Having already hired 1,400, GE's new operations center Downtown looks to hire 400 more

Diversity, open workspaces part of site's culture

CINCINNATI -- The new GE Global Operations Center at The Banks is on track to hire about 400 additional professionals by end of this year.

As of May, GE had hired about 1,400, with the goal of hiring a total of 1,800 at the 12-story office building between the Reds and Bengals stadiums downtown.

The Global Operations Center opened in October 2016 as home to GE's multifunctional shared services organization. It supports the company's finance/accounting, human resources, information technology, supply chain, legal and commercial operations, and is one of GE's four multifunctional shared services centers worldwide in Pudong, China; Budapest, Hungary; and Monterrey, Mexico.

The new operations center is estimated to contribute $1 billion of annual economic impact to Cincinnati by 2018, according to the University of Cincinnati Economics Center.

The GE center has a variety of professional job openings such as marketing campaign manager, accounts payable analyst, attorney, operations engineer and software architect, to name a few. The company recruits mostly on LinkedIn.com but also has the job openings posted on its website.

Because Cincinnati is not a well-known destination internationally like New York, Chicago or San Francisco, GE officials initially had concerns that the city would not be appealing to professionals from around the world, spokesperson Arti Johri said. That original concern has not been a problem thus far.

"We are having great success with finding new hires locally and from across the country and worldwide," Johri, who moved from London to Cincinnati six years ago, said. "I've never lived in the U.S. before; Cincinnati has been great so far."

The center has grown into one of the most diverse office work environments in Cincinnati. Women comprise half the workforce, and its downtown employees can lay claim to 21 nationalities and 25 spoken languages. In 2016, 12 percent of the new hires were veterans, with veterans making up 8 percent of all current employees at the center, Johri said.

Getting hired at GE in Cincinnati opens the door to a broad range of worldwide careers at the company, Johri said. GE Global Operations is one of the talent pipelines for GE with full access to all of GE's training and development programs while giving employees all the benefits of working for a company that invests $1 billion a year on training and development programs worldwide, Johri said.

The GE center at the Banks features open workspaces where employees can easily collaborate, including a mix of huddle spaces and workstations with floor-to-ceiling windows providing wide views of the Cincinnati riverfront and downtown. No one has an office with a door, including top management, Johri said. The open environment is meant to communicate an atmosphere of inclusion and equality rather than management hierarchy.

Flexible workspaces support GE's culture of FastWorks and Lean program, a business operations strategy that allows a large company like GE to organize business units that can operate like a startup, maintaining close relationship with customers to develop new products, and reduce bureaucracy by allowing teams to make decisions on their own. This approach creates buy-in from each employee and has cut down time and money on the development of new products or services, Johri said.

GE offers employees flexible work arrangements, and support for working parents. The company also offers many programs and resources to support employees, including financial management, family counseling and more.

"We have a lot of millennials here who want to work in a flexible environment," Johri said. "For example, our dress code is really relaxed. We have people come to work in shorts and flip flops."

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