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Since the birth of the first riveted blue jeans 143 years ago, originality has been a core value at Levi Strauss & Co – with the belief that innovation keeps it ahead of competition.
According to Karthik Sarma, the VP of human resources for Asia, Middle East and Africa at Levi Strauss & Co, innovation is at the heart of everything the company does.
“We have 18 nationalities working in the Singapore HQ, and with such a diverse workforce, it is critical to provide employees with an interactive open-plan workplace which fosters innovation in the way we cater to our consumers, tackle challenges and nurture a culture of being expressive yet accountable,” he said.
As such, when moving into its new Singapore headquarters, Levi’s made it a priority to have an open working environment which allows collaboration.
“The working environment includes open collaboration areas for maximising creativity and teamwork as we believe that an engaging atmosphere, culture, connectivity and flexibility are the key to increasing overall productivity.”
Productivity is often correlated with concentration and wellbeing. Hence, to enhance employees’ overall wellbeing and mental concentration, all employees’ desks are height-adjustable.
Additionally, an open office creates multiple opportunities for interaction and collaboration.
“We certainly don’t want our office colleagues to be bound to their desks all day. As we drive a culture of performance, ‘how’ goals are achieved is just as important to us.”
In line with this, the firm has placed a focus on creating a workspace with ample meeting rooms and phone booths, and a large eat-in pantry area.
The workspace also sports a table tennis table for employees to enjoy a more social environment to engage with one another so as to come back to work feeling reinvigorated.
Another key priority is engagement.
“Engagement is a key priority at Levi Strauss and we must engage the hearts and minds of our employees. Research shows that an engaged employee usually demonstrates a consistently high performance, is innovative and has a drive for efficiency.”
As such, the firm showcases its signature products – such as the original 501 blue jeans as well as the Levi’s trucker jacket – throughout the office along with a short history.
This helps its employees better understand the Levi’s brand, and instilling in them a feeling of pride working in a company with a rich heritage.
When it comes to moving or refurbishing offices, Sarma advises companies to involve employees in the process.
“It is critical to listen to your employees and to understand their requirements in order to create an environment where both they and the business will thrive.”
Since employees spend the greatest part of their working day in the office, it is crucial this working environment provides them inspiration to enable them to give their best performance.
“The work environment should connect them with what the company does and what their consumers experience.”
Levi’s does so by having a retail design lab complete with mannequins and product displays as well as having the marketing slogan – “Live in Levi’s” – written out in neon lights at the reception area.
Sarma points out that another essential element when moving offices is constant communication.
“Keeping employees informed with regular communications ensures they are involved in the process, making the transition that much smoother.”
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