By David Horwitz, Vice President of Leasing, Training and Development
Our motto #SUCCESS starts with recruiting new team members into the organization and investing in them to bring out the best in them. It’s similar to the world of sports. Athletes don’t stop training once they’ve been chosen for a team. That’s when the real hard work begins.
Not Your Traditional Classroom
The Leasing Department has launched a number of Learning & Development initiatives since last November to help junior Leasing Associates obtain knowledge of the mechanics of the retail real estate industry and elevate their professional skill sets.
A classroom environment is one aspect of a broad spectrum of our Learning & Development program. Instead of facilitating information through a “how to” manual, the program incorporates an element of entertainment and technology to engage better with Leasing Associates. In addition to reading topical industry related books and discussing how we can apply the content to our everyday work, we also engage in lectures and storytelling, and listen to podcasts. Visiting retailers to present DLC’s portfolio is another way we create hands-on and application-based experiences, where new knowledge is discovered and shared between team members.
Understanding technical aspects of the business by working directly on DLC’s assets with an experienced Leasing Representative is another way our team members gain hands-on training. You have to walk in the shoes of those whose path you will be following. Such practice provides a far richer learning experience as it enforces the assimilation of good traits and helps Leasing Associates live the challenges they will face and how to succeed.
Tailoring the teaching of Best Practices
Team members spend a significant amount of time on the most used skills needed to do their job. Industry standards like cold calling, canvassing, getting a meeting, presenting, overcoming objections, drafting Letters of Intent, and deal negotiating are introduced and reinforced through role-playing exercises, and group/individual coaching sessions. This teaches the team the ability to think on their feet and resolve issues as part of their everyday lives.
We need to demonstrate our exemplary culture that values people and encourages them to grow.
Classroom outside the Classroom
Attending industry deal making and networking conferences is another way to explore the latest market trends and retailers while witnessing new developments and properties. Recently, a group from the Leasing Department attended the industry networking and market outlook event which provided valuable information on what retailers see as challenges and opportunities as well as a wealth of new industry contacts. The team engaged with industry leaders from all facets of our business to learn more about their companies and seek ways to work together.
As the event was taking place in Chelsea, we toured Hudson Yards to experience the new, innovative mixed use development and a host of new retailers some of which were only online before but now have opened brick and mortar locations. It was the best classroom setting to breathe in and discuss the latest market trends such as ‘Disruption’, ‘Omni-channel’, ‘Tenant Mix Optimization’, and ‘Place Making’.
Rowing the Boat Forward
The Leasing Department’s Learning & Development program stems from DLC’s role as an industry trailblazer. DLC is making inroads with business schools to establish relationships by providing a value in showing students how their study is actually applied in the real world. We visit campuses to participate in panel discussions and career fairs, engaging in open dialogue with students and faculty about the industry and career paths. It sparks students’ interest in not only what DLC does but also in various facets of the retail real estate world that many didn’t know existed. We’re building these great inroads so we can attract top talent but such relationships can only last when it is a two way street. We have to prove that we are exceptional at what we do and have the infrastructure to support and advance our team members through their challenging, meaningful and rewarding careers.
Our industry is sustained on building relationships and providing exceptional value. As the leader in this vibrant, rapidly changing industry, DLC is one of many oars rowing the boat of our industry forward. We need to demonstrate our exemplary culture that values people and encourages them to grow within and with the organization, evolving our business and causing our peers to up their game.