Spreading the love By Russell Bullen, Chief Executive Officer, Quintessential Equity
If you've opened your eyes in an Australian city, you'll know first-hand that there are a lot of unloved buildings out there. Part of our business at Quintessential Equity (QE) is to show these old buildings a bit of the love they deserve. And by love, I mean our in-house engineering and construction expertise, and quite a lot of investment.
Love your staff
The same philosophy applies to our company culture. We don't just want to create buildings that people love to be in, we want to run a company that our staff love to be part of.
It's about creating an atmosphere of respect and encouragement. Professional, but not too corporate. Every Friday we hold a brief all-team meeting, where our team is encouraged to shout out a co-worker for their good performance.
A simple thing, but it lets people know they're recognised and appreciated. And then there's the bell-ring competition, where the whole team votes on anyone that’s had a significant achievement that month. The winner gets a hundred dollars, but all nominations give a big old maritime bell a ring – for those that give it some gusto, their bell-ring can be heard several floors above.
But at the heart it's about staying authentic and creating an environment that's enjoyable to work in.And if that means you're also getting the best out of your staff, that's a by-product, not the main motive.
Love your tenants
We take a similar approach with our tenants. Creating a well-engineered building that people want to spend time is key. The rest is just treating your tenants with respect and following through with your promises – like a customer that you care about.
Love your buildings
Picture a 40-year-old building that hasn't had much money spent on it. Over the years it hasn’t received the love it truly deserves. We go in and turn it into something worthwhile.
It's not just about fixing the things a tenant will see: beautiful bathrooms or a new lobby. We refurbish the building from the ground up – the things you can’t see, including all the plant and equipment that keeps the building running. It costs a lot of money to do this properly, but with our direct line to investors, QE has a hugely successful track record in raising equity in-house.
So financing isn't the deciding factor. We only take on projects we're convinced are worth the love. If that means we only find one or two assets a year worth our time, then that's fine. We'll always go for quality over quantity. On one level, there's no secret to our process. It's just a simple philosophy: if you create something of value, people will recognise and appreciate that value.
Look after your staff, look after your tenants, and look after your buildings. It's a simple philosophy. If we do this right, our investors feel the love too.