Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Education Forum Focuses on Industry Challenges, Insights

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Education Forum Focuses on Industry Challenges, Insights

Article excerpt

Compensation trends, learning contracts, knowledge management, career paths, online education and training are key concerns of today's top real estate companies.

Representatives from two dozen of the country's top real estate firms gathered at the Institute of Real Estate Management's Corporate Education Leadership Forum in Chicago this summer to discuss education challenges they face and to offer insights on programs they implemented.

Mari Akers, vice president of human resources, AIMC(R), said communicating to and educating top leaders is a challenge for her firm. "Training and motivating people is a key issue. We don't have the time to keep up with compensation trends and how they affect the organization."

Robert Best, senior vice president, Jones Lang LaSalle, agreed time has become an important factor in terms of training. "How do you get your knowledge experts to train others? Pulling them off the line to impart knowledge is very hard to do."

Don Nemerov, director and Midwest practice leader, performance management & compensation, Deloitte and Touche LLP, said real estate companies are looking carefully at both compensation and training.

"Very few companies are on the upside, so they are making major changes in how they're looking at the labor market," he said. Companies are still concerned about retaining top people, but the war for talent is much more focused on the top tier. More people are getting less so fewer people can get more."

Nemerov said real estate companies are also focusing more on developing career paths for employees. "People want opportunities to feel they are valued.

In exchange for more meaningful opportunities, companies are demanding performance from employees. They are setting specific goals, providing frequent performance-related feedback and tying performance to compensation. Nemerov said, "Companies that measure management performance outperform companies that don't. There's a real payoff."

Ron Gjerde, vice president, Equity Institute, Equity Residential Properties, said his firm ties its pay-per-performance compensation program to achievement of training and development goals.

A number of real estate firms are successfully utilizing the Internet to implement on-line training programs. Jim Bilger, managing director of operations, CB Richard Ellis, said his firms new hires must complete 12 hours of on-line training and additional core courses within 90 days.

Akers said AIMCO's on-line training program has proved very effective. …

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