BresicWhitney was born in 2003 from the vision of founders Ivan Bresic and Shannan Whitney to create an agency that led change and transformed the real estate experience for consumers and its employees. With a belief in collective leadership and a willingness to not only embrace but to create and lead change, the firm has just been named in Australia’s Top 50 Great Places to Work List, released yesterday.
Co-Founder of BresicWhitney, Shannan Whitney said that the award was both “validating” and “satisfying”. He said: “Our main priority here [at BW] is culture…We prioritise and see the value in workplace and culture and in my experience, it is lacking in the industry.”
“I can only say that when I first started out as a young and impressionable sales person those messages based on financial success are the same that I still see today. I didn’t feel like the messaging I was getting from the industry about what ‘success’ meant was in line my personal ethics…I ended up disenchanted and confused and I decided BW [BresicWhitney] would be a vehicle to change that.”
In entering the Great Places to Work Awards, which spans all industries, Shannan said, “We were less interested in positioning ourselves as better than other real estate businesses but against businesses in general. We have made organisational culture a headline priority at BW and we have done for a long time. Having culture as a central focus has enabled us to gain an identity as a brand that is different to the rest of the industry.”
“The real estate industry tends to prioritise and measure success through financial means…to us we want to create a culture where people can be the best they can be and contribute to the vision of the business and participate as agents and as diverse and talented individuals, but perhaps we take more of a holistic view of what is important.”
Having grown to 139 employees across 5 locations in Sydney, BresicWhitney offers an employer brand as impressive as the brand presented to the marketplace with a defined focus on career progression, mentoring, benefits and diversity.
“For us as an organisation, going on the journey of measuring ourselves against all different types of organisations was really important because it [The Great Places to Work Australia Awards] tries to understand what is a great place to work from the perspective of culture and engagement – so we were really interested in that.”
Recognising that leadership can come from any chair in the organisation, the BresicWhitney approach to problem-solving is collaborative and engages team members at all levels and across all departments to innovate on current business imperatives with further exploration and initiative followed up by management teams with a focus on implementation.
“What we continually prioritise is that collective vision to work towards. We see our business as a collective of different people – not just real estate agents. For a successful business and healthy culture, we need contribution from a wide range of people, across a diverse range of backgrounds and disciplines. That sense of collective leadership is important as we grow and face the challenges of disruption, changing marketplaces and growth.”
“What we are trying to build in a healthy organisation is trust – so our operations team needs to work respectfully and harmoniously with sales team; the sales team and the property management team, the finance team and so forth. What we are aiming for is equilibrium and trust across all the departments – and it is not necessary that someone be an agent because we are able to apply talent without the hierarchy and the messaging around superstar agents”.
“We have been working and prioritising leadership culture as individuals and as a collective since 2012. We are always reviewing, reflecting, learning, changing, creating and innovating and measuring ourselves as an organisation – not as a ‘real estate business. We want people to be able to say ‘I want to work there” and so we need to create the environment to attract talented and creative people to the industry.”
2017 is the third time BresicWhitney have entered the awards and in the most competitive category (100 -1000 employees) they have achieved their highest ranking at Australia’s 22nd best place to work.