Prioritising people: Laura McKay

Creating a strong culture is key in any and every business. Without it employees can be left uninspired and perform well below their best. Highland Property Group General Manager Laura McKay shares how they foster a robust culture among employees who become even stronger advocates for the agency.

What three points/words best describe the culture in your business and why?

  • Progressive
  • Inclusive
  • Family/community  

Highland Property Group firmly prioritises its people and building a strong, inclusive culture based on shared goals and family values.

This has proved especially important with the advent of COVID-19, as working collectively allowed us to continue and flourish personally and professionally. 

Some of the things we do to build our culture include:

  • Year-round programs to engage staff, including regular team building
  • Quality recruitment  
  • Promoting employee wellbeing with fitness sessions
  • Giving back through community initiatives

What impact does culture have on your business’s success?

Having a happy and energetic group of people collaborating is the foundation of our success.

A strong company culture turns team members into company advocates and helps us retain the best people in the industry.

I also believe a positive culture increases performance and employee wellbeing, which are the pillars of a successful business.  

What do you do day-to-day to maintain a positive culture in your business?

Over the years, we have found that we talk about our culture less, but it is stronger than ever.

We have a weekly schedule that gives the team plenty of options for coming together, from weekly surf lessons and Friday morning boot camps through to community charity events.  

We develop our people and reward them well.

Highland’s career path has seen the creation of 11 equity partners across our three offices.

Each acts as a strong role model and mentor to aspiring, talented agents with big dreams.

Equally importantly, the equity partnership engenders enormous loyalty while providing a greater breadth of leadership.

This keeps the Highland brand and culture firmly on point.

How do you approach teaching your business’s culture to newcomers? 

We have a structured onboarding program for all newcomers to the business.

Each newcomer is allocated a senior agent to shadow and act as a mentor to ensure they are trained in the Highland processes, experience our culture first-hand, and feel welcome.

By the end of the first week, employees have a clear understanding of the company’s expectations, goals, values, and they will have started assimilating into the culture.   

Explain a time internal culture felt ‘off track’ and how you corrected it? 

COVID-19 was a time when culture waned due to the pressure that this put on the industry.

We put our people first and successfully navigated Highland through each challenge, ensuring no job losses and a safe return-to-work environment.

It takes strong leadership to dig deep and emerge on top of unforeseen circumstances such as COVID-19. 

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Deputy Editor at Elite Agent.