Today’s Workplace Must Create a More Human Experience

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On the premise that a more integrated collaboration between corporate real estate (CRE) and human resources (HR) will better inform great workplaces that are financially viable on multiple fronts—and equally important, create a more human experienceIA Interior Architects, along with JLL, and ESD,  recently co-hosted HX-Next before an audience of corporate decision-makers and facility management professionals. As the facilitator, CHRO, JLL Americas’ Mary Bilbrey opened the event. She was followed by keynote speaker, Tom Nolan, Managing Partner at The Gallup Organization, who shared highlights from Gallup’s global research on the shifting dynamics of work, workplaces, and the new expectations of today’s workforce.

(left to right) Don Vitek; Tom Powers, IA; Ed Nolan, JLL; Richard Tepp, IA

As panelists, McDonald’s Scott Phillips, BMO Financial Group’s Lynn Roger, and Walgreens’ Joe Brady, all leading the charge at their organizations in aligning CRE and HRshared illuminating stories and insights with an enthusiastic audience. McDonald’s has recently relocated its headquarters from a suburban location to a vibrant employee-focused space in downtown Chicago, and Walgreens and BMO Financial Group are in the midst of transforming their work environments to enhance the human experience. Three different industries represented by leading organizations discussing their experiences struck a wide resonance with attendees, who also appreciated the opportunity to meet one another and share viewpoints.

(center) Shannon Solomon, Fifth Third Bank 

Audience reaction was positive and sparked comment. Shannon Salomon, Workplace Program Leader, Enterprise Workplace Services, Fifth Third Bank, noted that McDonald’s 95% free addressing and use of new technologies was the direction the bank was taking. At the bank, CRE and HR are working together, and she says, “They [HR] should be a key stakeholder from the very beginning.”

Tom Nolan, The Gallup Organization

Corporate real estate executive Don Vitek sees CRE, HR, and IT as a three-legged stool because of the importance of technology in enhancing the workplace experience. Don says, “It is extremely powerful when employees realize that HR and policies and practices are in sync with the physical space design and are supported by excellent technology.” He also recognizes the value of both CRE and HR teams participating in joint benchmarking opportunities to learn from other companies.    

(left to right) Mary Bilbrey, Jll; Scott Phillips, McDonald’s; Lynn Roger, BMO Financial Group; Joe Brady, Walgreens

With unemployment rates at historic lows, IA understands that the challenge to attract and retain top talent has never been greater. But the workplace environment plays an enormous role in engaging, enabling, and retaining the workforce. Vibrant and inviting places that make your life easier, contribute to your wellbeing and embrace your connection to your colleagues and company make a difference. You will hear more from IA on this critical topic in coming posts.




IA is a global firm of architects, designers, strategists, and specialists .We focus exclusively on environments through the lens of interior architecture—a radical idea in 1984, when IA was founded. We are highly connected agents of change, committed to creativity, innovation, growth, and community.




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IA Thought Leaders discuss how the workplace must create a more human experience.

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