How Orchard Offers a Turnkey Solution to Employee Growth

Orchard isn’t only helping clients build real estate equity — the company is also supporting its team to develop career equity through training, support and opportunities for advancement.

Written by Brigid Hogan
Published on Jun. 26, 2023
How Orchard Offers a Turnkey Solution to Employee Growth
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Orchard’s work is all about constant movement — simplifying the process for buying and selling a home, building pathways to growth for their employees and enabling managers to lead effective and empowered teams.

When Rob Intrieri joined the company in 2021, he was happy to take on a new challenge as an individual contributor after years of managing hotel teams. His new role as a senior project manager at Orchard allowed him to have an impact and work with leaders across markets. The following year, Intrieri was given the opportunity to make another transition — this time back into people management as the senior manager of transaction operations.

Like every new manager at Orchard, Intrieri entered into the company’s manager training program. Even after years of managing people elsewhere, Intrieri found that the experience offered room for him to explore new management skills and pass on valuable advice and tactics. The structured framework of the program offers managers the support they need to build confidence and autonomy with a commitment to ongoing learning and open communication between leaders.

“We have the chance to rehearse our skills and build something we can apply to our teams,” he said. “The program emphasizes that a manager needs to be a driver, not a passenger, which allows me to see that I’m making decisions for my team and gives me the freedom to do what I think is right.”

 

A Clear Pathway to Learning

According to Head of People Anna Pearson, Orchard’s combination of experienced leadership with an entrepreneurial startup culture uniquely empowers the team to offer rapid growth opportunities grounded in strong support. This enables people to feel confident in a new role and find success.

When Pearson herself first joined Orchard in April 2020, she helped to build the first iteration of the manager training program as an early stretch project. “I was eager to learn what it takes to scale a company,” she said. “A huge part of the appeal of that for me was the learning and growth opportunities.”

As Pearson supported the company’s then chief people officer in building out the training curriculum, she saw the speed of iteration and fast pace of growth first hand. She soon found herself helping run the first version of the training program for managers in 2020, which has evolved to become the ecosystem of support it is today.

“When we stepped back to look at the core elements we needed to include, we recognized four pieces — cultivating talent, driving results, creating alignment, and building trust and an inclusive culture,” Pearson said.

In order to build those four elements into the foundation of management culture at Orchard, Pearson and her team focused on coaching, feedback, high performance team management, employee development, and hiring effectively as the key modules. 

“It was really important to us from day one to create opportunities for managers to learn from each other,” she said. “We made a really intentional choice to have all of our cohorts include representatives from across the company, so you might have an engineering manager, a sales manager and an operational leader together.”

 

 

RELATED READINGLooking To Grow? Put Down Roots at Orchard.

 

Making Moving Easy

Lynne Mullins joined Orchard as a showing agent on the same day as Pearson in April 2020.

“I came in with ambition to reach more ambitious goals. My managers and HR business partners guided me to get to that next level,” she said. “They have helped me build the confidence to reach the next position.”

Today, Mullins works as a regional manager and credits those clear steps — from early access to manager modules while still working as an individual contributor to conversations with people working in the types of positions she was interested in taking on — as helping her achieve her advancement goals.

Once working in her management role, Mullins found the support continued. 

“I took a lot of value out of the open discussions in which we were able to be really honest with each other,” she said. “The best part, though, has been our manager dens, or monthly, topic-based forums for manager support and discussion, where we are able to get peer support and different points of view on our work. This is one of the first places I’ve worked with that level of honesty and where we are really striving to elevate each other.”

 

Orchard office

 

Finding a Home at Orchard

Intrieri, Pearson and Mullins have all found more than a great path to professional development at Orchard. They agree that Orchard’s candid and open culture has built an environment in which it is safe to share goals, navigate challenges and help others advance.

“On my team, I have helped a number of people from different positions identify where they want to grow and supported them as they move into different roles,” Mullins said. “We are getting the right people into the right positions, where they feel like they’re really contributing to the company.”

According to Pearson, Mullins’ approach isn’t an anomaly — it’s baked into Orchard’s vision for advancement.

“Your current manager is your champion and partner in thinking about your development, even if that ultimately results in someone leaving their current role and growing into another thing that they might be interested in,” she said. “We want managers to help each employee grow and reach their next goal.”

 

There’s something special at Orchard that people are able to be open and transparent about how we want to help each other grow.”

 

“That transparency is why we see people forging their own paths at Orchard,” Intrieri agreed. “Being good at your job is only part of the conversation here — the other part is taking the time to focus on your development and how you are taking ownership and cultivating your own talent.”

For those looking to pursue aspirations and help others do the same, Orchard might just be a great new home in which to grow.

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images by Orchard

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