Keller Williams workers praise company’s values, drive

About Keller Williams Realty

Founded: 1983

What it does: Largest real estate franchise business in North America

Austin employees: 2,512

Austin locations: 6, including headquarters at 1221 S. MoPac Blvd.

Keller Williams Realty Inc. is enormous. The Austin-based company, founded in 1983, is the largest real estate franchise operation in the world, with 700 offices and 125,000 associates working in the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia.

In the first half of 2015, the company said its total sales increased by 26 percent of reach a record $100 billion, while agent commissions totaled $3 billion. The company sold some 400,000 pieces of property worldwide in that time.

In Austin, the company has more than 2,500 employees and agents working in six locations.

Being so big can make it difficult for a company to build a strong workplace culture, but Keller Williams workers say they are motivated and challenged by the company’s values and its drive.

“Everyone truly cares about each other and challenges each other to be their very best,” said one worker. “We are all part of the same team and we push each other to succeed.”

The company placed first among large employers in the American-Statesman’s 2015 survey of Top Workplaces in the greater Austin area.

Keller Williams creates company-wide resources that reach out to its far-flung business. One of those resources is wellness director Alex Garland, who heads a wellness team that is designed to help company workers in Austin.

Garland leads yoga classes to help reduce workplace stress, and the program includes Pilates, stretching and stress-reduction classes. The program also reaches outside Austin with a variety of online options.

The company also schedules visits from chiropractors, massage therapists, acupuncturists and dietitians, which are available to employees who pay a fee.

Keller Williams also hosts an annual wellness fair that takes place in Austin with related events at outlying offices.

Having a company wellness staff, Garland said, is part of the company’s commitment to education and employee well-being.

“They really care about the wellness of their employees on a daily basis,” she said. “The fact that people can have appointments with me for free is pretty amazing.”

Garland says she keeps looking for feedback from employees on what additional programs her team can offer.

Adi Pavlovic, 28, has worked at Keller Williams as a technology research analyst for more than a year.

His job is to track new and growing technology companies that have an impact on the real estate market. The idea is to give agents the tools they need to communicate well with young homebuyers, many of whom are tech savvy and use social media extensively.

Pavlovic does research on emerging real-estate-relevant technologies and talks with senior managers about what might be useful for them. He also screens tech vendors that want to sell their solutions to the agency and shares his reports with a group of 10 executives that decide whether the company will work with that tech provider.

Pavlovic recently made a video at a company event about five top tech trends to be aware of in selling real estate.

“The feedback was really strong. Everything I talked about was backed by a projected return on investment,” he said. “A lot of people got out notepads and started writing things down. They enjoyed the research and want us to publish more.”

Pavlovic says the big real estate company is open-minded and innovative about new ideas.

“The culture here is very open and very transparent. Everyone is on the same page. There are a lot of friendly, outgoing and intelligent individuals here.”

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