How does your company go about winning the “Best Company to Work For” award? First, you have to survive entering the contest. Seriously. If you want to win the award for the wrong reasons, the employees will smell a dirty rat, roll their eyes and tell it like it is…on the application. So, its no small decision to enter.
Today, we are celebrating Cresa Partners, a 23-employee corporate real estate consulting firm who was selected as Minnesota’s Best Small Company to Work for. They actually look forward to the application process because they live and breathe good leadership at every level of the firm: from the front desk to the partners.
The center spread of this month’s Minnesota Business Magazine features this photo of the proud Cresa leadership team. The bright blue bow tie at the center of the portrait is an iconic image in-and-of-itself: glowing under the smile of my good friend Jim Vos.
Jim and I went to college together and we’ve supported each other through three business downturns over the past 25 years. I’ve admired Cresa for their passionate adherence to maintaining a positive company culture — one that adds psychic value to the people in the firm, regardless of the health of the wildly fluctuating corporate real estate market.
The Best Companies to Work For honor was no surprise to their employees, clients or peers. They’ve won awards like this before, because of a team-wins culture that radiates goodness — delivering excellence and generosity, in ways that are fair and consistent for everyone within their path. That’s no small task in an industry that’s dominated by a commission-driven compensation model, which often creates adversarial tenant/landlord/consultant/broker relationships. “Our goal is to produce a fair negotiation where both the tenant and the landlord will refer us to their friends,” Jim explained. “At the core of our philosophy is do the right thing — for clients, landlords, each other and the community.” It’s a simple values statement that spills goodness down the hall, throughout the building and out into the streets.
Everyone at Cresa is encouraged to serve on non-profit boards and donate regularly to local causes. The partners host monthly lunches for the staff to connect and build cultural income. Recently the lunch included preparing meals at Feed My Starving Children. But not at the expense of doing well in the business — the firm routinely tops the charts in client retention and profitability within the global Cresa Partners enterprise.
Good leaders recognize that a strong, positive company culture will endure the inevitable ups and downs of business. And they cultivate the psychic income that helps employees feel they are a part of a best company to work for — even if they don’t win an award.
Drop me a note and share how you build positive cultural income within your organization.