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January 18, 2011

Office Culture, An Important Key to Success

by mark mclean

This morning I had a meeting with a new agent who will be joining our office next month. We had a couple of interviews and I even invited her to one of our sales meetings so she could get a real feel for the office and the agents.  We were talking about company branding and she mentioned that one of the things that really solidified her decision to join was that while our company name was synonymous with professionalism, knowledge and experience in the Toronto market, it was the fact that the agents actually believed in the company and that their enthusiasm showed.

Believe it or not, this didn’t happen by chance. The management group in our company strives to foster a sense of belonging, fun, mentoring, collaboration and even family.  It is a strategy that has served us well. We have a high retention rate, our agents are passionate about their careers and that passion shows. They help spread the word to those out there that are missing these key ingredients.

What I am talking about, of course, is our office culture. Simply speaking, it is our personality, our values, our ethics and our behaviour. For our company, it is best described in a few simple words, delivered by our president at the start of every new agent training session- Have fun and make money!

Many career experts rank corporate culture as one of the key ingredients of high productivity. Studies have proven that comfortable and unique surroundings keep employees at the office longer. It can foster competitiveness and increase the probability of employee interaction. And while environment is important, a good office culture also includes excellent training and skills development, and interaction with top management.

There are some agents out there, who don’t care about their physical surroundings or who they work with. Some are good producers who have home or mobile offices, while others just do a few deals a year. At the end of the day they are simply looking for a high commission plan and a place to hang their licence. The brand they work for is not important to them. They essentially work on their own and are left to their own devises. This has not been a model that ever attracted me. I need the camaraderie that exists in a busy office. I thrive off the interaction and exchange of ideas. If I have questions, I know I can get immediate answers because I have built rapport with my office mates.

The bottom line is that companies don’t grow and prosper solely based on commission splits, likewise for beautiful magazines or glossy brochures. They thrive because their agents talk about how much fun they are having and really, isn’t that the key?

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