LaSalle Investment Management does not stray far from its property roots. Each of the conference rooms in its Chicago headquarters is named for an architect.
Sitting in the Frank Lloyd Wright conference room, Americas CEO Jason Kern — who only joined LaSalle on July 1 — said a few of the things that drew him to the job was the firm's ethics, integrity and collegiality. Mr. Kern had been a managing director and head of Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corp.'s Asia-Pacific real estate and lodging advisory group.
Although LaSalle is a big-city firm, with more than 700 employees worldwide and headquarters in the heart of Chicago's Loop, it has a “small-town feel,” Mr. Kern said.
“Employees at all levels have full access to the leaders of the business, all the way to the very top, and our leaders know and have dialogue with people deep into the organization, not just the top 1%.” he explained.
LaSalle's top executives strive to set a collegial tone, added Darline Scelzo, managing director, global head of human resources at LaSalle and a 20-year LaSalle veteran.
That came through in employee responses to Pensions & Investments' Best Places to Work in Money Management survey, where a number wrote about the “family atmosphere.”
“Collaborative culture where everyone is 'on the same team,'” noted one employee in response to a question asking for the one best thing about working at LaSalle. “I like the people that I work with, probably is a result of the collaborative culture, but it is a relaxed and fun environment.”
Added Mr. Kern: “There are no Machiavellian behaviors tolerated, as you might have in a lot of other investment management firms.”
Ms. Scelzo clearly is proud of LaSalle's benefits package, which includes quality-of-life options such as emergency babysitting and adoption assistance.
LaSalle human resources executives also lever the large corporate relationships of LaSalle's parent company, real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle Inc., to offer discounts to employees on everything from cars and laptops to appliances.
“We are family orientated,” she said.
The firm's hours are flexible; not everyone has a 9-to-5 day, every day.
“This does not mean people have shorter hours,” Ms Scelzo said. “It does mean that you can leave at 3 p.m. to attend your child's soccer game and finish up later in the evening ... You have to trust your people to do that. The idea that you have to be in the office 15 hours a day to be contributing, that's not part of our culture.”
Indeed, a number of employees mentioned the “work-life balance” in their survey responses.
LaSalle executives work to keep the lines of communication open, so employees know how they are doing year round, not just at the annual performance evaluation, Ms. Scelzo said. In the annual reviews, employees are ranked by their performance, as well as their potential.
Summing the best things about working at LaSalle, one employee wrote, “1. People ... and the securities group leadership. 2. Culture. 3. Having flexibility to balance work-life; being motivated and inspired to work hard, and to be well rewarded for it.”