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How CBRE is Increasing Data Literacy for Over 3,000 Employees

Listen to Emily Hayward, Data & Digital Change Manager, CBRE unpack how 3000 employees are upskilling in data literacy and more.

Sep 2022

Photo of Emily Hayward
Emily Hayward

Emily is an experienced change and transformation leader in data and analytics with a proven track record in successfully leading high-profile technology, data, and cultural transformation across private and public sector organizations. Emily takes a fun, engaging, and people-first approach to designing and delivering data transformation. She fervently believes that you can’t change anything successfully without ‘winning hearts and minds’.  As a Welsh-Brummie working in London for the last 12 years, Emily understands the importance of delivering transformation programs that take an inclusive UK-wide approach, where no regional office feels like “Head Office’s afterthought.” Emily is a passionate advocate of diversity in data, championing the increasing prevalence of data and analytics hubs outside the M25 as well as encouraging greater representation of women in the field.

Photo of Adel Nehme
Adel Nehme

Adel is a Data Science educator, speaker, and Evangelist at DataCamp where he has released various courses and live training on data analysis, machine learning, and data engineering. He is passionate about spreading data skills and data literacy throughout organizations and the intersection of technology and society. He has an MSc in Data Science and Business Analytics. In his free time, you can find him hanging out with his cat Louis.

Key Quotes

Be enthusiastic about your learning program and find people that are really passionate about what you do. Get people on board that will evangelize what your program is there to do and evangelize its benefits–people who will bring the program to life. More people will buy into it if you pull out the, “What's in it for Me?” factor and make it really relevant to their job. If you are able to bring that to life for people every step of the way, you will have the key to success provided your learning content matches the promises your program makes.

Put people on your project team that aren't just delivering it because they have to, because it’s a part of their performance objectives, or because they are just coming into work to do a job. Recruit people onto your team that are are passionate and energized about it. That energy rubs off on people because it’s infectious. People buy into people that believe in what they're selling. So find out who those people are and put them on your program.

Key Takeaways


When implementing any new learning program, it’s vital to identify and answer, “What’s in it for Me?” if you want to build excitement and secure buy-in from your organization.


At the beginning of any change management process, include planning sessions for resistance tactics, where your team brainstorms all of the possible reasons people will resist the changes and develop a response strategy for them.


Keep the learner at the center of your focus throughout every step of your data literacy program’s development and implementation. This helps you ensure you are making the program relevant and valuable for each team member.


Adel Nehme: Hello, everyone. This is Adele, a data science educator and evangelist at data camp. Today's the final episode in our four-week data literacy month special in today's episode is a special one throughout the month. We talked about the importance of data literacy and why individuals and organizations need to grow their data literacy skills.

And today, we are going to be showcasing how CBRE, a data company for business customers, is upskilling 3000-plus people on data literacy. Joining us today is Emily Hayward. Emily is the data and digital change manager at CBRE. She is an experienced Change and Transformational leader in data analytics with a proven track record and successfully leading high-profile technology, data, and cultural transformation across private and public sector organizations.

Emily takes a fun, engaging people-first approach to designing and delivering data transformation. And she fervently believes that you can't change anything successfully without winning hearts and minds, which is the crux of today's episode. Throughout the episode, we speak about the data ups coming imperative at CBRE, how Emily has approached building a learning program, and how to do effective change management and evangelized learning within an organization. The importance of executive sponsorship when delivering these programs and much more.

If you enjoyed this episode, make sure to rate, comment, and subscribe to the podcast.

And if you're also looking to approach data upscaling at your organization with DataCamp, make sure to check out th... See more

e link we left in the description box now onto today's episode, Emily It's great to have you on the show.

Emily Hayward: Oh, great. Thank you for having me.

Adel Nehme: I am so excited. You're joining us for data literacy month and I'm looking forward to deep dive with you on the data literacy program at CBRE how to do effective change management, the importance of data scales, and much more, but before that, can you give us a bit of a background about yourself?

Emily Hayward: Yeah, of course. So my name is Emily Hayward. I am a data and digital change manager here at CBRE and my role is essentially it's all about the people side of digital change. So in a nutshell, like how can we engage, inspire and equip our people with the right tools, the right knowledge and support to leverage data effectively? Often I see across many years of doing change management, that a lot of organizations, they spend thousands, hundreds of thousands on new tools in tech, and then they simply just end up like they'll launch the program without really thinking too much about putting the end-user or the end learner at the heart of it. And then they wonder why their program or project is struggling with adoption or realizing the return on investment and business value. So part of my role is to really understand how people are impacted by change.

For example, you know, how do they currently work? What are their motivations and resistance to doing things differently? What does the new process technology or learning mean for their roles and ways of working and how do we ensure that once the project team or the learning program delivery team steps away? How do we make sure that it just becomes like part of how people do business and go about their regular everyday roles? So how do we ensure that engagement and adoption continues and doesn't just drop off a cliff. So I've been doing it for a number of years now, both across private and public sector organizations.

