CBRE Singapore has maintained its leadership position in the real estate services sector largely on the back of its experienced team of professionals that have a track record of delivering results to its customers.
One key challenge facing the company is its ability to build a pipeline of talent that can continue to fuel its success. Therefore, it has invested heavily in the training and development of its staff in order to stay competitive.
"We make it a top priority to recruit and retain talented professionals. Among other things, this means that we need to provide best-in-class learning and development programmes to help our people to service our clients with the highest standards of excellence and professionalism," said Pauline Goh, the chief executive officer of CBRE Singapore & South-east Asia, which employs nearly 500 people, excluding its network of associate brokers.
The real estate services company is active across all segments of the industry - ranging from offices, investment sales, industrial to residential and retail. As part of the global CBRE group that has a presence in 449 offices with 44,000 employees over 62 countries, the Singapore office acts as headquarters for the group's South-east Asia hub.
CBRE Singapore has in place a comprehensive training programme to equip professionals in service delivery, as well as to update all its staff regularly on issues pertaining to corporate governance, standards of business conduct, ethics and compliance, as well as the latest regulations pertaining to professional conduct for real estate agents as governed by the Council of Estate Agencies.
At a global level, CBRE also has in place programmes that encourage innovation, sharing of best-practices and cross fertilisation of ideas. One such programme is the Women's Network, a platform for mentoring, professional development and personal enrichment (see sidebar).
CBRE also makes an effort to reward its top performers. Each year, the Asia Circle of Excellence Awards programme recognises the top earners from around Asia at an incentive trip. Winners come together at a country venue for teambuilding, culminating in a gala dinner where the awards are given out. Awards are also given out at the local office level in Singapore.
"We aspire to be world class so that our clients proactively seek us out because we are known for our top talent - exceptional professionals at all levels of the organisation everywhere we do business," said Ms Goh. "Our long-term goal is for CBRE to be routinely compared with best-in-class companies across all industries, not just real estate."
To build up camaraderie among employees, the firm holds teambuilding events such as bowling, annual Christmas parties as well a charity walk known as CBRE's Walk for a Wish. The 5 km walk around Marina Bay Promenade seeks to raise funds for Canossaville Home.
Fostering collaboration also underpinned the design of the firm's office at 6 Battery Road, which underwent an overhaul following the renewal of its lease in December 2013. Known as Workplace 360, the initiative resulted in the company being able to fit in 30 per cent more people into the same floor space while at the same time being able to increase the number of meeting rooms by 43 per cent.
On winning the Asia Corporate Responsibility Award (People-centric), Ms Goh said: "This award is an endorsement of the investments we have made in our people. I believe it will spur our people to give their time and commitment to training and development, and ultimately be fired up to serve our clients better."