General Motors is working to bring its facilities into the modern age in an effort to attract top talent from around the world, and compete with Silicon Valley. Through this initiative, the Warren Tech Center has received $1 billion from GM to execute a transformation.
The Detroit News went into the rehab’s progress, documenting what has changed with employees and culture. Notably, cubicles are out, and open work spaces are in. Despite studies showing decreased productivity and increased sick day usage, the open spaces prevail, with one employee stating a greater sense of community around the office.
“I do feel a new sense of community that I didn’t truly expect or anticipate,” said Melinda Gray, who has worked for GM nearly 16 years as a mechanical systems engineer.
The Tech Center does employ private rooms for focus, or to make phone calls to break up the open concepts, however.
The effort to change corporate culture is a big one while GM continues to hire new talent. At present, 750 new employees have joined the 21,000 already housed in the Tech Center. When all is said and done, 2,600 new employees will join the automaker’s workforce at the facility.
“Moving the equipment around doesn’t change the culture,” said Ken Kelzer, vice president of global vehicle components and subsystems for the carmaker, and an executive overseeing the Tech Center’s transformation project. “But what it does is, it changes the behavior of how people operate.”
Construction will continue through 2018, which includes a new parking deck, information technology center and a research and development center.