Avison Young Enhances Mentorship Program With Innovative Technology Solutions
Joan Skelton, Global Director, Diversity and Inclusion, Avison Young
Joan Skelton is the Global Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Avison Young. She has over 30 years of experience in business strategy, consulting, marketing, and professional development for companies such as Arthur Andersen, Verizon Wireless, DTZ, Cassidy Turley and Cushman & Wakefield. Ms. Skelton’s career migrated from technology into real estate over 15 years ago when she started her own firm focused on the marketing and sales of condo projects and loft conversions in Atlanta and the Gulf Coast.
Avison Young is a global commercial real estate services company that is powered by people and committed to a culture that builds diversity and fosters professional relationships. Mentoring is one of these relationships that is often a critical component to employee retention and satisfaction, as well as instrumental to a successful career.
Right as the world went into lockdown in March 2020, Avison Young was poised to launch a formal mentoring program. The pandemic forced most companies to adapt to a work-from-home or hybrid strategy, creating a strain on all sorts of intrapersonal relationships and development initiatives - mentoring programs included. As a company with people at the heart of all it does, Avison Young did what it does best when faced with game-changing information – it pivoted.
The events that forever changed the world inspired Avison Young to re-focus the development and expansion of the firm’s mentorship program and incorporate streamlined components that have a positive impact on employee culture. The demands of a successful mentoring program require sophisticated, technology-based solutions that meet today’s needs and future needs.
The Demands of a Successful Mentoring Program Require Sophisticated, Technology Based Solutions that Meet Today’s Needs and Future Needs
In January 2021, Avison Young partnered with Together, a mentorship software company, to enable the digitization of the firm’s global mentoring program. The software ensures a meaningful mentor match by considering each employee’s experience, career goals, and preferences which is essential for a successful program. Together’s proptech solution simplifies the work of matching people based upon what they want and need in a mentoring relationship, allowing for a truly customized experience for each mentee.
Since the launch of the Together automation platform, more than 550 global mentoring participants have reported a 3.97/4 average session feedback score. The program continues to produce positive results and has exceeded employee expectations. This tech stack add to Avison Young’s mentorship program is a critical investment in people and culture that enhances skill and career development and also helps retain top talent.
Avison Young will continue the global mentoring program in 2022, with a goal of connecting more employees. In addition to pairing members of the firm’s internal Women’s Network, Black Professionals and LGBTQ+ groups to senior leadership across the organization, the firm plans to expand the program to include new hires. Staff can connect with mentors locally or be mentored by a leadership colleague 1000 miles away across the globe. This best-in-class technology will provide invaluable experience and exposure to other leaders across Avison Young that can help them grow and be successful within the organization. It is a powerful investment tool the demonstrates the firm’s commitment to empowering people.
Avison Young navigated through the unexpected obstacles while continuing to put its people first in order to reach the end goal – to provide employees with an innovative, technology-based mentorship program that supports and advances emerging talent.
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