Companies in our industry live and die on their ability to develop solid relationships with their clients – and the key to a quality relationship is trust. This is also true of the relationships that develop within the agency itself: peer-to-peer relationships amongst colleagues; team-to-team relationships amongst sales squads; and mentoring relationships with management.
The foundation of corporate culture
Our relationships within the business set the tone for the relationships we have with our clients. This is what builds corporate culture – the beliefs and behaviour within our office that set the tone for how the entire organisation operates.
They also reinforce our reputation in the market, as both a quality employer and a professional service provider. While many businesses consider corporate culture an afterthought, we’ve always approached our values as an integral aspect of who we are and how we operate. It’s provided direction for so many aspects of the agency, from strategic planning and franchise development to customer service and hiring practices.
The process of discovering your own corporate culture should be collaborative, as it’s crucial to have staff buy-in to reinforce the authenticity of the work environment and behaviour.
Originally developed a number of years ago, by the franchise principals and a staff representative from each office, our values are based on individual, community and client expectations. This inclusive process encouraged us to look carefully at important growth factors, both within our individual roles and the industry at large.
As a result, our ethics and guiding principles are obvious to anyone that comes into contact with the Peter Blackshaw brand. Our culture also guides our day-to-day behaviour, whether engaging with our community or our clients. We’re strongly influenced by the legacy of our traditions, while maintaining a strong focus on the future – particularly achieving results that set a standard for the wider industry.
Guiding behaviour with environment
We pride ourselves on a strong work culture that values positivity and collegiate support. We’ve taken the time to invest in specific forums, such our Principals Retreat, to ensure that we’re all on the same page and working towards common goals. You can feel a high level of energy in the office and everyone seems excited about what the future holds and where we’re going as a business.
I could say we’re fortunate to have such a positive atmosphere that’s noticed by anyone who visits us but fortune has nothing to do with it. Our office culture is something we’ve consciously built by design – from our original Manuka office to our franchise offices throughout Canberra.
We’ve carefully and deliberately built the culture of our business and our people by setting clear standards of behaviour, service and performance. We actively seek staff that will fit naturally into our existing culture and are drawn to qualities such a positive attitude, enthusiasm, authenticity, honesty, respect, ambition and a strong work ethic. It’s important to encourage an atmosphere in which open communication, teamwork and dependability are valued.
Responding to change
Our values are integral to who we are as an employer and service provider, we continue to be influenced by wider cultural, social and technological trends. While our key staff success factors have remained largely unchanged – hard work and quality client service – we’ve noticed that versatility and visual/digital media skills have become more important.
The result of maintaining a credible and authentic corporate culture is that our clients receive consistent, reliable service and our staff remain confident and capable. It’s also contributed to the development of a solid business that has retained loyal clients and high staff retention over the past 30 years. In fact, the longest serving member of Peter Blackshaw is our Managing Director (who also happens to be my husband, not that I’m biased).
We’re proud of the culture we’ve developed, in which our staff have established solid careers and achieved a range of personal goals (more than a few have even met their partners in our office).
An important aspect of our culture is to recognise, reward and celebrate the wins that our staff have achieved throughout the year. Our values are so vital, they form part of our performance review documentation and underscore our Annual Awards Night criteria – which states, ‘shows leadership by demonstrating PBRE values in everyday work.’
While Peter Blackshaw has always held some form of annual awards night, in recent years it has become quite a grand event. From the very beginning, the event has been designed to ensure that every staff member has an eligible award to work towards within their office, then be recognised for at a wider corporate level.
The event is carefully planned with a different theme and location each year that reflects where we are as a business. Collaboration comes into play again, as a representative of each office is on the organising committee that makes these decisions. This year’s Garden Party theme (hosted by the Pialligo Estate) provided a spring renewal message that set a perfect tone for where our business is in 2019.
It takes a team
Our Annual Awards Night would not be possible without the support of many staff, participants and sponsors. I’d like to thank our tireless Awards Committee, which generously provided their time and input over a 6-month planning period: Laura Johnson, Sarah Smith, Alice Mohr, Alyssa Reid, Jack Doyle, Melaia Tonga and Rachel Tynan.
We’re also fortunate to have a supportive group of sponsors, who provide us with their expertise both in our day-to-day business and each year in ensuring the awards night is one to remember. Thank you to Allhomes, SATS, BMT, ACT Property Inspections (Robert Lowe), Property Insurance Plus, Residential Reports, MyConnect and Leader Graphics.
Special mention goes to our Operations Manager Jo Hope – my rock through everything and someone that I’m grateful to have by my side each day. This amazing woman has ensured a smooth transition, since Andrew and I took over the business earlier this year, by providing insight into so many aspects of the company and helping us to achieve our goals over the past six months.