I started at the Financial Conduct Authority. So if you're not a UK listener, that's essentially our UK financial services regulator. So I started there doing technology and change communication and engagement strategy. And then I moved into change management. So helping colleagues across the business, adopt new data science and analytics tool. And now I work at CBRE, the market leader in commercial real estate. And here, my role is to partner with the business to help them realize their data and digital ambitions, both through technology tools, skills, and cultural change. So that's about it in a nutshell.

Importance of Data Upskilling

Adel Nehme: I love that. And I love how you tie in the importance of your role towards the broader picture of how organizations do a lot of technology investments without necessarily thinking about the people component and why I'm really excited to unpack today's topic with you. So I'm very excited to set the stage for today's conversation, but really understanding the why behind a lot of data upscaling programs that you're leading at CBR E so maybe in your own words, Emily, walk us through why data upscaling is so important at CBRE?

Emily Hayward: So maybe I'll just give you a bit of background on CBR and exactly what we do.

So I'll start there. So CBR R a global leader in commercial real estate. We have over 105,000 employees. We serve clients like 100 countries around the world. And essentially what we do is we help clients realize their potential in real estate, whether that's helping them maximize value on their current future properties, whether it's working collaboratively to implement innovative work solutions.

Or giving them advice and insight into to help them support their investment decisions. So our business essentially. It is all about delivering exceptional outcomes for clients it's relationship focused, and it relies on our people having the best information, the best data and the best insights at their fingertips. So we can deliver the very best client outcomes. So that's why enabling every person at CBRE to realize their data potential and take their data skills to the next level has never been so important. Like it's really crucial to our future as an organization. Just off the back of that. Obviously today's clients are more connected and informed than ever before.

They're wanting increasingly sophisticated services and advice. They want more advanced insights to justify their investment decisions at CBRE. We've always used data and information to deliver great client services. To deliver impactful insights and to make evidence based decisions. So going about using data and using data to justify decision making, it is nothing new for us. Cause our people have done it every single day since CBRE's inception. I think the difference is now is that the volume and complexity of the data we hold is just growing exponentially. I mean, we have got absolutely loads of it so we can no longer rely on who and what we know to win business, to deliver a world class service. Um, so data is increasingly becoming for us at CBRE. It's a competitive differentiator and it's increasingly pivotal to helping us understand our clients anticipating and predicting their needs. And as I said, delivering a market leading survey and our people are integral part of that transformation.

It's not enough for us as an organization to have data and tools alone. We need to have people with the skills and the knowledge to confidently read, analyze, and communicate with data every single day. And for us, we just believe it's too much of a valuable commodity to be the sole remit of data experts and data scientists and data analysts. That's why we're sort of on a mission at CBRE to upscale. Absolutely. Everybody across the UK and Ireland to work with data more effectively. 

Unpacking CBRE's Data Upskilling Program

Adel Nehme: That's so awesome. And I love the way you said the stage for one, how it benefits not only CBRE employees, but also CBRE stakeholders and customers, and frame it through the way the industry is moving as well. Moving on to the crux of today's conversation, you mentioned here, the upscaling program that CBRE has is a very ambitious program. I'm very excited to unpack with you this, this program at CBRE so can you first start off by giving a general overview of the program? What it looks like, how it's structured and how many people it impacts within CBRE?

Emily Hayward: Our data mission is to empower everyone across our UK and island workforce to do more with data. So that roughly equates to around three and a half thousand people, more or less upskilling. So we wanna, we want on day one when we launch our program for there to be something for everybody. So everyone, no matter where they are on their data journey, whether they're someone that's really advanced through the PhD in data science, whether they're someone junior, whether they're someone that's really senior in the organization. From day one that we want there to be something for them to upskill at. So that is the mission to provide something for everybody.

So it is ambitious, it's three and a half thousand people going through this program. They all have different needs, different reasons. And different motivations for wanting to upskill and needing to upskill. So of course, to deliver this, you need a great team behind it. Cause great upskilling programs are delivered by great teams to just give you some sort of context of about the program, how we're delivering it. From the start. It was really important to us that we carefully designed our project team with a diverse mix of skills and experience. So we could deliver an impactful, inclusive, and relevant learning program. So to give you an introduction to the program. So we have one project team, which brings together around nine people from across CBRE and DataCamp.

So DataCamp, you guys, obviously we take you as our preferred learning partner. It was one of the best decisions we've made for this program. So we've been working together for a couple of months now. And honestly, I do like, it genuinely feels like we're just one big team. Like, it feels like we're one team. It really does. We've got shared values, shared goals. And I think all of us what holds us all together is that we all have a genuine desire to transform our organization through upskilling. And we're all on the same page about it. Um, So DataCamp for us. Like, I know it's a separate company, but you guys really do feel like part of the CBRE fabric.

