Multifamily Blogs

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It's hard to get a gauge on your culture when your company comprises mostly people pleasers.


When you are in a people business - you tend to hire people people. People who naturally want to help others can very well be people pleasers. How do you get people pleasers to tell you what they really think when they want to keep the peace? It is vital to a company's success to understand how their team members really feel about the company. If your team is afraid to speak up, you will not get honest feedback.

In this session you will learn why team members don't share openly and what you can do as a leader to promote an environment where your employees feel safe. If you would like to learn more please contact me or visit MariaPietroforte.com.

 

 

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The customer service paradigm is broken. Why you need to put your people first.


Too many leaders and companies preoccupied with the future results that their team members "feel like a number". Continuing down that path is inherently damaging to employee motivation and your bottom line.It is not too late to develop an employee-first company culture! Identifying and owning what is broken, clears the path to putting your people first.

Learn why internal customer service needs to be a priority and the consequences.

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Your Employees are Struggling. Throw Them a Lifeline

For the past six weeks, more than 2,900 employees have responded to the Swift Bunny COVID-19 Employee Check-In Survey. Recently, their responses have begun to take on a desperate tone. For many, what started out as, “we can do this!” has devolved into “I’m not sure how much longer I can do this.” Here are some painfully candid comments team members have shared: “I’m thankful that I still have a job and that I’m still needed at the office. But I’m stressed. I’m tired. I go home and I’m useless until it’s time to go to bed. Then, I don’t sleep because I think of everything that I still need to get done.” “With all of the residents home every hour of every day, the amount of complaints has been mind-boggling. I go home every day now completely and utterly exhausted and worn out.” “Too many directives and deadlines given on short notice. We are expected to work around the clock answering emails and texts at all hours. The virus is stressful enough. Leadership has made it ten times worse.”  “I’m worried about my maintenance team. I don’t know how they are still standing at the end of the day.” “STRESSED is the understatement of the year. We are all carrying this stress differently. I wish that our managers would be more understanding that no matter what job you have, you can be just as stressed as the boss.” Multifamily leaders, your associates are drowning in stress and worry. It’s time to throw your team members a lifeline before ......
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The One Vacancy You Want During the Pandemic

     Ivory tower. Corner office. Private beach. La-La Land. Hidey-hole. It's been called many things recently in our COVID-19 Employee Check-In Survey, but ultimately it's the place some employees believe their executive leadership has been hunkering down while front line employees feel they are personally putting their health and safety at risk.  I say "some employees," because the great news is that 85.2% of rental housing employees agree that their executive leadership has been visible and communicative during the COVID-19 pandemic. That's more than 5 out of 6! Whether conducting weekly virtual Town Hall meetings with all employees, showing up at different communities to help sanitize common areas, personally delivering a much needed supply of masks, or announcing new work-from-home guidance to reduce face-to-face interactions in the leasing office - leaders across the country are demonstrating that they won't ask their team members to do anything they are not willing to personally do themselves. Ivory tower = Vacant! A key benefit of seeing executive leadership in action is the strong correlation to the employees' perception that leadership is making good decisions in response to the pandemic. Employees want to have confidence in the direction they are being given. These recent findings support what we learned through the Swift Bunny Multifamily Employee Engagement Study, that "Respect for executive leadership" is one of the strongest influencers on employee engagement.  Employee engagement is critical for every property management company in order to successfully pull through a crisis. It's what enables each team ......
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The Three Things that Can Hamper Multifamily Innovation

The apartment industry has long been painted as one that’s afraid of change and reluctant to embrace new ways of doing things. That may have been true in the past, but when I look at multifamily today and the MICA session lineup, I see an industry brimming with ingenuity and an entrepreneurial spirit. Across the country, investors, operators and supplier partners are exploring a wide array of innovations to improve the resident experience and increase revenue. They’re implementing smart-home solutions, short-term rentals, self-guided tours, hotel-like resident services and increasingly sophisticated fitness amenities, to name just a few examples. But in looking at the industry, I do see three factors in play that often inhibit multifamily innovation and growth. Those factors are: 1) Government policy. I’m not here to make grand pronouncements about government being anti-business. However, from time to time, local, state and federal laws can – albeit unintentionally – stifle innovation. Take the growing number of rent-control laws, for example. When jurisdictions put a cap on rent, that limits the financial incentive to reinvest in and modernize portfolios. Similarly, some apartment communities may be reluctant to incorporate short-term rentals because the laws in their area may subject them to expensive hospitality taxes. It’s important for multifamily owners and operators, whether on their own or through an association, to speak up when laws and policies work against their interests and hamper their ability to innovate at their properties.  2) The lack of integration among technological solutions. It has to be easier to integrate individual multifamily technologies into any other technology ......
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Build Longevity in Multifamily

To those peering in from the outside, the apartment industry might appear fairly straightforward with a short list of potential career opportunities. Essentially, your only options are leasing agent or community manager, right?   In an effort to recruit fresh talent and retain high-performing associates, the industry has worked diligently to erase that misnomer. The multifamily industry is actually a diverse field with a wide range of employment options and growth opportunities, ranging from the aforementioned onsite associates, operations, maintenance, IT, marketing and beyond.   As the industry aims to incorporate and retain talent, part of the challenge for apartment operators is to communicate the merits of multifamily to prospective newcomers. Another is to genuinely demonstrate the attributes of the industry and provide a clear path for growth to new associates. Not everyone realizes the multifamily industry is able to provide true careers. Here are a few ways to ensure that you are providing new team members with the tools for success and increasing your chances that they will remain with your organization.   Provide proper training There is nothing more intimidating to a new associate than being thrown into the fray without clearly defined duties and without much background on how to perform those duties. On the flipside, no one wants to feel too coddled. Strike the balance that will give new team members the resources to succeed and enough knowledge for them to apply what they learn to new ideas or initiatives. Whenever you implement a new software sy......
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Technology and Multifamily are No Longer Rivals

