How we are leading our people through COVID-19
From our Chief People Officer, Stephanie Biernbaum
- Safely operating at the workplace: Our teams
that are physically in the workplace complete daily symptom checks, and
in the event of suspected exposure or symptoms are referred to
telehealth triage, provided with COVID-19 testing, and guided through
contact tracing and care management by our Human Resources team and
dedicated third-party care management providers. We’ve significantly
enhanced the cleaning, density management, diagnostic, and PPE
capabilities within our spaces. Click here
to read more about how we’ve enhanced building safety and health
protocols for our tenants and employees. Any employee with an underlying
health condition that puts them at higher risk, or if they are without
adequate childcare due to school or daycare closures—those employees can
continue working from home.
- Mental as well as physical health:
Regardless of where an employee is working, we recognize that mental
health is a broad concern during such uncertain times. We’ve increased
our mental health support resources for employees, including targeted
support for working parents and team leaders, and are pleased to see
continued strong employee sentiment about the mental and physical
resources they receive from Hines.
Hines has always said that employees are our most valued assets, and the challenges presented by the pandemic have only deepened our commitment to being an exceptional workplace that brings out the best in our people and makes positive contributions to our communities. We see 2020 and 2021-to-date as a time when our values are on display like no other. Employee pulse surveys consistently show strong employee morale and confidence in the firm, while also enabling us to directly target any relative areas for improvement as external challenges evolve.
After the initial lockdowns, we made a decision to return employees to the workplace gradually, in phases, to balance the needs for employee safety, continued best-in-class service delivery for our tenants, partners, and investors, and the local conditions in each geography.
Chief People Officer, Stephanie Biernbaum
- Culture and employee engagement: We’ve run
extensive virtual programming, ranging from global town halls, to
coaching and education sessions led by external experts, to social hours
to keep our teams connected, keep relationships strong, and build new
skills for personal resilience.
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: In
2020 we watched and reacted to unspeakable acts of violence in our
communities in the US, and our own Hines community reacted with empathy,
education, and action. In addition to our public statements, we engaged internal teams in support forums
and numerous externally-led learning sessions. We also doubled down on
employee volunteerism, firm philanthropy focused on racial justice, and
pro-bono community education initiatives that increase the diverse
representation of the commercial real estate industry. Our ongoing
commitment to these efforts is unwavering.
- Continued talent development and growth: We
recognize that COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted specific groups
of people, and want to ensure ALL of our people are continuing to grow
and flourish in their careers despite challenges of remote work,
childcare disruption, and health concerns. In 2020 we launched new
talent initiatives to support growth, mobility, inclusion, and
flexibility for our people, most of which were planned prior to 2020, to
ensure every employee has an equitable shot at growth and contribution
at our firm.
- Ways of working that maximize effectiveness:
Through quantitative and qualitative data gleaned from our own
employees, we’ve established a fact base on which types of work, and
which teams, are more effective from the physical office and which are
more effective working remotely. We also support teams on daily work
norms for maximizing the hybrid work environment, leveraging analytics
to understand drivers of effectiveness, and continually evolve our ways
- The next level of wellness in the built environment:
Our Operations and Innovation teams are leading the industry in
standards and technology for indoor air quality, space design that
improves wellness outcomes, and analytically-informed building
sustainability. We’ve partnered with the Mayo Clinic’s WELL Living Lab
and other partners on research and development for exciting new
innovations in ventilation, surface cleaning, and behavioral
interventions for controlling the spread of COVID-19.
- Demonstrating our tenant value proposition with our own offices:
We are preparing for two major headquarter moves in 2022: our global
headquarters will move to newly built space in Texas Tower in downtown
Houston, and our European headquarters will move to newly repositioned
space in Grain House in London. These new spaces will embody our
learnings and house view on how a leading-edge, post-pandemic workplace
can be designed and operated to maximize employee safety, engagement,
wellness, and performance.