Innovation event reveals local companies' success secrets

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An event focusing on workplace culture took place in Naperville Thursday night. (WLS)

An event focusing on workplace culture embedded in creativity, innovative thinking and problem solving took place in Naperville Thursday night.

The event, called Invitation to Innovate, brought together some of Chicago's top CEOs to share insight about how they create a place people want to work at.

Corporate America has come a long way from what it used to be. Companies are embracing a more casual dress code, have lattes in the office, and pride themselves on flexibility.

Chuck Allen is the co-chair of Crowe Horwath International, an accounting firm found in South Bend and headquartered in Chicago. With 3,600 employees, Allen said giving employees a choice in workplace culture keeps them engaged.

"Our people can work from really anywhere they want and they have a choice," he said.

More than 200 companies who have won a Chicago Innovation Award for being engaged are still in business, and 36 of those companies have been acquired for an exit value of $76 billion.

"Companies with highly engaged people, companies that are innovative do well financially," said Allen.

Molex in Lisle is another company pushing the envelope. They have a gym onsite, but for the electronic component company with 44,000 employees, "connecting" is their top priority.

"We're going out looking for the best talent," said Brian Krause, VP of Global Marketing at Molex. "We talk about where they see themselves today and where they can go in the future with the company."

It's the best kept secret all top companies know, how to keep employees engaged.

Innovation to Innovate will take place at 6 p.m. at the Hotel Arista in Naperville.
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