Great article Nathan. Couldn't agree more with Blanchard's technique. A lot of junior managers mista...
Cristina Fox
I have lived in Savannah Place for 3 years. It is in Boca Del Mar Boca Raton Florida. It is extremel...
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Posted by on in Apartment Jobs
The apartment industry has a very consistent career path:  Leasing Consultants get promoted to assistant property managers, who then get promoted to property managers and beyond.  Essentially, we take someone with strong sales skill sets and then push them into a role that is highly administrative.  And then we take that administrative employee and give them a management and leadership role.  But does that really make sense?  A few weeks ago, I was fortunate to sit down with Lauren Curley of Bonaventure Realty Group, which has 26 properties across 3 states, and she shared some interesting things they are testing at four communities, with plans to expand to the rest of their portfolio in the coming months.    Leasing Consultants Are Promoted Along a Leasing Track In the end, we often promote leasing consultants because they are good at what they do, but that pushes them into positions that may not match their skill sets.  So Bonaventure has transitioned to a system where leasing positions have their own track.  So leasing consultants are promoted to higher level leasing positions that receive better leasing commissions, without necessarily forcing them into an administrative or management role if it doesn't fit.  Bonaventure keeps the best leasing consultants actually leasing apartments, the function that they thrive in.   Goodbye "Jack of all Trades", and Hello Focused Skill Sets Our industry has long been proud that its onsite team members are a "jack of all trades", but there are significant drawbacks.  Our team members often feel...

Posted by on in Apartment Jobs
If you’re having trouble recruiting millennial employees, you're in trouble. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, millennials became the largest generation in the U.S. workforce last year. And their share of the labor pool will grow in the coming years as more graduate from college and baby boomers retire. But if your property management company is having trouble attracting millennials, you're not alone. In a 2014 survey commissioned by Elance-oDesk and Millennial Branding, 53 percent of hiring managers reported "difficulty finding and retaining millennial talent." Apartment owners/operators should get better at recruiting this generation because of the many positive qualities millennials bring to onsite community teams. They have been unfairly painted as "entitled" and "job-hoppers," among other negative stereotypes. In reality, millennials bring energizing doses of entrepreneurialism, technological know-how and creativity to apartment teams. So, how can your company improve its recruitment of millennials?  • Emphasize a Bigger Picture. Millennials want more than a paycheck. They long for jobs that give them a sense of mission and make them feel part of something bigger than themselves. Working to ensure that residents have quality, safe, clean housing and enriching experiences at their communities can provide exactly that sense of mission. Property management companies should make sure they emphasize this in job descriptions and in-person interviews.   • Give Them the Long View. Millennials also want to be where they can grow. They're often criticized as being restless, but if they know there are opportunities for advancement, they're as loyal as the preceding...

Posted by on in Apartment Jobs
It's an all-too-common-scene at multifamily companies and other workplaces across the country. The new hire spends her first day on the job alone at a desk, buried under an avalanche of HR paperwork and struggling to get her computer running.  Unfortunately, this grim first day is often followed by days or even weeks of disorganization in which the company fails to give the new team member adequate support. Such a dispiriting and chaotic start greatly increases the chances that the worker's stint will be a short and unhappy one. Well-thought-out and engaging onboarding plans are critical to creating successful employees. They are especially important in the multifamily industry, which needs prepared, confident and stable teams to handle the challenging tasks of leasing and managing apartment communities. Here are some tips for building effective onboarding programs at multifamily companies: Get the paperwork out of the way early. And by "early," I mean as soon as the employee arrives on their first day, so the employee and you can then focus on team introductions and establishing a fun, productive environment for your newest team member.   Be clear about responsibilities. You no doubt will have covered this to some extent during the interview process, but the onboarding phase must clearly delineate an employee's responsibilities and how his or her work will be evaluated. What aspects of a community's or a portfolio's performance will affect the team member's compensation, for example? This step may seem obvious, but it's surprising how often it's not carried...

Posted by on in Apartment Jobs

Managing a successful business is no easy feat when you factor in risks such as competition, inventory and staffing. What many businesses don’t take into account is the liabilities they may face from current staff who may have been involved in illicit activities outside of work. Employees with inclinations towards activities that violate company policy rely upon the fact that their job will stop looking into their background once they are hired. Annual updates of personnel records that include the same background check you perform upon hiring is something that many companies overlook, but can have a significant positive impact on overall operations.

Posted by on in Apartment Jobs
There are two statistics about the American workforce that should be keeping human resource professionals and CEOs awake at night. The first is the national Quit Rate in the US.  Some people call it the “Take This Job and Shove It” index.  The figure shows the percentage of Americans who are jumping ship voluntarily and is reported monthly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The BLS reports that the US Quit Rate is at its highest level since 2008 and now hovers near 2.0%.  Translated into real numbers, that means that almost 2.8 million workers left their jobs in April 2015, the most recent month for which data is available.  What makes that statistic even more troubling is that groups like the Gallup Organization, ASTD and the Saratoga Institute independently reported that of the employees that voluntarily leave their jobs, somewhere between 75% and 80% do so because of their bosses, not the job itself.  We have a crisis of leadership and supervision in the workplace today that is impacting the profitability of companies in this country as employees seek opportunities where they will be appreciated and valued. The second equally troubling statistic, which is clearly tied to the Quit Rate, is the Employee Engagement Rate within the American workforce.  The Gallup Organization has reported that over the past decade employee engagement at work has remained at a dismal level of just under 30%.  That means that more than two-thirds of employees in the US are disengaged at work – they’re...

