Developing yourself to stay ahead

AM likes to stay ahead with its knowledge and capabilities. It's a necessity in the rapidly changing world we live in. Because the areas we develop now must be optimally prepared for the future. To stay ahead, we invest in the development of our colleagues. We do this through the AM Academy. Josje Hoekveld, Manager of Market Research at AM, lecturer at the Amsterdam School of Real Estate, and guest lecturer at Delft University of Technology, is the driving force behind the workshops and training offerings for AM employees.

The kickoff of the AM Academy took place before the summer of 2023. Josje explains that the AM Academy offers innovative professional training sessions, as well as workshops and lectures focusing on personal development or skills. Josje says, "The AM Academy also includes inspiration sessions, lunch lectures, and workshops. These cover topics such as developing effective leadership, creating more social impact, or elevating sustainability to an even higher level in our projects. Furthermore, we stay up-to-date with courses on the most recent legislation, such as the new environmental law and regulations concerning Building Environmental Performance (MilieuPrestatie Gebouwen, MPG). Additionally, we delve into the latest calculation techniques and financing methods in area development. This is essential knowledge for us as area developers."

Fond of practical tools

Josje explains that the AM Academy serves multiple purposes. "Stagnation is regression, especially in a rapidly evolving field like ours. For instance, in the field of sustainability, we want to continue developing ourselves and remain leaders. Therefore, elevating our level of expertise is one goal. Moreover, it aligns with our culture. AM employees are eager to develop themselves." She notes that her colleagues especially appreciate practical tools. "We take this into account in our training sessions to ensure that the knowledge gained is directly applicable."

A fresh perspective keeps us sharp

Exciting speakers are lined up for the upcoming sessions. Josje says, "Theo Stauttener from Stadkwadraat will provide insights into the latest fiscal and legal aspects of area development, and Saskia Beer will lecture on the approach to area development in transformation areas. Additionally, Marjolein Bongers from House of Social Media will join us. She is an experienced trainer and an authority on LinkedIn, and she will inspire and motivate us to use LinkedIn successfully." Josje emphasizes the importance of an external perspective, saying, "This keeps us sharp. We don't have all the knowledge in-house, so it's important to enrich ourselves by inviting experts."

Sharing our own expertise

Colleagues are enthusiastic about the AM Academy and also approach Josje with ideas for speakers. "We need to balance the number of training sessions, or else it becomes overwhelming." Additionally, AM colleagues share their expertise. "We've done this in the past through lunch lectures. During lunchtime, colleagues could join a session where others briefed them on a specific topic they were working on. We continue this tradition, and there's a lunch lecture scheduled, for example, on how we can further integrate nature inclusivity into our projects. We also focus on concrete skills, such as negotiation techniques or team management."

Thanks to the AM Academy, AM not only develops areas but also its own people

This is how we keep things interesting

The training sessions are deliberately being kept concise. Josje says, "Most of them last for half a day. It's important that it doesn't take up too much time." This way, we keep it engaging, and learning doesn't feel like an obligation. Even though some sessions are mandatory, Josje jokingly mentions that it remains informal: "We don't check attendance. Trust is paramount. If you can't make it, you can also watch many sessions later online." The training sessions are conducted in person during working hours and not through e-learning platforms. Josje explains, "They are physical gatherings at the office. This fosters knowledge sharing and discussion. Colleagues exchange experiences and learn from each other." The initial training sessions were well received, except for one. "For that topic, we misjudged the prior knowledge of the participants. So, we learned from that mistake. Now, we involve people in the planning process. After each session, we evaluate to improve it further next time."

For everyone

For Josje, personal development is also important. "Recently, I focused on developing the skills required for effectively chairing the Employee Council (OR). Good chairmanship involves a lot of aspects to consider. In everyone's role, there's an area where you can further develop yourself. It's fantastic that AM provides employees with these opportunities." Being involved in people's education aligns well with Josje's background: "I come from the academic world, where learning, development, and discovery are ingrained in the DNA. One of the most rewarding aspects of my previous work, and now in my role as a guest lecturer at TU Delft and the Amsterdam School of Real Estate, is guiding students. Teaching them how to conduct proper geographic research and how to use market research for more successful real estate projects. I find it incredibly rewarding to be involved in education again in my current role."

Developing areas and people

Josje plans to further professionalize the AM Academy in the coming months. "We will be using the new learning platform Studytube. This will simplify the organizational aspect significantly. Colleagues can easily enroll and unenroll, and all study materials and videos will be centralized in one place." This way, thanks to the AM Academy, AM continues to develop not only areas but also its own people.