A People Person Finds His Niche at Prologis
Head of Global Talent
Denver, United States
As our global head of talent, Derek Johnson leads Prologis’ front half of the employee lifecycle, which includes talent acquisition, onboarding, employer branding and North American facilities. We sat down with Derek to learn about how Prologis leads through its people.
PLD Communications Team: Let’s start with the basics: background, education, credentials, accreditations, special skill sets?
Derek: I have a Bachelor of Arts in both management and marketing from Drake University, as well as a master’s in history from the University of Mississippi. I’ve earned certifications as a Senior Professional in Human Resources from HRCI and the Society for Human Resource Management – Senior Certified Professional. Before joining Prologis, I led Human Resources for Muve Health, a Kansas City-based startup. I have 10+ years of experience in “people talent”—attracting, developing, managing and retaining top-quality professionals. I also spent time crafting my skills at Google, Return Path and CH2M Hill, and as a consultant for several technology-focused startups globally.
PLD Communications Team: Attracting top talent is key to any company’s success. What about Prologis attracted you, and how does our commitment to embracing change and our increasing focus on customer centricity drive your work?
Derek: My passion lays in building a scalable, inclusive institutional culture where human resources is a strategic advocate in today’s global workforce. I joined Prologis to help the company re-engineer the culture for the future. As we continue to push for more innovation, my role helps to ensure we are hiring the right people and adapting our work environments to be competitive. Over the years, we’ve maintained a sense of humility regarding our culture externally but socializing our employer brand communicates that Prologis is a good employer and a phenomenal place to work. For me, it’s invigorating to be at a company that pushes to be better than it was six months ago. Sharing more of those stories externally helps our overall perception during recruitment of new employees, as well as retention and engagement of current employees.
PLD Communications Team: What makes your work rewarding to as it relates to the company's growth?
Derek: It’s fun! No day is the same. You have to be a people person, as my customers are our current and future employees. We're a global company with a worldwide customer base, and we have to make sure our employees are relatable to every one of our customers. We won't be able to innovate fast enough if we’re all cut from the same cloth. This takes effort from an inclusion and diversity standpoint, and recruiting can be the biggest needle mover.
PLD Communications Team: What’s your elevator pitch?
Derek: We all are tasked with recruiting at Prologis. It's baked into all of our roles to want to work alongside hungry, happy and humble people. My part sets the strategy as to how we convert leads into hires and create an experience when they arrive. We all have to create an experience for people to want to join and stay. If things are great, share them!
PLD Communications Team: How does a company become a true “talent magnet”?
Derek: Companies must have the courage and tenacity to talk to their employees at every level. Prologis is committed to this mindset—we talk about our wins and losses, how we want to improve and what it takes to do that, and the changes we’re making to help grow our employees. It’s about transparency and trust.
PLD Communications Team: Outside of work?
Derek: I’m a mentor for a number of youth nonprofits in Denver. And, I really love family, sports and cooking and try to tie all of these together with my smoker year-round.