According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor, the typical employee remains with a company for an average of four years. At Steelcase, we pride ourselves on our positive corporate culture that has attracted and retained talent over the years. In some cases, we’ve had employees remain with the company for a decade or more. This includes our CEO, Jim Hackett, who has been with Steelcase since 1981 and in his current role since 1994.
Over his tenure with our company, Jim has grown the business and championed innovative programs that allowed Steelcase to reach its 100th anniversary with great momentum. Within the past few weeks, Jim has shared insight into today’s work environment, his leadership style, and his vision for the company through interviews with Forbes, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
We wanted to share a few excerpts from these articles and encourage you to leave any thoughts or questions in the comments section below.
“Steelcase is in the business of creating work environments, offering workplace products, furnishings and services. As CEO Jim Hackett explained in a recent interview, workspace design historically mirrored the organizational chart, with people jockeying to be as close as possible to the seat of all power – the CEO. But now that information revolution has made information the new seat of power, there is much more flexibility in workspace design. Thus, as Hackett explained, the workspace of the future needs to enable and empower information (across) a continuum of “I” and “we” work. People need a range of settings to accommodate focused, collaborative and social work in both open and enclosed environments – in other words, a palette of place.”
“That’s what leadership is for — to look at the chaos and provide a point of view about what needs to be done. At the highest levels of leadership, I’ve seen people who are not comfortable with setting the point of view, and there are others who are extraordinarily gifted at doing this, and people want to work for them. […] It’s this notion of authenticity — that’s what people look for and respect and want to follow. Bob Pew, who ran the company for 30 years, was chairman when I became C.E.O. He said to me, ‘I’m going to give you one bit of advice, which is that if you want to lead others, you’ve got to have their trust, and you can’t have their trust without integrity.’”
“Steelcase, which turns 100 years old this year, tries to anticipate trends by observing people at work. Its 23-person research team, which includes an anthropologist, conducts interviews and surveys, films office activities and uses sensors to measure workers’ use of various rooms and furnishings. One area for growth, says Mr. Hackett, is collaboration via videoconferencing. The company has also developed an electronic device that enables workers in a meeting to share notes and data on a video screen.”