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Building an Agile Leadership Development Program at JLL

Angela Geffre, Executive Director, Global Head of Talent, JLL
Angela Geffre, Executive Director, Global Head of Talent, JLL

Angela Geffre, Executive Director, Global Head of Talent, JLL

At JLL, we take a dynamic approach to Leadership Development so we can quickly adapt to any change. Our clients expect JLL to do that for them, and it’s just as important that we in the Leadership Development space are as agile and flexible as possible for our employees.

We start by thinking first about the needs of the organization and the future of work. To do this, we need to really understand what’s going on with our business. Is it transforming or trying to stabilize? Is it growing or going through a period of contraction? Once we understand the overall business needs, we can structure an agile Leadership Development approach to meet those needs.

That’s why I intentionally spend a lot of time with our leaders. I also spend time with our clients so I can hear first-hand how our clients see their needs shifting. That way, when I hear a client ask for a better human experience or more economical space, I translate it into what that means for our people and how we help them stay on top of these trends.

Technology leads to innovation

In addition to connecting with our business leaders, technology helps us be more innovative in how we deliver our Learning Development solutions. For a while we played catch-up: YouTube came out and we developed quick and easy videos for people to consume. Facebook came out and we created social learning communities, for example, to compare how each office handled a basic facility issue.

Now, though, we constantly look for ways technology can enhance Leadership Development. Historically we thought Leadership Development had to happen in a classroom over 2-3 days, but today we use technology to supplement in-person training. One of our recent innovations is the “Manager-on-the-go” app, in which managers can access on their phones to get quick tips on how to have meaningful career conversations with our people or to log into a learning platform that curates learning based off their history.

Translating data into insights

We also seek to leverage data to bring insights to our programming. We have platforms like Workday that offer access to data we’ve never had before. We’re seeing how that data can, and should, influence our Learning Development strategy. For example, if we can see that we’re facing a silver tsunami, should we ramp up our Managing People courses? Or, because of the way people have been assessed we see a gap in a certain key competency, which in turn can help us shape our programming to close that gap. Our goal now that we have the data is to use it to create programs and approaches that help address our biggest strategic priorities.

  From a Leadership Development perspective, we’re able to leverage technology to eliminate any bias that might creep in. We recently leveraged Workday to service the nominations for our 2020 Leadership Development programming​  

As HR technology gets more exciting, Leadership Development has the opportunity to be at the forefront. Artificial Intelligence has the potential to be a game-changer for us. We know a lot about our people—their career aspirations, what their degrees are in, their endorsements on LinkedIn—but how do we combine those data to create a personalized development plan? Right now, development plans take a lot of time and energy to create. Soon, though, technology will help us use these data to say, we know this person wants to be CEO. And, because we know what makes a great CEO and based upon what we know about this person from all these data sources—Workday, LinkedIn, Learning Management Systems—we can leverage AI to create a customized career development plan. Any platform that makes the Leadership Development experience more personalized and relevant is going to win the day.

Eliminating bias

Technology is also helping us take the bias out of the entire talent lifecycle. For example, in recruiting, we’re able to use gaming and other scientific methods to source and select new talent, which allows hiring managers to see the likelihood someone will succeed regardless of their gender or race/ethnicity.

From a Leadership Development perspective, we’re able to leverage technology to eliminate any bias that might creep in. We recently leveraged Workday to service the nominations for our 2020 Leadership Development programming. Instead of saying to our business leaders, “We have these programs, tell us who we should include,” we flipped the script. Now, we can say you have these talented people. Think first about each of them, and which programs match their career aspirations and future potential. That helped us ensure everyone got an equal opportunity to be nominated and reduced some of the bias we may have had in the past.

Advice for staying agile

We are constantly asking ourselves how can we create Leadership Development programs at the speed at which the business is innovating solutions for our clients, so we can help our people stay relevant? I believe it’s staying connected with the business, staying ahead of the technology curve, and being ready to adapt at a moment’s notice.

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