Multifamily has transformed from a paper-and-pen leasing process to an industry always looking for new technologies and ways to innovate. In the last five years, we have seen the industry adapt smart-home technology, marketing automation and test products designed to streamline communications on the myriad of platforms available to prospects, residents and leasing teams.   This transformation has been a relatively quick one, thanks to the help of ambitious onsite teams. Without their time, energy, patience and overall support, the technology evolution would not have happened. As an industry, we need their feedback in order to test, pilot and implement technology effectively. At Laramar, we believe the way technology will have the most impact is to make it a part of our culture.   As concepts like online leasing and intuitive resident portals become more commonplace, we’ve partnered with a technology fund that tests and validates new tech-related products and concepts specific to the industry. The fund measures the potential impact of each new concept, which provides the company with a more accurate roadmap of which technologies to adopt.   No matter how you go about vetting technologies, there are a few concepts to keep in mind when working to make technology a part of your overall culture.   Excite your teams about testing new platforms Let’s be honest: It can be exhausting for team members to constantly learn new platforms and carve out time in a hectic schedule to do so. It can be more exasperating if those changes come w......
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Thermometer and Thermostat: Creating a Culture of Success-Part Four

Thermometer and Thermostat: Creating a Culture of Success-Part Four
My wife does this amazing thing with our daughter which she calls "Taking the garbage out." During this time my wife simply asks my daughter if there is anything she wants to talk about, fess up to, ask for help or guidance on, or if there is anything she needs. My wife learns a lot about what is going on in the internal world with our daughter and this creates connection between the two of them. We've used this same principle during our weekly family meetings. All of us have an opportunity to share good things we've noticed in each other, to ask for forgiveness for something we said or did, or to voice a grievance about one another. This mechanism allows us to check the temperature of our family, and also serves as a guide for what we might need to be aware of and focus on, and what we need to keep doing.  Check their Temperature! Have you thought about that your people need their temperature checked as well? They do! As a leader it is imperative that you know the temperature of your people and of the team. Knowing the temperature of your people allow you to know what is going well (so you can keep doing those things!) and what isn't going well, so that you can address the issues before they get out of control. How can you check their temperature? The best way is to find time to connect consistently with the people on your......
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Is That the Pilot?? Creating a Culture of Success Part Three

Is That the Pilot?? Creating a Culture of Success Part Three
Remember the video of an airline forcibly removing a passenger from a flight that had been overbooked? In the aftermath of that public relations debacle many passengers who fly that airline (like me) were left wondering, "Hmmm....could that happen to me??" In other words, am I safe with this airline? Can I trust that they will honor the ticket I've purchased from them? Then, there was another situation that occurred when a pilot from this airline showed up to her flight dressed in civilian clothing and not in her pilot uniform. I can imagine the thoughts in the mind of the passengers and crew as they saw someone who looked like a passenger enter the cockpit. I know what my thoughts would be! BUT, IT GETS BETTER! This pilot then started what was described as a "long, bizarre speech" on the aircraft's PA system that referenced Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and a comment directed towards an interracial couple seated near her. Here is what one passenger Tweeted while this was happening... Randy Reiss @undeadsinatra So, y'all. I'm shaking right now. I just left my ----- flight 455 'cos the captain demonstrated that she was not mentally in a safe space. The passengers on that flight did not feel safe with her being the pilot because they did not trust her ability to fly the plane. The foundation of a high-performance team, your department, your community, your region, your portfolio, your company are based on the same things that made passengers want to get off that flight; the......
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Creating a Culture of Success-Part Two: Common Purpose

Creating a Culture of Success-Part Two: Common Purpose
When you think of companies that you’d love to work for (besides your current one, of course!) what companies do you think of? If you’re like me some of the companies on your list might include: Southwest Airlines: (I love the unconventional pre-flight safety briefings and the fun atmosphere on their flights!) Google: (Free meals. Ping-pong tables. Dog-friendly.) Twitter: (Free yoga classes. Free meals. Sense that what they’re doing is changing the world.) Patagonia: (Focus on work-life balance. Flex time. “Green.” Fitness benefits.) I know that some of you might be thinking, “That’s great and all but Google can afford to give their employees free food, I can’t do that!” Or, “I have to staff an office seven days a week, I can’t give people flex time!” Or, “I don’t want to bring in ping-pong tables and free beer!” And if you are thinking this, I get it! Creating the kind of corporate culture that inspires and ignites success doesn’t have to be about yoga, couches in the conference room and hoodies and jeans everyday.  However the one thing that all of the companies above (and on your list) share in common is a belief that there is a Common Purpose that unites everyone. In my leadership classes (shameless plug alert!) I say that the sign of a high-performance team is that it is obvious that everyone is working together towards a Common Purpose that everyone has bought into and believe in.  Beyond the Vision Statement One of the biggest culture killers is a vision statement t......
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