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CEOs Are Having The Wrong Workplace Debate: It's All About The Culture

Stocks in this article: JLL

CHICAGO, March 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- As the chief environment officers responsible for company culture, CEOs are actively seeking to drive shareholder value by making radical shifts in workplace strategies. Yet some CEOs may be missing the point.

"The real workplace debate is all about driving culture as a key driver of business performance," asserts Susan Lim, a member of the Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) 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."

Three Guiding Principles for Transforming Workplace Culture

Lim and the JLL global workplace strategy board 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.

One:  Corporate success begins with shared culture aligned with CEO vision

CEOs must drive shareholder value and business strategy, and essential to that is defining and shaping a shared culture, values and community spirit. In a healthy organization, 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% 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."

Two: Shared communities drive productivity

"Productivity drivers naturally flow from shared values, and can create both revenue and achieve savings," notes Bernice Boucher, also a member of the global workplace strategy board with responsibility for the Americas. "Technology has allowed us to navigate traditional space and time-zone boundaries, but shared culture shapes how that technology and freedom are leveraged."

Building a sense of community motivates employees and pays dividends in workforce retention, employee productivity and innovation. Creating a collaborative community of like-minded workers who want to interact together to solve corporate challenges is effective.

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