Professional development is critical for a services firm. Our consultants need to be highly trained to advise clients and develop solutions. This is particularly true in the rapidly evolving field of sustainability consulting, where accepted standards are continually refined and updated. BrownFlynn annually updates its Firm dashboard, which outlines organizational objectives; team members develop their own personal dashboards that align with the Firm dashboard and include personal development goals and expectations for the calendar year.

For example, since sustainability reporting and GRI training both play a significant role in BrownFlynn’s business, all consultants are required to complete BrownFlynn’s GRI G4 certified two-day training course. To date, 100 percent of our team has completed training. Over the last year, we also have required all client-facing consultants and team members to pass the G4 Exam. We are proud to report that 83 percent of our team has passed the exam.

We conduct biannual performance reviews for every employee to measure progress on goals and accomplishments, and as a formal venue for discussion. We track employee training to ensure our employees can achieve the personal development goals on their personal dashboards. Employees can attend conferences or classes aligned with their development needs and they have the opportunity to contribute to thought leadership articles and conferences to develop professional writing and public speaking skills.

Every junior-level team member has a senior team member as a mentor. These mentors work closely with their mentees, allowing for learning and development to take place every day. Mentors are an integral part of developing a mentee’s personal dashboard, and lead the mentee’s review process. Beyond working closely, mentors are responsible for checking in with mentees, not just to discuss work-related issues, but also to build a personal relationship and ensure mentees bring their ‘whole self’ to work every day. For 2017, the Firm set a goal of at least six meetings per year between mentors and mentees.

G4-LA9, G4-LA11
Professional Development
Indicators & Performance
Key Performance Indicators 2013 Performance 2014 Performance 2015 Performance 2016 Performance
Average Employee Training Hours
Principal  2.00 FTE, 3.25 average hours  2.00 FTE, 6.00 average hours  2.00 FTE, 7.13 average hours  2.00 FTE, 4.00 average hours
Director  1.00 FTE, 0.00 average hours  2.88 FTE, 7.22 average hours  3.00 FTE, 10.75 average hours  3.00 FTE, 26.67 average hours
Senior Consultant  4.50 FTE, 31.06 average hours  3.02 FTE, 27.81 average hours  3.00 FTE, 54.00 average hours  4.00 FTE, 19.06 average hours
Associate Consultant/Analyst  3.53 FTE, 10.04 average hours  4.79 FTE, 4.80 average hours  5.125 FTE, 54.56 average hours  6.65 FTE, 28.78 average hours
Employees Receiving Reviews 100% 100% 100% 100%

Since transitioning to new time tracking software in 2016, we can distinguish between training received and training provided for team members. We ask employees to track professional development hours in four categories: attended training; self-directed learning; attended conference; and mentoring/performance reviews. This has given us a better idea of how employees are spending their time for professional development, and helps identify potential gaps among individuals and position level.