“You can’t buy culture,” Raine & Horne NSW network manager Travis Wentriro said, and according to him, you can’t underestimate the role it plays in business success, either.
It’s always been top of mind at the network, but the COVID-19 pandemic has brought the importance of business culture into sharp focus.
A former head-hunter, Mr Wentriro is an advocate for the 80:20 rule, which posits that culture will drive 80 per cent of a business, while tech, systems and processes take care of the rest.
The challenges posed by COVID-19 have delivered a somewhat unexpected benefit to the business’s culture-building aims, as the corporate office looked for ways to ensure staff did not become isolated or overwhelmed by the ensuing instability.
“Our aim was that no office felt left out during this pandemic,” he said.
According to Mr Wentriro, communication is now at its highest point ever across the network – despite the restrictions imposed by COVID-19.
He said a recently held four-part Rising Leaders Forum hosted online by the network earlier in the month was proof – attracting new interest in leadership training from those who might otherwise have found barriers in being able to attend such a program.
According to Mr Wentriro: “Our regional offices are thrilled with the move to virtual training, awards nights and regional meetings as it saves them so much time and money. They don’t have to get in the car and drive 300 kilometres to Orange to get a regional meeting or a training session.”
He has also credited much of Raine & Horne’s success in creating a positive workplace environment to a top-down approach that asks head office to set the tone.
“At Raine & Horne, we understand corporate works for our offices, not the other way around. We go on the journey with them to help them grow and futureproof their businesses – but of course, without competing with each other.”
That’s key in the network’s strategy: they ensure offices are close enough to offer support, yet with enough room to avoid becoming a threat.
“By avoiding shoehorning too many offices together guarantees a highly collaborative culture,” Mr Wentriro said.
“We want our offices to be geographically close enough to leverage off each other rather than compete for appraisals and listings. This balance guarantees our offices are happy to come to regional meetings, meet up at award nights, and take training modules together.”
Mr Wentriro said the business’ efforts to foster this relationship between offices have proved integral in helping Raine & Horne’s team members across the state weather the challenges posed by the pandemic.
“We work together as a team. Our offices banding together over the last 18 months to support each other has demonstrated this healthy teamwork and culture.”
The results of putting culture front and centre of their business model speak for itself, he believes.
“As a recruiter, I know it’s challenging to measure culture. But because we have many longstanding offices that keep [re-signing], there must be a reason for this loyalty? The answer is the Raine & Horne culture.”