Why Companies Should Invest In A Chief Learning Officer
In the race for innovation and success, companies are relying on their strongest asset: their people.
Hiring top talent is only part of the battle. Training and investing in employees’ futures brings value to businesses and improves employee loyalty and retention.
As Franklin Street’s chief learning and development officer, Brad Robinson leads the charge in developing the commercial real estate company’s young talent. Robinson works with hires and mentors to develop educational content, map career growth and define their purposes within the business. He has more than 20 years of experience in commercial real estate, including operations, business development, strategic planning, agent recruitment and training.
“It takes a fair amount of developing and training when someone joins the team before they can add value to the client and the firm," Robinson said. "My job is to make sure those career paths are provided, as well as to oversee the younger people and their mentors. I ensure that our people are developing in a timely manner through learning and mentorship."
As one of the fastest-growing real estate firms in the Southeast, Franklin Street has expanded rapidly this past year, adding close to 100 new team members. Members of the company take pride in their collaborative environment and recruit individuals who value their team philosophy.
The company often hires talented individuals fresh out of college based on their cultural fit. Robinson acts as a cross between a talent manager and a coach. He is involved in the development of an education plan that gets new talent up to speed on the ins and outs of commercial real estate. Robinson also provides the tools they need to succeed in the business and the mentorship that helps new hires envision their career trajectories.
Following the training process, these recruits end up becoming valuable players. They also stay with the company longer, he said.
“Young people come in, and they want to know what the career path is to succeed,” Robinson said. “We bring someone in and tell them, ‘OK, this is what you are going to learn for the first six months, six through 12, 12 through 24.'"
Trainees pay it forward once they become seasoned professionals, acting as mentors for the next generation. Franklin Street also encourages continued education. Robinson works with employees who, after several years of experience under their belts, are ready to move into leadership and management positions.
Technology has also played a role in the education process. Robinson worked with Franklin Street Chief Information Officer Tom Rybak to identify a learning management system that allows employees continuous access to comprehensive learning tools, on multiple devices. This allows individuals to complete training sessions at their own pace and in their own time. Rybak and Robinson work together to identify and develop learning content for the technical training curriculum.
Fostering a client-focused approach to sales is one of the most important skills young hires can learn, Robinson said. In an industry that depends on relationships to drive deals, learning how to become a collaborative service provider is par for the course.
For Robinson, investing in a team that understands that mission from day one is critical to building Franklin Street’s reputation as one of the most comprehensive service providers in the industry. While he is currently focused on rolling out educational content to members of the sales team and the sales support staff, Robinson is also expanding training to all of Franklin Street's departments.
“We are only as good as our people,” Robinson said. “Getting employees to align with the company’s mission and values will enable us to continue to offer an outstanding level of service to our customers. Systematically developing those people with an eye toward the future will also help us expand our current footprint.”
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