Managing a portfolio of commercial properties takes a tight-knit team of problem-solvers, especially when you’re doing it to add the value that helps your clients and tenants succeed.
Taylor Hunter, senior vice-president at Inside Edge Properties, helped build that team by focusing on the skills people bring to the table — which is why he hired an Egyptologist with a PhD in archaeology to be his process person.
“When she was referred to us, her background jumped out,” he said.
And it’s fitting that Lindsay Ambridge’s most memorable archaeological work was at Amarna — an ancient capital city on the Nile river in Egypt — now that she’s working in Canada’s capital located on the Ottawa River.
While Ambridge’s official title is manager of corporate services, her unofficial title could be problem-solver in chief. “My job is to make sure that people have the tools they need to deliver the best service,” said Ambridge, an approach that’s aligned with how the company is managed overall.
“They don’t micromanage, but instead give us a high degree of autonomy,” she said. ”We’re empowered to make responsible decisions without having to go through multiple levels of approval.”
That’s why empowering people to do their job is a key ingredient that makes Inside Edge Properties one of Ottawa’s Best Places to Work.
Collaboration is key
Understanding that you’re a member of a community — whether that community is your company, neighbourhood, or city — is another driving force behind the results Inside Edge Properties delivers for its clients.
It’s also why Inside Edge manages its team with the same entrepreneurial spirit it brings to manage its portfolio of properties across the city — they’re invested in their success, and take the time to build trust.
“Collaboration is at the heart of what makes this company successful,” said vice-president of acquisition and business development Jordan Bianconi. “We foster an open, inclusive environment where we work together to make the company better. That in turn helps our clients succeed.
Successfully managing real estate investments means working face-to-face, which brings this team together nearly every day — Wednesdays are reserved as the day you can choose to work from home.
Despite the team’s proximity, the leaders know throwing people into one space isn’t enough to build trust. That’s why they lead by example with the collaboration they want to see in their team.
“We’ve created an open-door policy and everyone understands they’re a part of it,” said Bianconi, adding you won’t find a top-down organization within their walls.
“There are no silos internally — it’s a very tight knit group,” said Bianconi. “When we’re in the office we can bounce ideas off of each other on the fly. I think everybody appreciates that.”
Building bridges with technology
Hiring the right people may be the first critical investment for any employer, but this family-owned and operated company is also making critical investments in communications technology to further develop bridges they’ve built.
“We’ve invested significantly in technology and can see the benefits on all levels,” said Hunter. “There’s more efficiency for employees and significant benefits to our clients and investors.”
Ambridge ensures that everyone has up-to-date devices, and the company has customized the best property management software on the market for their client’s particular needs. They’re also consistently rolling out new software to do the same for their staff.
When employees feel the impact of that kind of commitment from their leaders, it motivates them to give back. “Everybody here is invested in client service,” said Ambridge. “How can we add value to this property? How could we serve our clients better?”
Nurturing connections over time
Regular communication with the team about the business is also a critical part of how the team stays connected, including monthly lunches and quarterly and annual updates.
But maybe the most important investment for the Inside Edge Properties team is spending time together outside the office. “We have regular get-togethers like axe-throwing and visiting an escape room,” said Ambridge.
When you build your work culture on trust in a small, tightly integrated company like Inside Edge Properties, it’s easy to get along.