Greystar - Building a learning culture

Helping Greystar build a learning culture that keeps pace with rapid growth – Empowering employees to lead development on their terms through the Hemsley Fraser provision of Learning as a Service.

4 Minute read

29 June 2020

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Helping Greystar build a learning culture that keeps pace with rapid growth



Greystar is a global leader in real estate management and development, headquartered in the US. It expanded so fast through Europe that company values hadn’t yet taken root. Rapidly promoted colleagues were calling out for leadership development. It was time for an overarching learning and development strategy.


Greystar is ambitious about growing its business - a global professional rental housing platform with expert local presence. But it faced low staff engagement with only ad hoc learning happening. Technically excellent specialists, promoted fast into senior roles, found themselves running functions without consistent management experience or training. Greystar needed to focus on management and leadership in order to continue its upwards trajectory.


Initially, Greystar planned to build a simple learning library to support its overarching L&D strategy. But working with Hemsley Fraser and 5App it realised that rolling out the Digital Hub, with learning content and engagement services, would enable Greystar to power a new learning culture. The Greystar Business School launched successfully with high levels of engagement at the outset, but as the novelty wore off so did the engagement. The lightbulb moment came when the company decided to look at it not just as a corporate university, but as a learning and communications hub. The L&D team began curating and creating playlists combining current news items with supplementary learning modules that enticed users into the Business School. This contextual approach of blending topical items, learning resources, fun social content and corporate messaging, sparked a month on month increase in terms of engagement and learning assets being opened and undertaken. With more than 2,100 learning assets to choose from, employees are now empowered to lead their own development, in their own time and language.


Greystar has demonstrated that an L&D strategy can achieve far more than just improving capability and performance. It has built a truly holistic platform combining L&D and communication to not only increase interest in, and engagement with, learning, but help to further reinforce its values and create a collaborative culture. In Europe, Greystar has gone from low engagement with both L&D and its values, to a culture where everyone feels they have the opportunity to develop and have a clear understanding of the company’s purpose and goals.


A year after the Greystar Business School launched an employee survey found:

  • 89% of the workforce accessed the learning.
  • A 24% improvement in performance and productivity.
  • A 90% increase in understanding of Greystar goals and objectives.
  • A 35% reduction in the likelihood of employees leaving Greystar.