow hit on part of it in that last line: When culture is a strong reflection of the CEO’s vision, it creates an underlying bond that encourages managers to translate shared values within local workplace environments, fostering a sense of identity and belonging.

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Whether that local workplace environment is an entire floor of an office tower, or a few executive office suites in your business center, the CEO is charged with the same task. Your business center can help CEOs accomplish those goals by taking the time to understand their unique mission and look for ways to help translate those shared values in your business center.

That may mean reserving your conference room once a month for special sessions for serviced office space users – or remote workers in the region – to gather together. It may mean extra administrative support from your staff to prepare materials that communicate the vision. Start talking to your CEOs about their vision and mission and how you can help support it, and you’ll drive more tenant satisfaction with tenants large and small.

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