Like honestly, the DataCamp guys, like on our project, they could honestly be like another CBRE colleague. Like that's just how good the dynamics are between us. We feel like we've got the, a team in place, right? So with that then so from the CBRE side of things, we've obviously got an executive business sponsor. So that person, now legitimizes the value of our program to leadership and C-suite stakeholders, they're really involved in leading this at a senior level and communicating it to the wider organization. We've got senior leaders from learning and development from digital enablement, digital transformation. So we're making sure that at the very top of the organization, we've got the right people involved in this. And then from people on the ground type perspective, we've got L&D specialists. We've got myself as a change manager and project manager on the program from DataCamp side, we've got our customer success managers, product marketers, and then it's not only the delivery team that is responsible for making this happen.

Like we are the ones doing a lot of the leg work, but I think what a lot of people don't realize is it's not just about the delivery team. You also need a great support team to really make the comms and engagement and awareness campaign around a data literacy program impactful. We do draw on expertise from internal coms branding at DataCamp. They've got like the evangelist team. They've got really good data curriculum experts. So there's a much wider project team that are drawn in to help support the program. So it takes a village. It really does. 

Learning Personas for Data Skills

Adel Nehme: It definitely does. And I really appreciate one our partnership, but also how you've approached the program. And I'm excited to unpack all of these different elements from evangelism to architecting the program, as well as the different learner personas that you have. So starting off with the personas and regardless of where you are on the spectrum of data skills, whether you're absolute beginner or you have more advanced data skills. There's often a multi persona approach, different folks go through for these learning paths. So can you walk us through the different personas, if any, within the upscaling program that you have at CBRE and how you approach defining these personas?

Emily Hayward: Yeah. So as a change manager, when it comes to persona mapping, I always start really high level and I bring it back to like the, the change delivery framework. And for us, the change delivery framework that we've followed for this program is something called ADMKR. So ADMKR is a change management model. It's basically an acronym for five outcomes and individual needs to achieve change and be successful in changing.

So those five acronyms are Awareness of change and why, why it's needed. It's also desire. They've gotta have a Desire to want to change. They've gotta have the motivation to want to do it. Knowledge, the knowledge of how to change, the ability to change. And the last one is about Reinforcement. So reinforcing the learning and applying it in their everyday role. So this is really powerful model that it looks at change from the individual's perspective, which is the best way to deliver change.

Like look at what does the individual need to go through this change successfully. So in terms of like the persona mapping that you were talking about as a change management person that starts in the awareness phase. So for us at CBRE how we did that is we identified our stakeholders that were gonna be involved. And we started an organizational wide engagement campaign to raise awareness of the program. And as part of that campaign, we asked for early adopters and change champions for each business area to step forward. So they could represent their area. Help shape learning for their colleagues and be for eyes and ears on the ground. So people that were gonna champion this to their wider business unit, get their colleagues involved and get that buy in at a local level. So with that, we're targeting the whole organization, but we're also then like picking out advocates in each area that can really represent their area and help shape the program and also the coms and engagement that come out of.

So then secondly, with like the personas you were talking about, we then moved into the desire phase of the ADMKR model. So creating a desire for people to wanna change, to want to upscale. So to do this, we use surveys and focus groups to get to know our earlier adopter community really well. So here we use those surveys and focus groups to understand things like key roles across the business. How do they interact with data today? What are their current pain points with data? Like what really gets on their nerves? Like what really frustrates them the days are, what are the opportunities to improve existing processes through upskilling? What would they do in an ideal world? If like data skills and tech, wasn't a barrier, what would they, what are the cool things that they'd be doing with data? How would they be using it to win more business, serve our clients, better, get better insights and outcomes for our clients. And then lastly, like some key things as part of those focus groups is also exploring what are people's motivations and resistance to change. Um, and what exactly do they need to feel supported and be helped to up skill effectively. So through doing that sort of discovery work with our early adopters, it really helped build a picture of all learners. And that sort of resulted in us, distilling most of our people into five Key learning personas like for CBRE and this is, this might be common across a couple of, uh, across many organizations for us.

Our key personas are leaders managers. People in client facing roles, people in non-client facing roles and our data and technology practitioners. So we've got five key ones for us. Now there's like nuance and complexity within each of those. But broadly each person across our UK and island business will probably map into one or two of those persona groups. So they'll be able to look at that and be like, oh, that's my one I fit in there. They can see themselves. And why this learning is important to. So those personas, they were really important for helping us to create desire amongst colleagues, cuz one. It helped us build the platform. So our early adopters were really integral to shaping learning for each persona.

