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A Simple Equation for an Outstanding Company Culture

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By Shay Hughes

Even before opening Hughes Marino, we always had an intense desire to break the mold and revolutionize our antiquated industry. We were determined to start a company that didn’t yet exist in the cut-throat and oftentimes unethical industry of commercial real estate and hoped it would be a breath of fresh air for both team members and clients.

We wanted to create a company that was built on a foundation of strong core values and an amazing company culture, where our team would feel more like a family, rather than coworkers in cubicles competing against each other. We also wanted to be confident that our clients would receive outstanding service no matter whom they were speaking with, and walk away with an inspiring, positive impression of our impeccable team and best-in-class service.

It’s funny how it works sometimes. By focusing less on financial gains and more on building the most amazing team we could envision, we’ve achieved great success, both from a financial and growth perspective, and also by creating an award-winning culture. A byproduct of following our instincts in what we believed was the right way to grow a company, we are humbled and honored to be recognized as a leader in company culture nationwide:

#7 Best Workplace in the Nation – Fortune Magazine

#3 Top Company Culture in the Nation (Medium Companies) – Entrepreneur

#1 Best Place to Work – Business Journals in every region we serve

What does company culture have to do with success in commercial real estate? It has positioned us as a disruptive leader in our industry, attracting both impressive talent and clients eagerly knocking on our doors, all the while enjoying the journey alongside a team who we consider family. The good news for other companies is that this business model can be replicated by any business in any industry.

Our beautiful workspaces are beacons of inspiration to both our team members and clients. Our dedicated practices of appreciation and recognition in the workplace are constantly driving our team to deliver excellence. We believe that happy team members make happy clients, and the flood of emails we receive from clients expressing both gratitude and awe of the service they’ve received (and the team members they’ve interacted with) proves that theory perfectly. In fact, many of our clients are so inspired by the company culture they experience first-hand when working with our team that they ask us to help them emulate what we’ve built at Hughes Marino.

As you can imagine, an outstanding company culture is a vital part of the equation for the success of any business, and I am regularly asked how we’ve developed such an outstanding culture at Hughes Marino. While nothing great comes easy, what I can say is that it all boils down to a very simple equation:

Core Values + Amazing People = Outstanding Company Culture

Here are two important aspects to our equation of success that have helped us cultivate an award-winning company culture.

Develop Meaningful Core Values

While some businesses have core values on their website as a way to fulfill a requirement, quantifying what values mean the most to you and your team is a great way to solidify the “backbone” of your company. These values can also act as a compass to direct every aspect of your operations. At Hughes Marino, our ten core values guide how we conduct business, how we treat our clients and team and how we hire new team members. With the first two core values being “always do the right thing” and “deliver excellence in everything we do,” we can never go wrong! For companies that haven’t yet defined core values, here are a few questions we asked ourselves that may help you get started, too!

Who is at your company today?
What attracted everyone to work there?
What are the qualities that bind you together as human beings?

Bringing your entire team together to identify and discuss answers from these three questions can point you in a great direction towards developing core values that can help guide your hiring, team retention and the way you do business!

Build and Nurture an Amazing Team

The first step to building a dream team is to never compromise on hiring, no matter how dire the situation is to fill a position. Protect your team like family, and interview as if you were searching for someone to live in your own home. We would rather have our existing team members wear many hats than settle on hiring a new team member that won’t mesh with our cherished company culture. In the end, it will save a lot of painful and awkward situations, not to mention the time spent hiring, training and nurturing a not-so-perfect fit, as that is valuable time that cannot be taken back. After all, those individuals deserve to be working at a place where they can thrive and belong too, so by never compromising on hiring, it’s a win-win for both parties!

Another way we filter candidates is by ensuring they share our same core values. We have found that by placing our values out into the world, they attract people that share common values and are eager to be a part of what we are building. Once you find and establish an all-star team, be sure to nurture them to ensure they feel fulfilled and happy to come to work every single day. What activities does your company organize to nurture a positive atmosphere? By providing weekly groceries, hosting monthly birthday celebrations, organizing all-team events and having ping-pong and billiards tournaments, we never pass up an opportunity to have our team bond as a family and appreciate the amazing group of people that they get to work with every day!

Culture is what you make it to be, and it begins with values and people. We took a major risk when we set out to disrupt the status quo of the commercial real estate industry, and I am so thankful we took that leap many years ago. By establishing our ten core values and finding the most amazing people possible, we are making a powerfully positive impact in our industry and are grateful for the success we’ve achieved on behalf of our clients as a high-performing team. Is it time to transform your company culture? By following this simple equation, I can ensure the possibilities to finding success are endless!

This article originally appeared in CSQ Magazine.

Shay Hughes is president, COO and owner of Hughes Marino, an award-winning commercial real estate company specializing in tenant representation and building purchases with offices in San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Seattle. Shay writes about business leadership and company culture on her blog, Lead from Within. Contact Shay at 1-844-NO-CONFLICT or shay@hughesmarino.com to learn more.



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