I have chosen to conduct the SWOT analysis of the Human Resources function of my current employer, Jones Lang LaSalle. According to the JLL website, “Jones Lang LaSalle is a financial and professional services firm specializing in commercial real estate services and investment management.”(1) With more than 48,000 employees working in over 1,000 locations in 70 countries worldwide, JLL services clients in the local, regional and global markets.(1) JLL manages over a 2.6 billion square feet and serves more than 500,000 client employees (2) Jones Lang LaSalle is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois with corporate offices located in New York, New York and London, England. The Human Resources function of Jones Lang LaSalle is quite robust. Before the global expansion of JLL client services, JLL had human resources functions that represented the different silos of management that was decentralized by region and operating silo.
Back in the early 2000’s, with a strategic focus in mind, JLL formed what is referred to as “Corporate Solutions”. (3) In doing this, Jones Lang LaSalle would create consistencies with the way they conduct real estate, facilities and financial management services for clients no matter which global region JLL was providing client services. The human resources function also gained efficiencies by forming only one human resources function for these shared services in each JLL global market. This is a great advantage in that these human resources are sharing their experiences in each of these regions to create a diverse, well-fortified human resource management function. With that being said, it is important to understand that there are some documented strengths in this human resources management model, but the model is not perfect. Based on my observations, there are some kinks in the armor. I have put together a SWOT analysis to help paint a picture of the strengths and weaknesses of this human resources management model. Strengths
Creation of global human resource best practices through JLL Corporate Solutions – As previously mentioned, back in the early 2000’s, Jones Lang LaSalle took all real estate, facilities management and financial and investment services and consolidated them into a single silo called Corporate Solutions. (3) Along with these services, the human resource function for Corporate Solutions was also consolidated into a single entity that is comprised of the human resource function from the different regions around the globe that Jones Lang LaSalle operates. These areas include the Americas, Africa and the Middle East, Europe, Asia Pacific and Australia. Human resources in the Corporate Solutions silo now has the ability to take the different information, data and trends from the human resource function from each of these regions and put that information to good use by creating and sharing best practices to put to use in each of the fore mentioned regions. Employee development and career path identification – From my observations in dealing with my director and vice president, Jones Lang LaSalle is a company that prides themselves on employee development and advancement.
This observation is fortified by the Corporate Solutions human resources requirement of completing a 9-blocker for each employee that has been employed by JLL for at least two years. Referred to by some as a “9-box”, this is a talent management exercise to assess an employee’s future potential and career goals within an organization. By completing this exercise, the human resource department as well as company management can identify “keepers”, understand leadership bench strength, understand who should be invested in for development, offer job-related training, and make keep/release decisions on. (4) This provides the human resources at JLL Corporate Solutions an understanding about the career goals and aspirations of the employees as well as understanding which employees should be retained and which employees may be expendable. Meeting business objectives and goals by way of performance appraisals – The JLL human resources department requires that each employee, no matter what level, participate in what we refer to as IPMP’s (Individual Performance Management Program). At the beginning of each year, management is required to sit down with each of their direct reports and complete their IPMP’s for the upcoming year. In these plans, specific and measurable objectives are laid out for each employee by category.
Each category is weighted differently based on importance. Each category is scored on a 1 to 5 scale, 1 being the worst and 5 being the best. Performance appraisals are conducted at the end of the year, with a mid-year review. Depending on your overall score, compensation can be affected by way of raises and bonuses. If scored less than 3, a performance improve plan is worked out between you and your supervisor and the employee has 6 months to correct. If not corrected within that time frame, the supervisor has the right to either terminate the employee or extend the plan based on circumstance. Weaknesses
Mid-level to upper-level employee turnover – I have observed in my 3 years of being employed by JLL, that there is very high turnover at the Director/VP level. I have noticed this not only on my account, but in other accounts as well. In my time on account, I have had three different directors and three vice presidents. All of these personnel changes have come by way of the employee voluntarily leaving for other job opportunities. The changing of the guard can lead to continuity of work issues. Not all managers and executives have the same management styles and ways to go about reaching business goals and objectives. This can lead to employee learning curves and ultimately changing the way you have to complete their work. Not only does the employee suffer, the client can potentially suffer due to the time it can take to learn how to and complete an objective. JLL human resources would be wise to find a way to empower, motivate and compensate mid to upper level management in an effort to retain them longer. Low level employee accessibility to Human Resources – Accessibility to the human resource department at Jones Lang LaSalle proves to be quite a challenge.
I have never met a human resources representative in the three years I have been employed by them. I was interviewed and hired by my former vice president and director. If an employee has a human resource related question, they are referred to an HRM portal on the JLL website where forms and documents can be printed and submitted. There is no clear route of escalation if there are other human resource related issues other than bringing it to the supervisor. Human resource news is relayed to the employees by way of update emails and newsletters. This is a clear disconnect between the employees and human resource department.
Recruiting high value talent from global markets – As previously stated, JLL operates in over 70 countries. (1) In having such a large global footprint, the opportunity to draw from a very large, very diverse pool of potential hires with various expertise, knowledge and background is extremely great. Under the current Corporate Solutions administration, several of the administrators were born and educated outside of the United States, which is where JLL is headquartered (5). The opportunity to hire talent for all employment levels at Jones Lang LaSalle can lead to building an employee base with varying talents and backgrounds can lead to excellent ideas, strategies and ultimately best practices that can be shared throughout all of the Corporate Solutions operations.
Mid to upper level employee retention – According to the JLL newsletters over the past couple of years, the employee turnover at the mid to upper level is quite high. Human resources at the Corporate Solutions level, in my opinion, needs to develop a plan to keep these managers and vice presidents in place for longer than six months to year. A survey conducted by Harris International and Career Building indicated that 35% of folks that completed the survey feel that retention of top management is essential in workplace productivity and employee retention. Perhaps offering stock options or a different bonus/compensation structure would be in order in an attempt to keep this level engaged and wanting to stay. Threats
Industry competition – As I’ve indicated before, I have experienced high turnover in the middle to upper level management in the past three years, which has an effect of lower level workers such as myself. Each of the directors or vice presidents that have left have gone to one of several competitors of Jones Lang LaSalle. The closest competitors to JLL are CBRE, Collier International, Cushman & Wakefield, and Newark, Grubb, Knight and Frank, all of which operate in the same or similar markets as JLL. (7) It would be incumbent on the human resources department to perhaps survey middle and upper management with a separate survey to take their temperature to gain an understanding of their satisfaction and perhaps change benefits and compensation structure or other categories such as company culture that would improve their satisfaction and entice them to stick around.
It is evident to me that Jones Lang LaSalle is a powerhouse in the real estate, financial and facilities management support services industry. They have access to international recruitment markets and take advantage of it by hiring the best and the brightest. But, it is also evident that JLL may
need to address mid to upper level management retention as the turnover tends to be very high. As I’ve stated in the “Threats” section, the human resources department may want to consider different avenues to understand the wants and needs of this employee level. If retention can be improved, groundwork can be laid for maintaining an international strategic focus with sound experience at this level.
2.http://www.joneslanglasalle.com/Philadelphia/en-us/Pages/Facility-Management.aspx 3.http://hbr.org/web/special-collections/insight/customers/silo-busting-how-to-execute-on-the-promise-of-customer-focus 4.http://cgconsultinggroup.net/blog/how-to-use-a-9-box-talent-management-model-to-assess-your-future-potential/ 5.http://www.us.jll.com/united-states/en-us/about/global-management 6.http://blog.nectir.com/employee-retention-the-key-to-productivity-and-growth/ 7.http://financials.morningstar.com/competitors/industry-peer.action?t=JLL