John Skrabec, owner and founder of Live Urban Real Estate says it comes down to a philosophy that empowers, rather than divides, employees — a perspective instilled in every agent since opening the office almost a decade ago.

The company snagged the top Small Workplaces spot this year, advancing from runner-up in 2014.
"Creating a cooperative, not competitive, environment for our employees has been one of our top priorities since starting the company nearly 10 years ago," Skrabec says. "We encourage our brokers to approach their work with a feeling of abundance and opportunity, not scarcity and necessity."

His employees agree. "Everyone feels valued and listened to," one said. "The company gives back to the community, and they encourage having fun after getting the job done correctly, and with integrity."

While Live Urban's brick-and-mortar office is in Denver's trendy Highland neighborhood, the more than 65 agents are often out in the field meeting clients or showing houses.

Despite employees working at different times and from different locations, communication hasn't suffered, Skrabec says. Instead, the office embraces streamlined, virtual communication through tools such as Facebook discussions, password-protected blogs, paperless contracts and Google Docs.

Staffers spoke highly of the support and direction they receive from the leadership at Live Urban, emphasizing how managers and teammates listen to and address individual ideas and needs. "I am given the resources to do my job effectively," one employee said. Another added: "I totally trust the owners and managers to give me the feedback I need to do my job well, and have the confidence in it that it requires."
Managers at the real estate office commit to the success of their teams by making it as simple as possible for Live Urban agents to grow and further their career. "Ongoing professional training and continuing education required to maintain a Colorado real estate license are provided at no cost to all employees," Skrabec says.

Initiatives such as the agency's two-year mentorship program for newly licensed brokers, monthly Skill Builder sessions and small group training sessions enable employees to feel confident in their work and the leadership team. In the words of one agent, "Our managing brokers respect us."
The firm plans to add at least 15 more like-minded staffers to the city-centered brand in 2015 and has been growing by about 4 percent each year. "I work with people who want to see each other succeed and will do whatever it takes to make that happen," one employee said. "People are not afraid to share whatever it takes to make you better. You don't find that often, and I am grateful for that."