We could really sort of understand like what learning did they need, and we could justify why we'd given them some learning content over others based on their persona and their role. It also helped us become an engagement. So it helped us to personalize messages and our comms approach and, and the keeping for this as well was like bringing to life through comms and engagement. And these personas. What's in it for me. Cause I guarantee you that's all people really care about like what is in it for them. How's it gonna help them be smarter, quicker, better, more productive at their job. Stay part of the persona work, really help bring that to life for people. What, what does it mean for them on the ground?

And then the two other things were around stakeholder engagement. So the personas helped us reach more difficult stakeholders. Working with our early adopters, we were really able to understand for each persona group who are the most resistant people in this persona group, what's the best way and what are the best tactics to win them over, cuz guaranteed any change project, any upskilling project you work on, you're always gonna have your naysayers.

You're always gonna have those people that are really difficult to win that don't wanna change that are afraid of changing that are scared to do. Or they don't wanna do it. They don't have enough time, all of that sort of stuff. So those personas were really key in helping us identify who those people or populations of people were and how to address them.

And then of course, that sort of just feeds into our rollout plan. It helps us put like more. Bespoke solutions in place with different types of stakeholders. So for example, our data practitioner community are really data savvy. Some of them have used DataCamp already, so they probably need a lighter touch than maybe our C-suite, which data might scare them.

And they need a bit of hand holding. So it's really helped. So I think through following that sort of ADMKR model, like driving the awareness, thinking about what needs to change for them, thinking about how to give them the ability to change, linking it back to them role it's it's really been quite powerful for us.

Excercise Mapping Pitfalls To Avoid 

Adel Nehme: That's really awesome. And I love the holistic answer, hearing how you provide that framework towards how you determine the personas. One thing I think a lot of organizations struggle with is that early stage of how do you determine your learning personas and your answer really clarifies a lot of different components that go to it. Maybe diving deeper, slightly into identifying the challenges a persona may have. Can you walk us through maybe the different best practices and lessons that you can share from exactly that mapping exercise that you've did by running focus groups and what are pitfalls other leaders need to avoid when running such exercises?

Emily Hayward: I would do the focus groups. And because that really helps you understand people on the ground, like how they work today, how they interactive data, what tools and tech do they use. Cause data's a broad topic. And I think we were sort of finding in some of our focus. Groups, just how broad people thought it was. Like, it's about how they manage for some people. It's about how they manage their emails, how they talk to people on teams, where they store all their data, as well as about how you collect it, how you visualize it, the different tools that you use. So it's important to understand through those focus groups, what is people's definition of data?

Cause it's all different for a lot of different types of people. So by understanding. You can then understand, well, this is people's understanding of data today, and this is where we need to shift it to so that when you are starting from day one, you've got that definition ready to go with. So people have a common understanding about when we talk about data and getting be better at data upskilling. What exactly do we mean? So I think that that's quite key. I think getting to understand sort of people on the ground, their roles, et cetera, is really key. Cause how do you know what you're gonna change or. How are you gonna paint the vision of what people need to change? If you don't know where they are today, like people need to see the journey.

They need to understand what the gap is. So they know then how, what success looks like when we get there. So those focus groups are really key for understanding that first part. So it makes it easier for people to actually make the jump to the end goal, which is being more data literate. So I think that's quite key. And then I would also say if to any other organization listening, like pilot, your program, So if you've got champions and you've got early adopters that are involved, I would definitely pilot the program with them. So get them into the platform early, set up some surveys. So you can collect data from them, set up some sort of like focus groups. So you can ask them like face to face. How did they find the learning? What was relevant to them, what helped them in their roles and why? I sort of advocate that is twofold. So one, it helps collect testimonials for the program. So it really helps who comes an engagement because you can get testimonials that you can use in launch.

So real life examples across your early adopters of. Where the program's added value, what they've got out of it, what they're able to do better as a result of having done the upskilling. So it really offers like a compelling example when you go to launch to the wider organization of oh, so and so over there did XYZ. Oh yeah. I wanna learn that. Like, that sounds really interesting. So it creates momentum in the launch. So I would definitely do the pilot for that reason to get those testimonials up front. So you've got great examples. Come launch time, but then two, it also helps you fine tune the program. So you can be confident that on day one, the learning that you put in there has been tested. You can robustly say that it works for the majority of people that are put in those persona groups. And it also means that you can take some learning out or you can fix the modules or, or shape the learning. To see people, if they say it's not relevant. So you've got the opportunity there to learn a few lessons and get it right before launch time. So if you're listening guys, like definitely put a pilot in, don't just go straight into launching it, like put a pilot in, see what works and then flex and adapt your approach from there.

Adel Nehme: I completely agree. And especially on that comp site as well, like if you're able to, from the pilot in relatively safe environment, collect a lot of great testimonials to drive higher excitement for the wider organization, that's such a massive win for the rest of the program.

