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Culture club.

What do you love about your job? The challenge, the camaraderie, personal development? Companies would love to know how these intangibles--the things they can't control once they square away pay and benefits--make workers stick around and grow. We decided the best thing to do was ask people: job-seekers, working professionals, management experts, and companies themselves. The result was our first-ever Most-Respected Employers survey, and the results were fascinating.

General Motors, for instance, digs deep. They hold informal chats with hourly workers nearly every day of the week. At American Airlines, managers swap jobs. And at Nestle, our No. 1 pick among pollees, nobody gets into a rut: Managers are on the move around the globe.

In the end, it has to do with culture: appealing to people's better, more-productive selves, and helping them grow into that person, management at our featured companies told us. In the end, all of the good things a company needs to happen--creativity, energy, reaching goals--flows from that. And it's the only thing a company can't buy in a box or steal from a competitor.

Our other big focus, as this year ends, is a new beginning. As 2005 dawns, China will be bearing down on a lot of the world's low-end producers as long-enforced trade barriers with the United States fall at last. They're feeling it in Mexico, and you can bet they're working hard in Central America to get ready for the crunch.

Textile producers across the isthmus are worried, but much more so they are taking action. They're looking for the way to take advantage of their speed to market, thanks to geographic closeness to their biggest buyer, the United States. We talked with El Salvador's Economy Minister, too, about turning things around.

Finally, rip up this magazine. Seriously, tear out the pages of our holiday gift guide. Tape them to your computer screen or stuff them in the briefcase for your next trip. Shopping couldn't be any simpler

--Greg Brown

P.S. Hilton, one of world's biggest hotel brands, should be limping along with the airlines, right? Not so, says Hilton President Dieter Huckestein. Things are looking up, he says. (Page 15)
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Copyright 2004, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Editor's Note
Author:Brown, Greg
Publication:Latin Trade
Article Type:Editorial
Geographic Code:0LATI
Date:Dec 1, 2004
Previous Article:Bravo!
Next Article:Walk the walk.

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