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Commercial Real Estate
Jun 18, 2018

The Power of Learning and Development

Sponsored Content provided by Rob Beale - Vice President, Carolinas Division, W.M. Jordan Company

Attracting and retaining good employees is vital to the health of any successful business.

Guiding the cycle of continual improvement through training and skill development is invaluable. With the help of our Learning and Development Director, Claire McCleery, I have some tips to help integrate corporate training into your business model.

Understand the value of corporate training and be an advocate for continual learning. An investment in training helps your business run better. Trained employees are more competent and efficient. They are also more likely to stay with the organization and move up the ladder. These qualified, productive workers will help your company succeed.

If you’re not sold on the benefits of lifelong learning and employee development, consider the latter (this). Research reveals that 40 percent of employees who do not receive necessary job training needed to do well in their positions will leave their positions within the first year. They cite the lack of skills training and development as the key reason for moving on.

As a general rule, employees are motivated to do a good job. Giving them the tools to perform improves retention and increases productivity.

Understand the need for different strokes for different folks. Employees are individuals, each with their own motivations and learning styles. One of the biggest challenges is being in tune with the needs of team members and matching those needs with excellent programs and resources. Figuring out what makes each employee tick and what training will help them excel is particularly useful during early phases of the corporate training implementation process.

As you gain a better understanding of what employees need, remember to embrace and nurture each employee’s unique strengths. The goal of training programs is to enable participants to learn what they need to know, while also keeping them engaged.

Strive to fill in the gaps between skills and performance. A more tailored approach allows you to evaluate the current needs of your company and find specific training initiatives to fill the gaps. Take a look at the specific capabilities within your organization and consider ways you can improve productivity or minimize mistakes or inefficiencies.

This is unique to each organization, and even to departments within an organization. In every case, companies must continually revise training programs. Things such as onboarding, technology advancements, new methodology, and shifting roles require company support and training. Identify gaps in performance and consider ways to include and align training accordingly.

Managers should have a hand in strategizing and selecting development initiatives that exemplify the skills of their team. Keep in mind, specialized skills can take years to develop. Many of W.M. Jordan’s continuous learning programs are long-term paths designed to be completed over the course of several years.

Learning and development extends beyond the workplace. W.M. Jordan’s in-house Learning & Development team provides programs to help employees develop both personally and professionally. Offerings range from job specific technical programs to classes on self-defense, gardening and personal finance.

Aside from job specific training, we strive to develop hard and soft skills, including communication, emotional intelligence and leadership. The goal is to enable and inspire our team members through learning experiences that prepare them to be their best in life.

Strive to create a corporate culture of learning. W.M. Jordan’s corporate training and employee development initiatives are anchored by a culture of life-long learning. Reinforcing this mentality is necessary. A “lead by example” attitude is particularly important for leaders, managers and higher-level executives in order to create a leadership culture from the top down.

Encourage freedom to learn and share lessons learned with others. This means having the more uncomfortable conversations as well -- discussing failure, mistakes and how to improve the next time around. Successes and mistakes should be shared and socialized.

Revel in the rewards. Helping employees maximize their potential in work and in life is one of the most rewarding parts of my job. I also believe W.M. Jordan’s investment in life-long learning is our most valuable competitive advantage.

Training employees and providing opportunities for career growth shows employees the company is invested in their future, which improves job satisfaction and retention. Training can also be used as a recruiting tool.

Today’s younger employees seek more than a paycheck. They want experiences, a leadership culture and the ability to learn new skills. Offering development opportunities helps attract top talent.

Simply put, development programs are the way to develop leaders. Creating a leadership culture is one of the most beneficial assets a company can build. This starts with advocating a life-long learning culture within your organization. After all, when you are learning, life is an adventure.

Rob Beale is Vice President at W. M. Jordan Company, leading the company’s efforts in the Carolinas region. W.M. Jordan Company provides construction management, design build, development, virtual construction, sustainability and contracting services to a diverse clientele.Rob opened the company’s Wilmington, NC office in 2012 with only five employees. Six years and two office expansions later, he has grown his staff to 34, with a regional revenue of $85 million in 2017. Rob started with W. M. Jordan Company in 1996 as the company’s first college intern. After earning a BS in Construction Management from Virginia Tech, his career at W.M. Jordan Company quickly accelerated, including nearly every aspect of construction service delivery. As a true believer in life-long learning, Rob continues to develop professionally and personally. He is currently completing an Executive Education Program for Leadership Development at Harvard University. Other past pursuits include the Disney Institute’s Leadership Excellence Program, FMI Construction Executive Institute’s Project Executive Course, and AGC of America’s Advanced Management Course. Rob is also on the Board of Directors for the Association of Builders and Contractors (ABC), Carolinas chapter and serves as a member of both the Board of Directors and the Fun Committee for Wilmington Downtown Inc. (WDI).

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