YOU hear every day business operators saying how difficult it is to keep employees motivated and productive.

As a long-time Gold Coast business operator with a 250-strong team, I believe the key to these challenges is creating a positive corporate culture that attracts and retains the best people in the industry.

It makes business sense because happy and engaged team members will perform at their best which in turn ensures a company operates at its peak.

So how do you do that?

I believe it starts at the top: it's the responsibility of a company's directors to create and implement the workplace values so that staff can take the cues. It's the values of the leader that sets the example to the team.

I've learned over the years that people don't care about how good your business is until they know how much you care about them.

The Ray White Surfers Paradise Group does everything it can to cultivate a positive and engaging work environment for its team, from training and formal acknowledgement to social events and community involvement.

We've always been supportive of our staff, particularly when people get into difficult situations. It's easy to create a good environment in the good times, but it's the challenging times that really expose the culture of a business.

Sometimes that means making tough decisions when, for whatever reason, a person no longer fits the company's culture. That is always hard for the leader of a business but having a strong team that upholds the values of the business is more important than having a big team. Some business owners are so focused on attracting new team players that they lose sight of attracting the right team players.

Remuneration can only motivate people to a point, and for most a fulfilling job goes well beyond salary.

In fact some studies have found that for younger generations a feeling of belonging and being valued is of equal or greater importance to their pay packet.

RWSP encourages professional growth through regular seminars, expert speakers, private coaching, personal development and other training opportunities while social occasions allow staff to bond and relax away from the pressures of the corporate environment.

The group's charity events and role in the wider community also give our team members a sense of personal satisfaction; in addition to selling real estate they are part of something truly valuable.

Our corporate culture has enabled the group to attract the best talent in real estate, and in the past three months we increased our sales force by 35 people as part of an ongoing growth strategy.

We are honoured to have so many people on our team who've been with us for 10+ and 20+ years and this means our office has a wonderful blend of incredibly experienced and knowledgeable people with an infusion of new, vibrant energy. This careful molding of the two really enriches an organisation.

It's vital that the hiring process takes into account how prospective employees will fit the culture of the business. Some businesses simply recruit because people can write great sales figures, but we go well beyond that. We prefer to ensure that whoever we engage is a good fit for the business and not just a moneymaker for the principal. We look at their values and the examples they set in their personal lives.

Those considerations are just as important as an individual's credentials as they form the basis of their long-term performance within an organisation

For me the real test of a business is not how it performs in its first five years, but whether it stands the test of time.

Since 1989 RWSP has been able to steadily grow its business despite economic and property downturns.

And for more than 20 years it has been a top performing office in the Ray White network while picking up various industry awards - most recently a Gold Coast Business Excellence Award in the trades and professional services category.

These achievements wouldn't be possible without a strong company culture and the motivated, passionate and resilient staff that it supports and nurtures.

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