Emily Hayward:  Definitely. I think I'd also add to that is like plan ahead. Like really put this on people's radars early because people are busy. They have a lot going on. It sometimes takes like more than one attempt for someone to get the message or to be aware that something's coming. So you need, especially with a large organization, you need to do that quite far out. Cuz there's so many people you need to reach. So. I'd plan early, put it on people's radars early so they can get their head around. What's changing. And the fact that this is coming, it's not a shock to anyone when it lands on their doorstep. And they've been told they've got to do it. And I think the other important point is you have to get leadership onboard and board in because people will follow great role models and people will do it If leadership say it's important and a role modeling that behavior from the top. So I'd get them on board. If you've got like leadership forums or leadership, strategic meetings, monthly sort of board meetings, whatever that might be for your organization. Get on that agenda. Have a really great like presentation to deliver and, and pitch it to them and really sell for them.

Cuz I think when people go to leadership, they sometimes go with a, "this is our program and this is what we're gonna do." And they go with like the nuts and bolts of the program. But. They infrequently answer the question of what's in it for me and leaders wanna hear that as well. They wanna hear how data you prepare is gonna benefit their bottom line, their people, their productivity, how many clients are able to win over and impress.

So really sell to leadership what's in it for them and, and the why they should be brought into it, why they should be championing it and just make sure you find as many opportunities. From the beginning where you are doing awareness all the way for launch to keep those people engaged and make sure you've got a great ex sponsor on board that can maybe get some of those leaders that are a little bit harder to just get behind your mission, get your executive sponsor, to get involved in, help winning the move.

Mapping Skills to Personas

Adel Nehme: Completely agree on all of these notions and really appreciate that insight. So you mentioned here the five different personas within the program. What are the different skills that you're looking to grow within these different persona?

Emily Hayward: Yeah. So it means something different for everyone. So I think for leadership, I mean, and this is the key thing, make sure leadership know what it means to them.

That's where the persona mapping is really useful. Cuz for our leaders, they might never need to know how to collect data. They might never need to know how to analyze it or visualize it. Cuz they've got people underneath them that are capable of doing that. But they do need to know how to make more confident data led decisions. They do wanna know how to spot opportunities and risks better. They do need to know from the data that they get in reports and dashboards, all of that sort of stuff. How do I ask better questions, more intelligent questions of the data I'm receiving. They need to be able to look at what someone's given them.

And be able to interrogate it properly, not just take like whoever created it, word for it. Do you know what I mean? Which can happen, especially when, like you think, well, they're the ones with the data expertise. I'll just implicitly trust them. So they've gotta be able to ask better. Questions of data. And then for them it's all about for, for our leadership It's about managing their data talent more effectively. It's about understanding and not just across their data talent, but across their workforce. Like the depth and breadth for data skills and where they can plug skills gaps more effectively. How can they effectively manage resources on projects and plan, feature headcounts.

If you know what the map mapping of data skills is across the workforce, all of those things become a lot easier. For our manager population. It's all about slipping, flipping the switch from reactive to proactive. So being able to identify risks, opportunities, get ahead of things like attrition, burnout, churn. It's all about empowering teams to make the right decisions with confidence and empowering their teams to navigate challenges ahead effectively, cuz they feel more confident in making evidence based decisions. For our client facing teams and people, it's all about visualizing data, better, communicating it better by doing that.

They'll be able to create more trust and credibility with clients who need that data to justify their investment decisions. For our client facing teams. It, it might also be about if we've got better data and we're able to better understand our clients from that data. They can also personalize client pitches and marketing. Cause they'll be able to anticipate what our clients want before they even ask for it. They'll be able to look at key trends and patterns in the market. What are clients really looking for nowadays? How can we tailor our marketing approach? So they understand that we are really well seated to deliver what they need. And for client facing teams, it might also be about optimizing sales processes. So driving efficiency throughout the sales process, understanding top performing products, markets, sales, people, and breakers, where there are opportunities to cross sales. So for client facing teams, it really is like, it can be a complete game changer in terms of like revenue generation, but also like providing just amazing results for our clients.

And then lastly, like non-client facing teams. I mean, there is a bit of crossover with the client facing, but it's about funding, the right solutions to problems. So if you do have a problem or you've got a business challenge, be able to look at the data that might be creating that problem. It's about deep diving into problems better. It's also about making better evidence based decisions and backing up arguments as to why there might be a case for change or why they wanna might introduce a new technology or a new process. If you've got the data and the evidence behind that, and you're able to present it in a compelling and credible way, you're more likely to like push through your projects on time. You're more likely to get funding for something you're more likely to. Budget for that new initiative next year, or new head counts for a new program that you've got starting. So it's all about better decision making and better problem solving. And then lastly, for our data practitioners, I mean, for them, I mean, they have to update their skillset all the time rack cause new technologies and.

