A guest post by Stan Duncan, Senior Executive Vice President of U.S. Human Resources and Global Head of Management for Westfield, LLC. Below is an excerpt of my thoughts on human resources and performance management at Westfield from “Evolution and Future of HR: 1986-2014″ by Lindsey Long.
Perspectives From the Field
Stan Duncan was the first of three members to provide insight into human resources evolution. As the Senior Executive Vice President of Human Resources and the Global Head of Management & Organizational Development for Westfield Group, Mr. Duncan provided a summary of human resources and performance management at Westfield, the world’s largest retail real estate company.
Westfield, while very successful, faces significant growth challenges due to changes in the world’s economy and changes in the way people approach shopping, as fewer people shop in traditional malls since the proliferation of web-based retail. Mr. Duncan explained that in order to compete, shopping centers must provide a valuable experience for the customer, the communities they serve, and must also make use of new technology and consumer buying trends. For example, Westfield is the first in the industry to offer a mobile app to navigate the mall and get store coupons.
Westfield also presented its journey with performance management. Mr. Duncan explained that turnover at Westfield is very low, which on one hand shows positive employee engagement, but on the other may make it more difficult for new fresh talent to join with the skills and competencies that ensure ongoing growth and commercial innovation. This can be a challenge in any organization where loyalty is culturally important: it may be difficult to strike the balance between rewarding loyalty and recruiting outsiders.
In addition, like many corporations, Westfield faces challenges in moving from a vertical to a horizontal organization. In the vertical model, there is typically a clear career ladder; while in a horizontal model growth is offered up through the organization as well as laterally and cross-functionally. For some organizations this presents a new mindset around talent management and career progression. Westfield is proactively addressing this through the design and implementation of performance acceleration programs and new team structures that support these career paths.