Top Workplaces 2022: Seven Gables braces for actual property slowdown

Mike Hickman may sense a market change was on the horizon.

By the beginning of the summer time, mortgage charges have been up and residential gross sales have been down.

So Seven Gables Real Estate’s long-time chief govt began reducing bills, hoping to avert the kinds of layoffs some giant nationwide actual property manufacturers have undergone this yr.

Seven Gables hasn’t had job cuts since 2008, Hickman mentioned.

“It’s the worst thing ever,” he recalled.

Keeping his workforce intact is only one means administration on the unbiased, Tustin-based brokerage seeks to make Seven Gables a contented, productive office for its 75 workers and 450 brokers.

“We have three layers of expense cuts, and we’ve already gone through two. And we’ve not laid off one person,” Hickman mentioned in early November. “And not anyone can really tell the difference in anything that we’ve done.”

The firm’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed by its workers.

Seven Gables CEO Mike Hicks pose for a photograph at Seven Gables Real Estate in Tustin on Friday, October 28, 2022. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

Seven Gables ranked first out of 21 employers within the area with 500 or extra workers on this yr’s Top Workplaces challenge. It’s the eighth straight yr Seven Gables ranked among the many high 15 employers within the Orange County Register’s total program. And it’s the corporate’s third time with a first-place rating.

“I’m always humbled by the fact we get a call” from Top Workplaces, Hickman mentioned. “But I also think it’s a reflection of what kind of culture we have and the enjoyment and happiness that people have.”

In addition to its actual property brokerage, Seven Gables has six different operations: a property administration firm, two escrow firms, a mortgage brokerage, an insurance coverage enterprise and a nationwide hazard disclosure firm.

Even amid the slowdown, the 46-year-old agency is increasing, opening new workplaces in Glendora and Monrovia. The agency’s seven current workplaces have been all in Orange County, however now Seven Gables is leapfrogging into the San Gabriel Valley.

“The traditional methodology in real estate is to expand in concentric circles,” Hickman mentioned. “I’ve always kind of bucked traditionalism.”

Seven Gables’ non-traditional strategy extends to agent commissions as effectively.

Agents select from amongst three compensation plans. They can elect to have the standard fee break up, sharing their earnings from every house sale with the brokerage. Or they’ll cap their fee to the corporate, sharing a bigger portion of their fee with the agency till the agent has paid $25,000. After that, they maintain 100% of their commissions.

Lastly, brokers can select a mix of those fashions and even create a month-to-month fee charge to the corporate. These brokers often work remotely and don’t use workplace area.

We sat down with Hickman to ask how Seven Gables nurtures productiveness whereas additionally sustaining, as he put it, its humanity. Here are highlights of that speak:

Q: How do you retain morale excessive in a time of financial uncertainty?

A: I’ve to make certain in regards to the imaginative and prescient and the readability of objective for the corporate. I wish to current folks with the details. Everybody can speak in regards to the problem of rates of interest being doubled for the reason that first of the yr, and many others. But what’s the answer? And I feel the most effective factor I can do is present up for folks.

I mentioned to any individual the opposite day I went from CEO to CRO — chief repetition officer. You must proceed to hit house, repeating this certainty and our imaginative and prescient. I’m making an attempt to point out that we do have a path ahead.

Q: What have you ever performed to keep away from layoffs?

A: We repurpose how folks work and what they do. In twin capacities. I feel that performs into the flexibility to not lay off folks.

I’m trying on the (receptionist) sitting outdoors this door. And she’s engaged on property descriptions, she’s engaged on three issues at one time versus what was once a job of answering the telephone.

We’ve repurposed her in such a means that she’s now superior in her job. She’s enthusiastic about her job. And her perspective since she first began as a receptionist or an workplace administrator, she actually has modified, and he or she loves her job.

Q: Quiet quitting has been a scorching subject of late, that means doing the minimal at work to get by. Is that even attainable for actual property brokers?

A: If you don’t have boundaries on this enterprise, you’re selecting incorrect, you’re selecting burnout. Some of our most profitable brokers take extra holidays than anyone within the firm and, by the way in which, I endorsed that.

Think about it. When they’re right here, they’re 100% engaged within the enterprise. And after they refresh and recharge on a trip they’ve been on, they arrive again invigorated and recharged and recent. They’re excited. They can’t wait to see their shoppers work with their shoppers.

Seven Gables has the very best manufacturing per individual within the county of Orange right this moment. That’s a benchmark for us.

But extra importantly, it proves to us that what we’re doing is right. And we’re serving to our brokers have nice lives.

No. 1 giant firm

Seven Gables Real Estate

Founded: 1976

Headquarters: Tustin

Industry: actual property

OC workers: 526

Website: sevengables.com

Quote: “I went from CEO to CRO — chief repetition officer. You have to continue to hit home, repeating this certainty and our vision.” — Mike Hickman, CEO of Seven Gables Real Estate

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