For every company, especially within commercial real estate, a key determinant of success is an effective culture. Culture drives internal engagement, guides strategy, and impacts every facet of client experience.
According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), “An organization’s culture consists of beliefs and values established by leaders and then communicated throughout the company, ultimately shaping employee perceptions, behaviors and understanding. Organizational culture sets the context for everything an enterprise does.”
While there are several organizational structures that are utilized in the marketplace, companies that are intentional about culture quickly move to the forefront.
Best Practices and Real Estate Company Culture
Cultivating company culture requires an understanding of the industry’s best practices – not the most common practices.
Q: Why do clients hire a commercial broker instead of transacting on their own?
A. They understand that value is maximized by having the right representation from the right firm and the right broker.
At Caton Commercial, best practices can be distilled into two pinnacle statements:
1. Brokers are client-centered fiduciaries.
Caton brokers are dedicated to placing their client’s best interest above all else, providing excellence to every client, every time through trusted advisory and intelligent solutions. Brokers create a competitive edge within the marketplace for clients through the full support of Caton’s platform which includes marketing across all channels, transaction coordination, training, encouragement, and more. In addition to the regular course of inter-company communication, formal brokerage team meetings are held monthly in which brokers can share assignment needs with each other. Caton Commercial Real Estate champions collaboration, co-brokerage, and the power of referrals, both within the company and within the market.
In practice this plays out as the ‘best team on the field’ concept, where brokers refer deals that require specialization in another product type or geography to another internal team. According to Matthew E. Drane, Vice President Broker Development, “If you do what is right for the client, the business will come back around. If not, you’re just learning at the client’s expense.”
2. Brokers receive support and infrastructure to promote success.
For a broker to be client-centered, the entire company must be client-centered. Systems, processes, staffing, and resources are many of the ways in which the company works to ensure brokers are equipped with every tool possible to effectively serve their clients, and to focus on client and deal centric activities versus back-of-house administrative activities. The company also continuously creates opportunities for learning and skills development.
Teamwork goes far beyond the silo of an individual’s business when a company creates a culture of collaboration. Successes are celebrated. Ideas are shared; innovation is encouraged. For brokers who are new to the field, coaching and mentoring are provided, along with the opportunity to work with an established team. New brokerage team members – and Caton has hired four of them in the past four months – are attracted to experience, competency, integrity, and collaboration.
The Ripple Effect of a Collaborative Culture
As teams embrace the concepts of collaboration and client-centered fiduciary representation, the benefits to the company amplify and extend to the broader geographic and real estate community. Leadership roles are strengthened in organizations and associations. Cities and regions are impacted by the involvement of collaborative, service-oriented real estate professionals who are dedicated to making the surrounding business community the best it can be. For Caton Commercial Real Estate, their involvement has included NICAR, CAR, CCIM, ICSC, chambers of commerce, economic development departments, and many other community and charitable organizations.
Whether serving national or individual property owners and tenants, regional investors, municipalities, or international entrants to the Chicago market – Caton believes that collaboration is at the core of a winning culture.