One of the first things that stands out at Birmingham, AL-basedBayer Properties is the company’s two female co-presidents. LibbyLassiter and Jami Wadkins took the helm in 2019 following a two-year leadership transition and have since driven significant growthat the firm adding 2 million square feet—a 20% increase—to thenet lease third-party management company’s portfolio while transforming the culture to create a more dynamic work environmentrooted in transparency. “With Bayer’s female-dominant leadershipteam, there is much higher emotional intelligence representedthroughout the company, which has resulted in an empathetic andtransparent environment,” says Doug Schneider, EVP of operationsat Bayer.
The shift in company culture starts with the Culture Club, anin-house team that oversees employee needs and promotes ahealthy, balanced and enjoyable work setting. This includes hosting events and working to secure better employee benefits. “I’m amember of the Culture Club and we recently conducted an internal survey to guide our focal points and initiatives for the 2020calendar year. In large part, employees were focused on fringebenefits, such as healthy snacks and socials, which speaks volumesto employee satisfaction with the larger company policies and procedures,” says Elizabeth Boldin Thomas, director of marketing atBayer.
To promote growth within the company, Bayer offers in-personand video training tools, and department leads meet regularly tocollaborate and improve company practices. This has led to technology improvements, restructured hiring practices and enhanceddiversity throughout the company.
Bayer has a workforce with 57% women, and more than half ofits leaders above the director level are women. Turnover hasdecreased significantly since implementing these workplace strategy changes, with only 6% turnover in 2019. “We’ve witnessed atransformation in the company’s culture,” says Schneider. “Byencouraging and empowering employees to get plugged intodepartments outside of their typical wheelhouses, Bayer is creatinga wider pool for growth and development within the company.”
Black Creek Group
Diversity, inclusion and equal pay are part of the mantra at BlackCreek Group, a Denver-based developer and investor. The firm’steam-focused approach has created value for stakeholders, drivenfinancial results and fostered health and stability in the company.
It all starts with a progressive policy platform that includes equal
pay through the firm’s pay-for-performance philosophy, but Black
Creek is focused on more than financial incentives. The company
has open communication across departments and career levels to
encourage growth and transparency, and it has a mentorship pro-
gram to help employees achieve their career potential. “I am very
pleased with the company’s internal practices, I believe that the
company operates with full transparency,” Heather Grubbs, man-
aging director and chief marketing officer at Black Creek Group,
says. “Black Creek strives to develop employees both personally and
professionally. Much like other managing directors at the com-
pany, I believe in mentoring those on my team and am dedicated
to providing them growth opportunities both within the company
and their career. On that same line, I maintain an open-door policy
to promote communications with all my colleagues so we can work
in a collaborative manner, which I know is common practice across
Diversity is also a key component of the firm’s culture. The com-
pany launched a network to provide career development opportu-
nities for women in the company and in the business community,
and has adjusted its hiring practices to ensure that it is pooling a
diverse group of candidates for new opportunities. To fuel diversity
among new entrants, the firm has launched an internship platform
with a feeder program to provide real full-time opportunities to
Day-to-day, Black Creek fosters a positive atmosphere throughencouraged collaboration and curated corporate events. “Toencourage employee engagement throughout all departments, thefirm sponsors weekly lunches at all of our offices,” adds CarlisleOlsen, a marketing coordinator at the firm. “This allows employeesto network between departments and understand various teams’responsibilities. Through employee sponsored events like lunchand learns, kickball leagues, holiday gatherings and volunteeropportunities, the company has created a culture of not justemployees, but friends.”
Coastal Ridge Real Estate
In just six short years, multifamily and student housing investorCoastal Ridge Real Estate has grown rapidly to a portfolio of 52assets in 17 states and 500 properties under management. Alongthe way, the company has invested heavily in workplace culture,understanding the important role that the team has played in itssuccess. The company has a full-time culture and engagementmanager, responsible for employee experience and recruiting.Described as “collegial,” the company culture is rooted inemployee feedback and communication, which has led to anemployee perks program, policy changes and new employee benefits. “Coastal Ridge is unlike any other company that I’ve workedfor in that it values and fosters a culture based on honest andopen feedback,” says Ben Texler, partner and president at CoastalRidge Real Estate. “We seek feedback from both internal and