Seeing is believing - so goes the popular adage, but in the case of Jones Lang LaSalle's graduate trainee programme, seeing is learning - with site visits and fieldwork being an integral part of the learning process. Graduate trainees have the chance to visit the new properties with which the company is working, and do fieldwork around Hong Kong and, sometimes, the region. Last year, 30 graduate trainees (who joined in different years) visited the Guangzhou office and the Jones Lang LaSalle-managed Asian Games Stadium.
"Training doesn't always happen in the classroom. We visited the LHT Tower in Central, Chinachem's The Lily residential development [in Repulse Bay], and we even went to Lamma Island to see CLP Power's windmills," says Natalie Chan, assistant management surveyor in property management, who joined in July as a management trainee.
Six of the 13 trainees who will join the company's 500 professionals in 2012 will be allocated to the property management business, as Jones Lang LaSalle is building a talent pipeline for their fast-growing China operations.
"Hong Kong, being part of Greater China, is a 'breeding ground' for our China offices. The managing directors of Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu, Macau, Guangzhou and Chongqing offices are all from Hong Kong," says Elsie Hui, human resources director for North Asia at Jones Lang LaSalle.
The company is confident that business will also continue to grow in Hong Kong next year, with a good pipeline of projects - and by gaining market share.
Fresh hires go through an induction carried out by human resources and the business line. The week-long orientation introduces the trainees to the company's history, cultural values and departments. Support is offered by coaches and mentors, and a group of graduate trainee alumni.
The trainees are urged to take ownership of their learning. "Every year, I work with them on what they want to learn," Hui says.
Learning is through a variety of activities, such as classroom training on technical and business skills - even "dress for success" classes. In addition, senior leaders are invited to deliver a case sharing. "[At these events] people show genuine interest in each other. We are client-centric - client meaning external but also internal. If you are not that kind of person, maybe you should not work here," Hui says.
The company offers a wide range of benefits, including study and exam leave to take professional exams, job rotations for career growth, extra holidays for long-serving staff, paternity leave, and dental care.
This year, team-building involved over 300 staff visiting Ocean Park, and participating in a programme crafted and arranged by graduate trainees.
Laurens Chan, director of office leasing, says he really appreciates the good working relationships that have encouraged him to stay with the firm for over 10 years. He will receive his long service award this year. "We have a lot of people who have worked here for more than a decade. The company offers a lot of opportunities," he says.
Hui says most graduate trainees become assistant managers or managers within three years, and usually reach associate director grade within five years' time.