Shopping Center Business

MAY 2016

Shopping Center Business is the leading monthly business magazine for the retail real estate industry.

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INNOVATION 274 • SHOPPING CENTER BUSINESS • May 2016 C reating and maintaining culture in a company is one of the most difficult aspects that CEOs strug- gle with on a regular basis. Shopping center owner Phillips Edison & Compa- ny (PECO) has always made culture part of the forefront of its efforts, even when the company had 20 associates. With five regional offices, and approximately 300 associates, Phillips Edison has chal- lenged itself over the years to have a co- hesive culture. The company has doubled in size every three years for the past 25 years, and creating a strong culture was important to its founders and top exec- utives. Part of the company's culture has always been to engage associates in the company's growth. Over the years, it has worked internally and with external con- sultants to create programs that recognize and incentivize associates. Over the past few years, the company has had success with two new programs it has launched: PECO Innovation Labs and PECO NOW (Networking Opportunity for Women). Phillips Edison launched its PECO Innovation Labs program to foster and experiment with new ideas from asso- ciates. These ideas can be implemented company-wide if they do well in the exper- imental phase. PECO NOW is a program that encourages the company to hire and mentor more women in the industry, as well as promote more women to higher levels in the company. The initiative has had great success within Phillips Edison, and also has broader implications for the shopping center industry. Shopping Center Business recently in- terviewed Jeff Edison, founder, principal and CEO of Phillips Edison, on the two programs, and how he feels they are driv- ing PECO — and the industry — forward. SCB: Why were you inspired to create programs that drove growth and inno- vation from associates in your company? Edison: First, I should say that both of these programs were outcomes of initia- tives we already had inside our business. Four years ago, we looked at our organi- zation and realized that we needed more cross-functional thinking. We had a lot of people thinking within their silos — leas- ing, accounting, etc. — but not thinking cross-functionally. Secondly, we needed to have innovation more ingrained into our way of thinking. We were getting re- ally good at doing the exact same things over and over. In order to get better, we needed to encourage more innovative thinking inside the organization. We took a number of steps to try to get that to work over a few years. The idea of cre- ating innovation labs came from those ex- periments. We created a group of people from different functions and gave them a problem to think about. Tech companies do this quite a bit — they gather groups and have these jam sessions on the side to solve an issue. We thought we would try that in the real estate business. We set up a very specific program for it and it has turned out to be a huge success for us. Taking Charge Phillips Edison & Co. creates new programs to empower employees and make better business decisions. Randall Shearin PECO NOW holds events for women in the company. Pictured are participants in a golf scramble the program held. Employees participate in PECO's frst Innovation Lab.

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