The product names aren't all that's unusual at Ikea North America. Pernille Spiers-Lopez, the Danish-born president of the mushrooming home furnishings chain, is making her company a hotbed of high-yield humanism.
Beset by rising insurance costs, Union Pacific employs semi-tough love to improve the health of its mostly middle-aged, blue collar workforce. While some companies take a no-prisoners approach, UP chooses to nudge, encourage and prod its employees to good health. And it's saving millions.
Corporate America spent $10 billion on tuition reimbursement in 2003, but few companies track how those dollars are spent, or know whether they are getting any benefit by underwriting employees' degrees. It's not that ROI can't be measured. It's just that many companies don't seem to care about it.
Human resources was asleep at the switch when greed and fraud torpedoed Tyco. Laurie Siegel, the company's post-scandal senior vice-president of human resources, is in charge of making up for lost trust. She has taken on the daunting task with eyes wide open.
For shell-shocked employees, the good-humored Higgins is less a law enforcement officer than a heartening symbol of MCI’s potential revival. She is not only a vital member of the team of top executives trying to nurse a once-strong company back to health, she represents much of what was missing at WorldCom.