Careers

Creating Culture and Connectivity

Sergio, Latin America country operations leader in Mexico City, Mexico, navigates varied customs, languages, and economics to help more than 2,500 employees across 33 countries to build a sense of community and connectivity.

September 15, 2023 3 Minute Read

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There’s no one-size-fits-all approach in Latin America. Our region contains 33 countries with different customs, legislation, languages and economies. So, building a sense of community and shared corporate culture for our people is crucial—and can be a challenge.
When Sergio was asked in 2019 to lead CBRE’s Latin America operations for GWS, he thought he knew what to expect in those first few years. “We’ve got about 2,500 employees across a broad geography, many sitting within our client spaces who don’t even use CBRE computers or email addresses. It’s my job to connect them with our company, processes and best practices. But there’s no one-size-fits-all approach in Latin America. Our region contains 33 countries with different customs, legislation, languages and economies. So, building a sense of community and shared corporate culture for our people was crucial—and a challenge.”

Sergio worked closely with his team and relied heavily on technology like Engage, an internal social networking service designed to help employees connect with each other. “It’s a CBRE-sanctioned platform, so we encouraged people to share ideas and information freely, and not just about work. We also started emailing employees on their work anniversaries and birthdays. And we launched a monthly newsletter with details about people, resources and functions in all areas of the company—including some they didn’t know existed—and a heavy focus on our RISE values. These initiatives really helped create that shared CBRE experience.”

Once Sergio laid the groundwork for improved communication, he built on that. “I converted my ‘Speaking with Sergio’ tour into virtual events. I traveled so much in those first months that I’d begun gathering 10-15 people at each stop to ask me anything about the company, our business or my professional experience. It became an important mentoring tool that I wanted to expand, so we moved them to Zoom so everyone could watch. I also created new calls where I’d invite my friends in various professions to speak. They became a fun and informative way for us to engage and learn.”

Sergio is beginning the next phase of his mission: embracing and building diversity in the workforce. “We still have too few women in our business, so we’re piloting an apprenticeship program with some Mexico universities to bring more women into tech roles at CBRE. The program is under way in Chile right now and we already have more woman technicians. We’re also working with a placement organization for people with disabilities to fill open positions across the region with more diverse candidates.

“We’re a small, unique subset of CBRE’s workforce with qualities that may not exist in other regions, but we’re fortunate to work for a company of this scale that has the mindset and resources to both celebrate our differences and support our needs.”

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