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Yearning for a More Positive and Productive Multifamily Workplace? Try These 3 Communication Strategies

Yearning for a More Positive and Productive Multifamily Workplace? Try These 3 Communication Strategies
Good communication is the hallmark of a respectful and productive workplace. It can also be frustratingly hard to accomplish. Multifamily supervisors are reporting higher than normal levels of incivility in the workplace these days—not surprising, when you consider how stressed out and uncivilized the world at large is today. Here are three strategies for leaders to consider in order to strengthen their workplace relationships. Stop Talking and Start Listening As a multifamily supervisor, you likely have to do a lot of talking. Your team members need direction and guidance, and decisions must be made. However, be careful of dominating workplace conversations to the extent that employees’ perspectives aren’t being heard. To be an effective leader, strive to listen at least as much as you speak. Here are some ways to get your associates talking. Allow team members other than yourself to lead the weekly staff meetings; consider setting up a rotation so everyone who is interested gets a chance to lead. When someone raises a question in a meeting, invite others to weigh in before you. Hold regular one-on-one meetings with everyone you supervise to encourage open communication. Make a point to connect with everyone you lead on a daily basis, even if it’s only for a quick conversation, email, or text exchange. Conduct frequent, confidential surveys so employees can offer candid feedback without fear of reprisal or judgment. And importantly, empower employees to speak up regularly by acting on the concerns they share. Only then will your team members see the val......
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Stressed, uncertain, and overworked: This is how the onsite team feels

Stressed, uncertain, and overworked: This is how the onsite team feels
The pandemic has adversely affected both renters and personnel working in the multifamily industry. In a recent survey exploring team morale, J Turner Research found a 24% differential between the onsite teams and executives’ rating of their satisfaction with their company's handling of the pandemic.   The onsite teams were asked what their company could have done better to handle the pandemic, how the company had succeeded, and what ongoing challenges exist. In the open-ended comments, one recurring sentiment was that as essential, front-line workers, onsite team members felt disappointed with management’s lack of support, flexibility, and monetary compensation.   In analyzing the open-ended comments by onsite team members, the following themes emerged:   Lack of adequate compensation/hazard pay Many respondents from the onsite group said they were inadequately compensated or should receive hazard pay for working additional hours and putting their lives in danger. They highlighted the effect of the pandemic on income in reduced bonuses and expressed the need for more paid time off.  Despite some associates achieving leasing renewal rates between 70 and 85%, many reported receiving no commission, as there was no rent increase.   Unfair treatment of staff with children There was a general feeling of resentment and disappointment, particularly among staff members with young children. Many echoed that management had treated onsite team members with children unfairly — they did not offer flexible work schedules or childcare for such employees. Some reported an ongoing fear of losing their job, despite having young children to look after......
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Protocols You Might Not Have Considered for COVID-19

Protocols You Might Not Have Considered for COVID-19
Remember what they say about the best laid plans? They often go awry. Long before the coronavirus outbreak was classified as a pandemic, many apartment management companies created crisis plans for the possibility of widespread disease. So much for planning. It’s painfully clear that the plans were merely guidelines based on hypothetical situations.  Nobody has navigated these waters before. And those who had plans in place likely didn’t anticipate the global scale of COVID-19. While crisis plans provide a solid foundation to build upon initially, the response from the multifamily industry continues to evolve. The plans we had already required more than a few updates.  By now, apartment managers have all subscribed to social distancing recommendations, enhanced cleaning measures and amenity closures. Right now, we’re working through new payment agreements with renters who lost jobs or suffered reduced wages. But we also need to develop protocols for potential situations that might still arise.  Stay current, stay flexible Don’t wait for updated information to come to you. Identify expert websites that frequently update their data and messaging. The National Multifamily Housing Committee (NMHC) regularly updates the research and recommendations on its website. The Centers for Disease Control website provides current information and instructions for essential tasks like disinfecting your property and making your own facemask. Stay informed and ready to react as recommendations change. The protocols we implemented when the pandemic began may only loosely resemble those that we have in place when the crisis is done.  Make sure residents know what to do i......
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Keep Talking. Employees are Listening.

       As we look toward entering a new phase of management during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have continued to survey multifamily employees to see how they are feeling about the ever-evolving situation. Data from the Swift Bunny COVID-19 Employee Check-In Survey shows that employees' feeling of safety in carrying out their responsibilities tracks with the level of communication and leadership visibility they are experiencing. In other words, the more leaders communicate directly with their teams, the greater the employees' feeling of safety in completing their work.  In speaking with leaders of 30 property management companies, there is a universal perception that it's time to take the foot off the gas pedal regarding company communication, now that we're through the initial tidal wave of change that arose due to the pandemic.  "We're turning into Zoombies!" commented one employee, which perfectly represents the fatigue many team members are feeling in regard to the volume of meetings we all seem to be having. However, while I may agree that the quantity of meetings may need to be toned down, the quality of communication is still critically important. Polling conducted with hundreds of multifamily employees during webinars over the past few weeks shows a shift from general feelings of uncertainty to concerns about how their communities are addressing or planning to address re-opening. In addition, beginning on May 18th, the data from the Swift Bunny COVID-19 Employee Check-In Survey has shown the rating trending downward on the topic of, "I feel well-informed ......
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Leaders Must Do This!

Leaders Must Do This!
Leadership has been on my mind a lot recently. As I have worked with companies nationwide the more I am thoroughly convinced that everything rises and falls with leadership. Whether you’re a leader right now, or hope to be, I hope this post gets you thinking about your impact as a leader! Four team leaders walk into a conference room (that sounds like the beginning of a corny joke doesn’t it?) and they’re tasked by their boss to solve a problem… The first leader orders her team together and says, “This is the problem we have to solve. Here is what you need to do, how you need to do it, and when you need to do it by.” After telling everyone what to do the leader asks, “Any questions?” as she walks out of the room before anyone can ask anything.  The second leader sends an email out to his team saying, “I know you’re busy, and I hate bothering you, but can you let me know when you’re free today to meet? We have a project and I need your help. I’m so sorry for the trouble.” The meeting never happens because everyone is too busy.  The third leader spends a few hours compiling and analyzing information and data before calling a team meeting. He gives an extremely detailed briefing covering every aspect of the problem, using an extensive series of flowcharts and diagrams to emphasize his point. He then emails them multi-page spreadsheets (with more data and information on them) and asks everyon......
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Creating a 'Wicked' Experience For Your Customers!

Creating a 'Wicked' Experience For Your Customers!
  Are you a fan of the musical “Wicked”? Did you know that in every town that it plays in, the "Wicked" company holds a lottery a couple of hours before a performance for the chance to get really discounted tickets to the show? Lottery winners would be given the chance to purchase orchestra section tickets for $25.00, so my wife and I decided to give it a try since the cheapest tickets way up in “nosebleed hollow” were starting around $50.00. Now, I assumed that this was a way for the production to sell a bunch of unsold tickets either way back in the orchestra section, or in the parts of the section that no one would want to sit in. I was wrong! To my surprise only ten people’s names were called...and luckily, I was number nine! The chance to buy orchestra tickets for $25.00 would normally be good news enough, but there is more to the story! When I received the tickets I realized that our seats were in the second row! To say that these seats were freakin' awesome would be an understatement. I could see every expression on the actor’s faces. I could see every detail on the costumes. I could see the spit flying as they sung. I even got a kick out of watching the conductor singing along as he did his thing. My wife and I were giddy at how amazing our seats were and how incredible an experience this was for us. Wicked Good! Her......
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