New tools are always coming into the market. So for them, it's all about sort of keeping their skills relevant, keeping them current, keeping up to date with what's going on in industry. But it's also about for them, maybe even business skills, like thinking about how they can apply, like their data and analytics, tech techniques to solve like real business problems.

It could also be about, for some areas of the business. We've got a lot of data analysts, some really wanna get into the data science element. So predictive models and analysis, machine learning, being able to spot the best opportunities and trends in the market. Being able to sort of like predict client behavior and what they're gonna need next. So I think for our data practitioners, it's both getting to know the business better, but it is also about developing some of those data science skills as well. So it really is like a bit of a mix.

Challenges of Upskilling a Large Workforce

Adel Nehme: I love the level of personalization that you're applying. Across all of these personas, one additional wrinkle hearing challenge with rolling out such an ambitious program is the sheer number of people involved in the upscaling. So how have you approached upscaling 3,500 people almost. And what are some of the challenges associated with upscaling? Such a large amount of people?

Emily Hayward:  Yeah, I think one of them is making it really, really relevant for people. So, I mean, we've bucketed people into these five personas, but I think there's obviously gonna be people that need a bit more hand holding than others and need to be told how individually it really can be fitted into their role.

So I think like getting management on board is big part of how you address that cuz us as a program with so many people. We are never gonna have the bandwidth to sit down with each and every individual person and really think about, well, how do you embed it into your everyday role? How do you just make this part of like how you do business and how you work and operate, it's never gonna happen.

So our management community. Is a huge part of that. So for us, like when it comes to rollout, so one we've got managers that are on the earlier access program. So they're coming to the focus groups, they're doing the surveys, they're part of the early access program. They're piloting the learning for their people.

So they're already helping to shape the program and advocat it to their team. So I think it's important to. To not just have a lot of junior people in the program cause often with stuff like this. And I think other people in different organizations will have the same problem. Business areas tend to put forward like their graduates or they're like associates and senior associates forward for this type of thing.

But actually to create a learning program that's. Relatable to everyone. You have to have a mix of like leaders, managers, technical colleagues, your pilot group has to represent. It has to be an accurate representation of the wider organization. So, you know, you are delivering something that will work for everyone.

So get your managers involved. And then I also think like for us, we are gonna be having briefings with our managers. So part of that briefing is talking to them through the program, giving them a bit of a toolkit. So we're putting a toolkit together on how they can make this learning work in their teams.

So it could be that they do a course together or they do a module together. So there's a module in data camp called like, what is data literacy? We're toying with the moment about getting teams to do one chapter of that module together as part of a team meeting that everyone starts off, like with the same experience, it becomes like a team thing that they can do together.

It's something tangible that managers can actually action on. And then just giving them sort of pointers on how, thinking about how to embed this into their every day, how to make sure that we're continually like reviewing people's like learning and development plans for data skills rewarding and recognizing our people when they put their data skills to practice and complete learning on data camp.

So you really have to make sure that we've got that group on board and that they really have like a. Actionable plan of what they can do with their people. And then I, and then I also think it's about performance measurement. Like you have to be able to know when a program's been successful and we've got a really good scorecard in place for our program.

So we're assessing it against a number of different benchmarks and we've got some really ambitious targets and we are gonna be reviewing that periodically after launch to go, where are we now? What's working well, What's not working, where's it not working? Who's it not working with? And how can we put interventions and plans in place to reach those people?

What areas need a bit more love and attention? What areas are flying and how can we share their success stories wider. So it really is about not just launching and then being like, well, well, we've done that now. Like, let's move on. This is something that's here to stay. And I think when people know it's here to stay and they know that we are gonna be regularly reviewing it, holding managers, accountable, holding the business accountable. Then that's where I think that we'll really start to get that adoption. And it will just become part of how people learn and how people do like data led business across CBRE 

Answering the "What's in it for Me?"

Adel Nehme: One thing that cuts across most of the answers that you've had so far, and the theme in our discussion is really the importance of evangelizing and answering that key question for the learner at CBRE, which is what's in it for me. So how have you approached answering that question? And can you share tactics that you found, worked really well to evangelize the program?

Emily Hayward:  So, first of all, I think you gotta have like great coms and marketing and branding, like for so many data literacy programs that I've seen, they're using like Bo standard, like presentations, just your standard, like corporate template.

They've got a couple of bullet points on a few, a few slides as to why it's important. I would definitely say one of the things that's really stood out for our program is our branding team. Just been amazing. Like our presentation packs, our comms, collateral that we've got on our plasma TVs, on our screens, posters, all of that sort of stuff, marketing collateral, video collateral, it stands out, it pops.

