First and foremost, we’re about being human, as much as conducting business. Going through a global pandemic together is about as human as you can get. It shifted the line between the professional and the personal for most individuals, and collectively. That line is vital to maintain, but being flexible, and adaptable on where the line is with your workforce has proven itself to be an essential piece of keeping the ship on course during this time.
Throughout the pandemic, I have seen our property management, accounting and brokerage teams fully embrace and manage continued waves of change. Whether it’s detailed communications with clients and tenants, or internally adapting the methods and technology necessary to do business in a remote world. And doing so effectively. (Not easy to do!) Change management has come from top-down buy-in from start to finish at the executive level of the company. You can move mountains when leadership is ‘captain’ at the helm. I’ve seen the opposite in other workplaces, and there is a strong body of research which shows how difficult it is to find success and overall happiness without buy-in.
We don’t want our staff to just survive - we want them to have the tools to stay ahead, to stay focused, and to be real and take time where it’s needed to say - take care of kids, or family, or themselves. In the arena of commercial real estate, there is always *always!* work to be done. This makes prioritizing life / work balance an important value not to take for granted. Concretely, this can be something small like a Director encouraging people to take PTO when they felt they didn’t have time. But it’s also redoing budgets for clients AND helping them access video conferencing platforms. It’s providing ergonomic equipment for home use, and concurrently putting measures in place for staff to visit tenants and properties in ways that are safe for all involved. It’s adapting in person staff fun time to keep company culture alive and well. Moving forward, it’s being thoughtful and intentional about return-to-work planning. We actively seek and listen for input on what and how we run the company.
When a company doesn’t invest in a whole approach to employee effectiveness and overall happiness those organizations can end up hemorrhaging staff buy-in, and company culture. It can create a toxic work environment, or high turnover. When we hire, we want to hire for the long run – that is the true ROI of running a strong company – do they want to be here and work hard? When leadership shows up for its staff, sets the bar, uses effective tools that can be improved, challenged, and refined, and provides support to meet those expectations, you can see the results. In a pandemic, and post-pandemic world it means clients and tenants are taken care of and staff are strong despite external adversity and internal change.
My favorite part of working for NAI Elliott is the focus I get to put into the core pieces of this manifesto value - staff wellbeing, training, effective tools and overall happiness every day. Because, as Simon Sinek says, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy who you are.” So regardless of our differences, collectively, we are our people in vision and always striving to in practice - and we wouldn’t want it any other way.