Professional development is critical for a professional services firm; 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 also 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 attend BrownFlynn’s GRI G4 certified two-day training course. Looking ahead, we will be setting a goal for all consultants to pass the GRI G4 exam.

Our senior leadership conducts mid-year and end-of-year performance reviews for all employees to measure progress on goals and accomplishments, and as a formal venue for discussion. We track employee training to ensure that our employees are able to achieve the personal development goals listed on their personal dashboards. For example, employees can attend conferences or classes aligned with their development needs. Employees also 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 level team member as a mentor. These mentors often work closely with the mentee, 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.

G4-LA9, G4-LA11
Professional Development
Indicators & Performance
Key Performance Indicators 2013 Performance 2014 Performance
Average Employee Training Hours
Principal  2.00 FTE, 3.25 average hours  2.00 FTE, 6.00 average hours
Director  1.00 FTE, 0.00 average hours  2.88 FTE, 7.22 average hours
Senior Consultant  4.50 FTE, 31.06 average hours  3.02 FTE, 27.81 average hours
Associate Consultant/Analyst  3.53 FTE, 10.04 average hours  4.79 FTE, 4.80 average hours
Employees Receiving Reviews 100% 100%

This report presents our first time disclosing G4-LA9, average training hours for consulting team members. In reviewing our training data, several learnings emerged:

  • In 2013, two new senior consultants and three new analysts attended BrownFlynn’s two-day GRI G4 Certified Training Course. In 2014, one new director and one new senior consultant attended this same training. The number of BrownFlynn consultants who attended this two-day session dramatically influenced our average training hours per employee category over the two-year reporting period.

  • BrownFlynn’s system for tracking professional development hours was not designed to differentiate between training received and training provided; therefore, identifying hours specific to G4-LA9 proved challenging. Going forward, BrownFlynn intends to reevaluate how employees enter time related to professional development to facilitate tracking and reporting on progress.