Jones Lang LaSalle was formed in 1999 by the merger of LaSalle Partners Inc. and Jones Lang Wootton. The company provides integrated real estate and investment management expertise on a local, regional, and global level to owner, tenant, and investor clients. JLL is a leading property and corporate facility management services firm, with a portfolio of more than 1.0 billion sf worldwide. In 2006, the firm completed capital markets sales and acquisitions, debt financings, and equity placements on assets and portfolios valued at $70.9 billion. It has 25,500 employees in 150 offices worldwide and operates in 450 cities in more than 50 countries.
Over the past three years, Jones Lang LaSalle has doubled its annual revenue, to $2.0 billion in 2006. Last year, it added 363 people (200 of them project managers) in the U.S., bringing its U.S. workforce to 4,100, including 900 PMs. Growth has come in part from five recent acquisitions, notably that of Spaulding & Slye, which strengthened JLL’s hand in the Boston and Washington, D.C., corporate and investor real estate markets. Just last month, the firm announced that it will acquire one of the leading independent property advisors in the Netherlands, Troostwijk Makelaars. All told, JLL now manages some $40.6 billion worth of property.
In the past year, the firm was named to Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” and Forbes’s “400 Best Big Companies” lists.
One reason for the firm’s success is its G5 program, which focuses on five strategies: strengthening local and regional operations, building a global corporate solutions service line, developing a global capital markets service line, maximizing the value of LaSalle Investment Management, and creating a world standard infrastructure.
But the company has also flourished thanks to the successful application of management methods not common to the real estate management industry. JLL has been using Six Sigma, the quality management system developed by Motorola, since 2003. This has allowed the firm to communicate better with its clients, many of whom have used Six Sigma for decades, while also helping the firm standardize its processes, save time and money, and make more fact-based decisions.
Since implementing Six Sigma, Jones Lang LaSalle has improved its project cycle times by 30%, boosted call center productivity by 40%, and enhanced management labor requirements by 25-30%.
What makes Jones Lang LaSalle even more unusual is that the firm holds itself to a performance-based reward system. JLL teams work with their clients to develop Critical Performance Indicators (such as asset reliability, corporate risk management, and community relations management) and Key Performance Indicators (e.g., customer satisfaction, optimizing the workplace, best-in-class operational quality). JLL is compensated for its services in part on how well its teams meet these goals.
One year after winning the assignment to manage Procter & Gamble’s worldwide office and research facilities, for example, JLL achieved 78% of its KPIs and 100% of its CPIs. Spending on real estate operations came in $1 million under budget, and JLL’s sourcing relationships resulted in $800,000 in savings for P&G—a portion of which was returned to JLL as part of its contract with P&G.
Improvement plus empowerment
Throughout its recent growth period, JLL has been diligent in meeting the needs of its people. The firm recognizes that employees should set improvement goals for themselves, but that the company has an obligation to help employees meet those goals by providing training and benefits.
A key aspect of the firm’s culture is the Individual Performance Management Plan, which carries the philosophy inherent in JLL’s performance-based contract system over to the individual employee. The IPMP program combines individual, employee-designed performance metrics with a system that ties the completion of these goals to the employee’s yearly bonus rate. Bonuses can range from 5-20%, depending on performance.
To empower employees to meet their professional goals, JLL offers more than 100 education and training options. Professional staff members average about 35 hours a year in supplemental training, while engineering and operations staff log up to 80 hours each per year. This time is spent in an employee-directed program that combines training manuals, self-study, and lunchtime webcast training sessions. The topics for these webcasts usually come from employee suggestions.
JLL offers more than 100 education and training options.
Employees’ voices are also heard through the firm’s use of 360-degree reviews, in which managers undergo a yearly performance review that includes confidential feedback from their direct reports. This is done through a survey conducted by an outside third-party firm, which collects and collates information provided anonymously by the manager’s subordinates. This process ensures that a manager’s skill sets and possible problem areas that might be missed or overlooked in a review by a superior may still be identified.
The firm also makes extensive use of surveys and focus groups. More importantly, management actually implements many of the ideas it picks up from these sessions. For example, the results of a 2006 survey prompted the firm to switch healthcare providers. Another survey convinced managers in the Chicago office to renew the lease on its current location in the Aon Building—near ample public transportation, with a view of Lake Michigan—rather than moving to a building in the West Loop.
Employee input also led to a major redesign of the Chicago workspace. Six-foot-high cubicle walls were lowered so that employees could interact more easily with each other. More to the point, private offices were moved to the inner core, so that more employees could have access to natural light and views of the outdoors.
Finally, JLL is dedicated to making sure that its employees receive ample recognition for their contributions to the firm. The company offers several in-house honors, including the Jones Lang LaSalle Club and the Da Vinci Award, that honor employee creativity and commitment. Any staff member can nominate another for a Very Impressive Performance award, which acknowledges individual exemplary work performance or contribution to the company’s spirit and culture. More than 500 VIP awards are given every year, with each recipient earning a gift card.