Above: JBGoodwin REALTORS® was honored with its first Top Workplaces USA national award in 2022. Here, San Antonio agents come together for a Habitat for Humanity build.
JBGoodwin REALTORS® may be celebrating its 50th anniversary in business this year, but the company’s culture is more relevant than ever. With a simple but mighty mission statement to “help people,” the Austin and San Antonio, Texas-based firm has fostered an environment that supports and motivates agents.
JBGoodwin REALTORS® has been named a Top Workplaces award winner in Austin for 11 consecutive years, and in San Antonio for 10 consecutive years. In 2021, both markets took first place in regional awards, and in 2022, the company was honored with its first Top Workplaces USA national award, securing an impressive third-place slot in its size category, competing against firms across all industries.
The recognition from Top Workplaces gets even more granular—and more significant—for JBGoodwin REALTORS®. In 2021, the firm was honored with all 12 Top Workplaces Culture Badges, scoring in the top 5% or top 25% against its real estate brokerage peers nationally. The Culture Badges recognize the many subsets that define a winning culture, such as “Employee Appreciation,” “Meaningful Work” and “Supportive Managers.” JBGoodwin REALTORS® was the only brokerage in the country to earn all 12 badges, a feat it accomplished in 2020 as well.
Creating a Top Culture
The Top Workplaces honors are especially meaningful to JBGoodwin REALTORS® because the judges come from within. The awards are based entirely on employee and agent feedback via a once-a-year, anonymous survey conducted by Energage, a firm which then partners with local newspapers to further brand and promote the recognition.
“Our Top Workplaces successes are based on a variety of factors, but if you were to boil them down to a single concept, I’m sure it would be ‘support,'” explains JBGoodwin REALTORS® Vice President of Marketing & Communications, Tony Zavaleta. “We never stop trying to innovate, we consistently introduce new tools, we are always refining our training and generally strive to support our agents at every level of their business.”
But this is nothing new for the brokerage. It’s a philosophy that has driven the firm since the very beginning. “The company’s ‘Help People’ motto genuinely extends to our agent partners,” says company Founder & CEO J.B. Goodwin. “We make it a priority to not only listen keenly to our agents’ opinions and needs, but to take the steps necessary to implement the best of their ideas and to fulfill those needs.”
This commitment to agents was underscored in pandemic times, Zavaleta explains. “As with many organizations, we adapted a number of our practices during the pandemic, and found that not only did that lead to quite a bit of agent success during that period, it served to establish new ways of doing business that are part of the norm now.”
Central to a winning culture is a communication philosophy that goes beyond the norm. “Our channels of team communication include all the common methods, but what I think sets us apart is the level to which we’re both open and strategic with our communication,” explains Zavaleta. “We make sure our team members are very aware of what’s going on in the company, and by doing so, we generate a lot of conversations and a lot of innovations.”
A Community-Focused Commitment
With a consistent focus on the communities it serves, JBGoodwin REALTORS® has expanded its people-centric culture to well beyond the business realm. Through the company’s charitable arm, JBGiving, agents are able to play a more fulfilling role in the areas they serve while taking part in important business-development efforts.
“We support and volunteer with a number of local organizations, and though not exclusively, they are often ones associated with housing and homelessness,” says JBGoodwin REALTORS® San Antonio Division President Erin Cestero. “We take part in consistent Habitat for Humanity builds and volunteer with other organizations that advocate for and support the formerly homeless, as well as those simply seeking an affordable place to live.”
“We believe it’s tremendously important to give back to the communities we live and work in,” says Goodwin. “During a time when real estate has been a particularly robust industry, those of us fortunate to be in this business want to pay some of that success back by serving others. Giving back to the community—the community we work in, the community we’re successful in—is a very big part of the JBGoodwin culture.”
And in a somewhat post-pandemic world, the company’s live efforts in the community are back in full swing. “As the world has opened back up over the past year, our folks have been happy to get out there and interact with the community in ways they were less able to during the height of the pandemic,” says Zavaleta.
Culture Drives Growth
As the saying goes, it starts at the top, and the culture that has driven JBGoodwin REALTORS®’ success over the span of 50 years begins with the company founder himself.
“J.B. has always placed a premium on everything from work-life balance to creating an atmosphere where work isn’t something one just does to pay the bills, but is a meaningful experience that team members can look forward to each day,” says Cestero. “His day-to-day involvement in the organization and openness to communicating with all members of our large team really drives a sense of inclusion with all of our agents and staff. J.B. also understands the importance of team and social events that help create familiarity and camaraderie.”
The culture that Goodwin spearheads has been central to the firm’s expansion over the years as well. “As we’ve grown in size and hired more and more agents, company culture has become both more important and more challenging,” says Zavaleta. “There’s extra effort that goes into maintaining culture across nearly 900 agents in multiple markets, and we’re proud of the success we’ve had in doing so.”
Culture has a big impact on the company’s recruiting and retention efforts as well, offering real estate professionals the best of both worlds: a profitable career and a supportive work family.
“Our company culture plays a huge role in both the retention of our current agent partners, as well as in recruiting new team members,” says Goodwin. “The competition for talent never ends in real estate, so our many efforts, distinctions and awards help us attract top people, while also solidifying our brand as a place where people want to work, spend their time and simply belong.”