It's got a distinctive look and a distinctive feel. People look at our program and say it doesn't just look like corporate compliance training, which everyone we've got to do it cuz it's a necessary evil. Do you know what I mean? But. People look at and go, oh, do you know what I mean? Every year? Like people, oh God, we've gotta do that again.

I don't want anyone to look at our program. I think that I want them to think it's exciting. I want them to be curious. And our branding does that. It's really slick. It stands out. So I think get your branding and your comms, right? Like if you've got a branding team in your organization and you've got a good internal comms team, like we do like definitely join up with them to create something visually engaging.

Cause I think if it looks good, people will wanna read it. They'll wanna look at it. They'll wanna go and find out more so make sure it looks good. The second point I wanna make is around internal comms. So we've got a great internal comms. We have made sure that you cannot miss our data upskilling program anywhere it's on the internet.

It's on the plasma TV screens. So we've been doing like town hall sort of road shows. So going around every service line, getting it in front of people's faces like putting, presenting it, showing videos on it, really evangelizing in person benefits. It's really not enough. Nowadays, people are busy. It's not enough to just put, sign up on the internet or send an email.

You have to get in front of people. And, and I think that's the most impactful thing, actually, a lot of our face to face interactions and people see how passionate, like. Our project team is how passionate our data camp partners are in this program. It's infectious. I think. So that would be my other sort of point is really put people on your program that aren't just delivering it cuz they have to, or aren't just delivering it cuz it's part of their performance objectives.

And they're just coming into work to do a job, get people on your program to lead it that are really gonna be. Passionate and energized about it, cuz that rubs off on people. People buy into people and they buy into people that believe in what they're selling. So find who those people are and put them on your program.

And then I think thirdly, I mean, if there was another tip I'd give, it would genuinely be to get people on your program that have great change management experience. And if they don't have a good change management background, get people that really know how to put the learner at the heart of something they can, they're empathetic.

They can put themselves in the learner's shoes all the way through and think, oh, what would I need at this point? What would I need going into pilot? What would I need coming up to launch? What do I need on day one of my launch day one week, one month, one month six, you have to be able. Have people on the program that all the way along have got that learner in mind and never take that eye off, off the ball with that.

And I think as long as you've got that, as long as you're thinking about the learner, every step of the way, that's just really gonna help. And lastly, I do think that persona work. Is really powerful because that persona work will bring to life. Especially through the early adopter groups, definitely have early adopters cause that will help bring to life for each persona, real life examples of where the learning can help real life pain points, which.

Other people listen to me and think, oh, do you know what? That really annoys me as well? Like, oh, I really hate doing that. Like I wish there was a quicker way to do that process, or I wish there was a way to automate this or make my presentations more impactful, showcase my data better, communicate it better, whatever it might be. So do the persona work, get your early doctors involved and really have those concrete, real life examples that help win other people over.

Adel Nehme: That's really great. And I love just the way you think about the importance of evangelism and marketing and putting the message out there is so important. Maybe somewhere related to this is how do you approach objection, handling when someone is not yet convinced you mentioned here there could be naysayers or could be people who are not convinced. How do you approach these conversations and how are you able to bridge that gap?

Emily Hayward:  Yeah, well, we all you are always gonna have. I don't think it matters. Like if it's an upskilling program, a new piece of technology, a new tool, new process, whatever it might be. Every, every change you, you have those NAS. I think the key thing for me is you gotta have really good concrete reason why.

And I think your why has to be personal. So for us, when we were starting, I think we were thinking about it very generically. Like this is gonna help people be more productive. It's gonna help them win more business. Deliver better client outcomes and be fit for the future. Now, those things sound great, but the end person hearing me saying it is like, yeah, but I don't really know what that means for me.

Like, I still don't understand, like you haven't given me a compelling enough reason why to do it. Cuz productivity, like, what am I gonna be productive in? What am I gonna do faster? Which clients am I gonna impress more? It doesn't mean anything. So I think you have to get to those concrete, real life, real world examples to really bring it to life.

And I, and with that persona work, so we've got a one pager for each of our personas and on those personas, it talks about, you know, it literally says like, I've got it up in front of me. It literally says like what's in it for leaders. And I think you've gotta have that in your back pocket when you're talking to people, whether it's like a leadership forum or a town hall you've gotta have in your back pocket.

What is in it for them? Like what is, what are the, what things really paying them at the minute? What opportunities do they wanna take advantage of, have that in your back pocket. When you go into those conversations and be prepared to just, you don't have to go through like your whole pitch for each persona, you just bring out a few, you know what I mean?

Like for leaders, this might mean this for client facing teams. It might lead this. You don't have to go through an exhaustive list, but just give. Just give them a flavor of what's to come. And then if you get challenged off the back of that still, then you've still got like 10 other answers on your list that you can go, okay, well that didn't win them over, but what about X, Y, Z.

