Why Building a Real Estate Office Culture is Important
“Corporate culture is the only sustainable competitive advantage that is completely within the control of the entrepreneur. Develop a strong corporate culture first and foremost.”
-David Cummings, Co-founder of Pardot
Every business has a culture -- it’s not something you choose to have or not. Culture always exists, regardless of how much effort you put into creating one. It seeps through every part of your business and can act as a springboard, propelling your business forward.
What is a company culture?
Culture a set of rules that governs people’s behavior: how to act around colleagues, how to act around clients, what to value, what to focus on, etc… Culture is an expression of accepted norms and values within a group.
As the person who runs the company, you have a lot of influence on the company culture.
Why is this important?
Well, culture is often seen as the glue that holds a company together. Any business -- and certainly a real estate business -- consists of many different individuals.
They all have their own background, their own ideas and their own culture that drives their behavior and the way they contribute to your bottom line.
That means, you need to have something that holds everything together. You need culture to create a feeling of belonging and togetherness for your agents.
If the way they do business does not have a consistent culture behind it, you’re likely to lose out. Your brand will suffer. You’ll find it hard to differentiate yourself from competitors.
So that leads us to the question: What kind of culture do you want your business to have?
According to researchers at the University of Michigan, there are four types of organizational culture. Which one describes your business best?
Doing things together
Doing things right
There’s no need to try and squeeze your business culture into just one category -- most companies fit different types at the same time. Nonetheless, the different types of culture will help you think about the kind of culture you want to create within your brokerage.
Culture will define how you tackle issues and processes in your business. Here’s a few examples of how culture can affect decision making.
The way you lead your business will have a huge impact on the business culture, so it’s good to take a moment and think about what you want to achieve through your leadership. Do you want to inspire, innovate, include others, etc…?
For instance, if your business has been struggling, it might make sense to put a lot of effort into inspiring others, reminding them of the business’ core values. It also makes sense to review agent’s individual goals and makes sure they’re aligned with the wider company culture and goals.
Your company culture is crucial to your recruitment efforts. Culture is like an ad for your business… one that can both attract and repel candidates.
Ultimately, being aware of your organizational culture will help you match the right candidate to your business and recruit people who fit in. This will make your agents feel more at home, which ultimately should have a positive influence on your turnover.
So one way of thinking about this is: what kind of agent would fit into my culture?Conversely, if you’re looking to change your business culture, you can change the kind of people you hire. So if you have outlined a new culture you want to create within you brokerage, ask yourself this: ‘What kind of agent would contribute to the new culture? What kind of agent would just continue the old culture?”
How to build your culture?
You as a business owner set the tone -- and your agents follow. As such it makes sense to take control and build the culture you want. Bear in mind that this is a long-term process. Changing a company’s culture doesn’t happen overnight and required a lot of work, every day.