Brookfield: distance training in support of career development

"Skills development and the support we give our staff are essential to allow them to move forward in the careers. We make every effort to offer them training that is adapted to their needs."


People Development & Career Executive Manager, Brookfield



Brookfield: distance training in support of career development




Attracting and retaining talent

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The Canadian firm Brookfield has 14.000 staff members including 5.000 in Brazil, where it has been operating since 1899. Although it specializes in asset management, its business is diversified. The partnership concluded with CrossKnowledge in April 2013 concerns the firm’s real estate, construction and civil engineering division. The goal of this partnership is to develop cross-functional skills of staff in the firm’s Brazilian subsidiary.

“Skills development and the support we give our staff are essential to allow them to move forward in the careers. We make every effort to offer them training that is adapted to their needs,” explains Ana Freire, Development People & Career Manager at Brookfield Incorporations. The company has opted for CrossKnowledge solutions to develop training programs covering a wide range of topics. “We’ve segmented our strategy so that we have cross-functional training relating to corporate values and core business training specific to each sector of our business”, she continues. Training on team work, customer orientation and management is offered to staff who hold managerial posts, while other employees follow courses focusing on more operational skills, targeted according to the area of business they work in.

Employees free to choose their training

Brookfield Incorporations has mainly chosen CrossKnowledge in order to benefit from its international profile. “It was important that our partner should have a global vision, that they should closely follow the latest training innovations, and that they should be able to adapt to our specific needs”, explains Ana Freire. The quality of the training content also played a part in the final decision. As Brookfield has chosen not to impose training on its staff, the courses on offer had to be particularly attractive in order to convince future learners. “We prefer to recommend and encourage rather than impose things”, says Ana Freire. “The fact that our staff have full control of their on line training agenda is one of the key planks of our strategy. When we explain the advantages of distance training and the benefits to their careers, they don’t need any more convincing.” On the other hand, people aren’t allowed to change their minds: once they sign up for a course they have to follow the entire program, which features e-learning modules and face-to-face sessions.

Blended learning: the best of both worlds

Brookfield Incorporations opted for blended learning right from the start. “We’re convinced that it’s more efficient to develop skills using different training modalities. Face-to-face learning allows you to deal with real-life work situations in groups, and to show our support for our staff in a very concrete way. Distance training has obvious advantages in terms of accessibility and flexibility. Managers sometimes choose to follow e-learning sessions between two meetings, or even outside working hours,” explains Ana Freire. This combination partly explains the success of the initiative among the people concerned. Learners also cite the quality and diversity of the training formats offered by CrossKnowledge as a satisfaction factor. “Of the 5.000 staff at our Brazilian subsidiary, 1.000 will have access to blended learning programs by the end of 2013”. In close collaboration with specialists from Brookfield Incorporations, consultants specializing in the implementation of blended programs are in charge of deploying CrossKnowledge solutions among the different target groups.

Towards a learning organization

The future of the partnership between CrossKnowledge and Brookfield Incorporations is very promising, as Ana Freire points out. “The initiative is in its early stages, and we’re currently setting up tools to analyse feedback and fine-tune our strategy.” The next step will be to share this feedback with all the company’s staff in order to raise the profile of the project. “Our aim is to have staff members act as sponsors. This is how we’re going to develop a real training culture. It’s a way of reaching out to a large number of people and showing how individual motivations and corporate vision are linked together”.

There are other challenges to be met, however, in particular equipping construction sites so that training can take place on site. “Our ambition is to roll back the limits of training to make it into a part of career development tool for our staff,” concludes Ana Freire.

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