Improve Staff Performance
Our recent Linkedin survey revealed a surprise about property management staff performance. 70% of respondents said the company’s performance issues could be solved through more skilled staff.
Of all the possible factors for lower performance, they seemed to suggest their employees are a lag on their quest for better performance in 2023.
The respondent’s surprising belief sounds like disappointment about their staff potential. Of course, one benefit of the new property management software is to do more of the work.
For instance, if staff do lack training, expertise, stamina, experience or authority to make decisions, software can automate that work, and let them get to work they are competent to handle.
Without that kind of assistance, then insufficiently qualified employees are challenged with the diverse tasks they’ll face every day. And when fatigue and stress kick in, it can create a negative situation for everyone. We know a lot of staff want to quit the industry. Staff empowerment solutions seem to be a no brainer.
Qualified Staff Not Going to Appear Anytime Soon
Yet today, such excellent property management staff are hard to come by. Great performers don’t grow on trees either. And there is competition amongst property management companies for the best property management staff from admin and tenant services to maintenance to leasing. And if businesses are run so poorly that they don’t draw good talent, then things have to change.
Is it because you’re not willing to pay outstanding salaries? Yes, it may be this. If you up your salaries, then you tend to hire better employees and are more vested in their success. You can measure your intent in terms of your salaries plus your commitment to keep your employees long term.
Even when great technology is in place, successful businesses are created by successful, empowered staff. Consider what motivates them and power that up to get the team you need.
Some employees unfortunately may not know how to improve their performance or have the motivation to reach top flight results. They’ve never been trained for that. Do all property management companies take training, professional skills, and certification seriously? Will they pay for excellence? From tenant management to maintenance events, and managing daily transactions, staff might not possess the training. Perhaps the wrong people with the wrong skill sets are being hired.
Increasingly, employers are looking past formal degrees or diplomas and hiring for the specific talents they need. Everyone must be more practical now.
Taking Control of Staff Empowerment
The responsibility for top performance lands back on your desk. From hiring to onboarding to training and support, you get the team you create. Yet even when you don’t have the ultimate team, you can still guide them to their best efforts. It is true that you get what you pay for, and if you’re smart you might be able to get the results you need.
Most managers could use a refresher in staff hiring and ongoing management, and we’ve got some tips that might help.
Let’s take a quick look at some ways to re-energize and guide your staff to keep them able, sharp and motivated:
- Find models for staff performance. Use analytics so you have objective information to make informed decisions about how staff are doing, cost/performance, and where your staffing deficiencies really are. Join a local NARPM chapter to get advice and help.
- Bolster their training and certifications to take continuing education classes and develop new skill sets. This can involve anything from training from NAA, NARPM or IREM and attending property management conferences to keep them thinking they deserve the best skills in the industry.
- Use the best property management software. Shop for one that is simplified with automation to take some of the tedium off their plate so they can focus on the factors that make a difference to your bottom line.
- Recognize and reward staff’s outstanding performance by giving positive feedback, delivering certificate or a spot bonus, implementing a “Employee of the Year Award, and promoting employees if possible.
- Hold staff accountable for their performance by showing actual numbers, giving timely verbal or written counseling. Any disciplinary actions should be documented.
- Empowerment should begin when a team is established. Each team member should be given opportunity to input and participate in decision making process. Reinforce their ownership during problem solving and let your help be the last thing.
- Reward staff for good performance in higher salary or profit sharing. Nothing says valued like a good pay raise.
What is the most effective way of managing the day-to-day work of your team?
Individual check-in – manager and staff can talk about the progress of individual projects; identify challenges or hurdles which may jeopardize or interrupt the project; prioritize projects and allocate resources appropriately among projects.
For instance, a project of rehabbing multiple units may require additional maintenance capacities to turnaround the units in a timely way. A licensed contractor is needed to complete a project which complies with building codes and inspection requirement.
Staff meeting – make sure an agenda is set prior to the meeting and staff drives the agenda. While the agenda can start with update, it’s important to let team members to share success and lesson learned so that everyone has opportunity to learn from each other. Each participant should discuss any back-burner items and be proactive in asking for support.
The other key question to consider is what you and your staff want to get out of the meeting. Without a clear direction and expectation, it’s not uncommon that no conclusion can be reached or action can be taken.
In addition to meetings, managers may consider using a checklist to track progress and the property performance with their staffs.
A sample checklist should include the following suggested components:
- Administrative: review move-in/move-out report, vacancy report, marketing strategies, incident reports, manager’s response to tenant’s complaint, 3-day notice, legal proceedings.
- Financial: review rent roll, rent collection procedure, delinquency report, variance reports,
receivable report, income and expense statement, balance sheet.
- Staff Management: review work goals, set up staff meeting with site staff, identify staff’s training needs, spot check tenant files, assure a safe working environment.
- Maintenance: review work order status and confirm the work order completion rate; review preventative maintenance plan; plan on capital improvement such as the number of units will be replaced with new flooring and appliances; update inventory and equipment list.
- Marketing: review performance in cost per application, tenant inquiry quality, brand awareness, new landlord leads, website traffic/rankings, content engagement, inquiries, effectiveness of marketing channels, and whether enough budget is invested.
Good luck in identifying performance issues and in creating the environment your staff need to perform to expectations. Perhaps, in the end, you must align expectations with what you’ve invested.
As always, you’ll get out of something/someone what you put into them. Take a look at your property management budget, tools for cutting property management cost, creating better property owners, and re-engineering to be that one property management company that leads your market.
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