So definitely be prepared with these people. It might even help as well. So at the beginning of change management, when you are mapping out your stakeholders, we often do like re. Tactics and planning. So you think about like, what are all of the challenges that someone's gonna throw at you for this program?

What are they gonna say? Is it gonna be, they don't have enough time. Status quo already works for me. Why do I need to change? I like the process we've already got whatever it might be, write it down and think of like how you would handle it. And then you are going into those conversations with the naysayers prepared.

And then I think lastly, around people that are negative or quite resistant, I am a bit sneaky. And I always think who do those people listen to? Who influence them? Like, if I know as well that I've got particularly like someone that's very resistant, very, and they're very senior. And I know that that person has influence on like hundreds of people underneath them.

I think who would that person listen to? And then I go to the person that they would listen to, who probably is more warm and receptive to what I'm doing. Then I get them on board and then I'd ask them then. And this is part of the executive sponsor role as well within the program. I get them to go, well, we've got this group of stakeholders over here.

They probably won't listen to me cause I'm too low down the pecking order, but they might listen to you and they'll definitely listen to their peer or someone's senior than them. To have a strategy, get other people on board that are gonna evangelize your case and, and bring them around. And if that doesn't work, get their people on board because often, especially if it's like more senior people that are resistant to change the people underneath them are the ones that feel the pain of not being data led most acutely.

So get them on board. And when they soon start hearing that people in numbers are talking about this and it's getting momentum. I mean, they have to stop and listen to it at some point. So if you can't get them directly through having like great retorts, great resistance tactics go around is what I'd advise.

Future of Data Literacy for CBRE

Adel Nehme: That's really awesome. Emily. Now, of course, Emily, as we close out, what is next for the data literacy program at CBRE?

Emily Hayward:  So, of course, I think the big milestone for us is actually launching our program and I'm so excited for it. Like I actually can't wait to show people like what has been months and months of hard work from both CBRS and, and the data camp end.

And also like, can't wait to just see like all the hard work and the input of our remains thing. Early adopter groups come to fruition. Cuz obviously they've been a huge part of us pulling this program together and really making sure that. Learning is relevant and impactful for everyone across our organization.

So we've got the launch at our launch. We've got like a, a great keynote speaker for the first day. We've also got local regional rollouts as well. It was really important for us that this didn't just feel like a great initiative from London and all the other offices just get on board. We really wanted every single office to feel like it was their program for their people, whether you are in Scotland or Manchester, Birmingham, or Dublin, we wanted every single office to have a launch and fill the bus around the data literacy program.

We want them to be excited and for them to feel like this is their program for their people. They own it. And they're just as important as our head office. So everyone feels like they get an equal experience. So we've got the local rollouts. And then I think after the local rollouts, it's about rewarding, like really good use cases and really good success stories, rewarding learners that are going above and beyond with their learning rewarding people that are really putting their learning into practice.

So we're gonna have some like, Giveaways. And we've got like some spotlights planned for like the intranet and at local town halls and stuff to really celebrate people and share good news stories of where there's best practice across the organization. And then finally, I think it's just about making sure that we're taking those checkpoints to stop pause, reflect on how well we've we've done and then look at areas where we might wanna improve.

Cause I think that's really important measuring. I mean, we couldn't really have a data literacy program and not be able to have the data behind it to show whether it's been successful or not. So we're definitely begin to do that. And we're, and looking at where we can strengthen areas we're really good at, but then looking at where some of the gaps are, where do we need to encourage adoption?

Where do we need to give a bit more love and care? Where do we need to perhaps refine and further fine tune? Some of the learning we put on for people. And then I suppose, like once we get to the end of that year, I think year two is then probably cuz cause this year is just about delivering something for everyone.

I think year two will be about actually working with different business units and actually getting into the nuts and bolts of how does this impact, like your people day to day? Like how can we actually impact people on a role and job specific level rather than just a general company wide level?

Adel Nehme: That is awesome.

Call To Action

Thank you so much, Emily, for coming on the show before we wrap up, do you have any final call to action?

Emily Hayward:  You know what I think, you know, if there's anything that people can take away from, this is just be, be enthusiastic about your program. Like find people that are really passionate about what you do and bring them on board and get people on board that are really gonna evangelize. What your program is there to do and evangelize the benefits and bring it to life for people. I think that's like the final note, people will buy into it. If you pull out the what's in it for me factor and make it really relevant to their job. Yeah. I think actually it will stick with like the what's in it for me factor. Cause I think that's the key thing. If you can bring that to life for people every step of the way what's in it for me, what is the benefit? You should be on track to get really good adoption providing that. Obviously you're learning content matches with the what's in it for me statement as well.

Adel Nehme: That is really great. Thank you so much, Emily, for coming on the podcast.

Emily Hayward: Thank you for having me. It's been such a pleasure. Thanks Adel



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