Best Places to Work: Colliers International

by CoVaBizMag

By Leona Baker

150 West Main St., Norfolk | 757-490-3300 |
Other locations worldwide
Founded: 1976
Number of Employees: 104 in Coastal Virginia

Leaders at Colliers International pride themselves on collaboration, innovation and teamwork. They needed plenty of all three to successfully navigate a recent series of monumental changes to the company’s business structure and physical space. The former CBRE officially became part of Colliers International, a leading global real estate services and investment management company, as of early 2019, and a major renovation of their Downtown Norfolk office was completed in June.

Throughout these transitions, management made an extra effort to maintain morale and keep employees positive and motivated. Perhaps most notably, they were committed to retaining all existing CBRE employees with no change to compensation or benefits. And that teamwork mentality came in handy during the renovation, too, which was designed to be “not only an investment in our office, but an investment in our people,” according to Managing Director Perry Frazer.

“Our staff came together to help one another and get it done,” says Office Manager Elizabeth Gugliotti. “We had two days of full-on catered lunches, we wore jeans during the move, people were rolling around in the orange bins they were given for their stuff. People were laughing, easygoing and appreciative of what our upper management was doing for our office with the renovation, and that is the heart of our culture.”

That culture includes ample time for employees to bond and celebrate professional milestones and accomplishments. There are monthly “Thirsty Thursdays,” gatherings for drinks, conversation, games and the occasional friendly March Madness showdown. There are breakfasts cooked by firm partners, an annual chili cookoff and a company picnic held at a different local brewery each year and featuring a cornhole tournament.

“Managers need to allow their employees to get to know one another on a personal level to connect,” says Frazer, “so when they get back into the workplace there is more camaraderie and therefore better teamwork in the office. If you can find ways to encourage teamwork and innovation within your teams, your company will not only be more successful but the clients you work for will reap the benefits.”

Employee recognition programs include “kudos” in the company newsletter offering shout-outs to helpful staff members. Then there is the “Extra Mile” program, which includes an “on the spot” bonus of $100 for going the extra mile to exemplify company values. An entire week is dedicated to recognizing the company’s administrative professionals, and Colliers also committed to giving back to the community.

“Our volunteer arm is something that is very important to us,” Frazer explains. “We strive to make a difference in the communities where we live and work. These events can include a shift at the Foodbank, cleaning out crates at the SPCA and even a kickball tournament which promotes a healthy lifestyle. All of these events promote teamwork outside of the office.”

Colliers International employee

Colliers International volunteers

Colliers International kickball tournament

Colliers International, Best Places to Work

Work Perks

  • Flexible schedules
  • Strong work-life balance
  • Thirsty Thursdays
  • Employee recognition programs
  • 3 p.m. Fridays during the summer
  • Breakfasts cooked for staff by firm partners
  • 8 hours of time off for employees’ birthday month
  • Administrative professionals week
  • Company picnic and cornhole tournament
  • Halloween costume and dessert party
  • Annual chili cookoff charity fundraiser

Why I Love My Job

“Even through a massive transition from being one company to an entirely new one, our work culture has remained the same. It was so important to our upper management to retain all of our employees during the merger, and that is a true testament to the amazing employees and management that we have in our organization.” —Elizabeth Gugliotti, Office Manager, four years at Colliers International

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