Posted by on in Apartment Jobs
“Thinking will not overcome fear but action will.” – W.Clement Stone Do you have professional goals to move to a multisite position or have you recently been promoted to your first multisite position after climbing through the ranks?   Whether you aspire, or are about to tackle an entirely new chapter in our industry, the biggest obstacle you will face is fear.  Fear of failure?  Fear that you don’t know what you don’t know?  Fear of fear?  Fear of putting your hand in a box full of spiders? (no, that’s another show). The fear that I’m referring to is not any of these, it’s actually quite different, but you are probably feeling them all!  I’m referring to a major fear of saying “I don’t know”, or “please help me”, first with yourself and then to someone else, and being completely comfortable with that statement.   Just as each position before, a multisite position will bring you an entirely new set of challenges and opportunities to develop new skills that often are not fully developed on site.  Our industry has incredible training programs for every level, and some directly related to success in a multisite position, but the resources are definitively more limited than our on-site support programs.  We generally assume that success on individual sites will transfer to multisite, and that is often not the case.   So, how do you succeed?  Follow these few steps to get started. 1)   Search out successful mentors, previous bosses or industry vets that have successfully navigated...

Posted by on in Apartment Jobs
I was asked by Hire Priority to write an article about hiring in the apartment industry. I do have to thank them because I think they may very well have cured my writer’s block by asking for specific subject matter. Specific subject matter that as of late, I feel as though I have become an expert in! However, the 250 word maximum turned into almost 800 words from this overachieving Type A individual on the other side of this computer screen…..so while the article may not be of use to them due to word count, it’s still worth the read. In my humble opinion. I have worked outside of the apartment industry, I believe we all have at some point. Whether it was to take that “break” that we thought we wanted or we simply fell into property management after having had another career choice. So a majority of us have been privy to the hiring process outside of the apartment industry. I am here to tell you, as a property manager who has done her fair share of interviews through several lease-ups, hiring in the apartment industry is quite different; for several different reasons. I point out a few below and urge you to keep these in mind when you are looking to hire someone on site….. Consider the team you currently have in place. If you are lucky enough to already have a few in place. If so, you have to really ensure you’re considering the already existing team dynamic. This...

Posted by on in Apartment Jobs
Let’s play a little game.  What is the likely outcome to this situation?  After petting the bright colored snake in the field, Henry: a)      Became fast friends with the snake b)      Got bit by the snake c)       Went out for beers with the snake There is a very good chance the answer is “B”. What is the point, Brent?   I’m glad you asked!  The point is that our experiences and knowledge allow us to quickly know or estimate a likely conclusion.  However, take a five year old kid, and he will be wrong a LOT, because he doesn’t have that background of knowledge to build from.  He’s just as likely to think that “Howard the Snake” is his best friend as he is to think it will bite him.  But strangely, in some circumstances, that five year old will be right in a way that you never would have imagined. While experience leads us into better decisions overall, it often binds us to a narrower set of possible solutions.  But inexperience has one strong attribute – it leaves our mind free to think of ideas that are completely unique.  This is a perfect example, where a five year old kid was able to access his dad’s Xbox account by pressing the spacebar multiple times as the password.  It was a bizarre bug with the Xbox, and no normal adult would ever randomly try that.  But a kid isn’t bound by what should work and what shouldn’t – they are free to...

Posted by on in Apartment Jobs
What's your first reaction when you see these guys? Laborers? Don't judge. One could've been a scholar too. What’s your first reaction when you see these guys? Laborers? Don’t judge. One could’ve been a scholar too. “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” ― Wayne W. Dyer Nowhere in my neurologist’s office did it say History Professor but when I noticed the Biography of Thomas Jefferson behind his desk last year, the history buff in me had to ask him about it. Little did I know I would spend the next 30 minutes talking to him about American History during the early 1800′s. Turns out, my Neurologist is also a History Professor and loves talking about history. Go figure. People would want to classify his life with a job title so let’s go with HistoricalProfologist. People really love job titles. In a psychology sense, it’s how people are able to place other people into compartments that they can understand. It’s called “Person Perception.” From Wikipedia: "Social perception is the study of how people form impressions of and make inferences about other people." A few years ago, while standing around the snack counter at AIM, Mark Juleen looked at me and asked, “Sitko, what do you do? I can’t figure it out.” I love ambiguity, especially as it relates to job titles. If I tell people I’m an IT Manager, they’ll immediately assume many things. That’s the human psychology that’s been hard wired into all of us, which is why I don’t hold it against you. We are constantly inundated with random...

Posted by on in Apartment Jobs
A common business expression states, “your bottom line starts with your front line.”  In the terms of war, a front line is used to designate the forward-most friendly forces on the battlefield.  Typically, the very employees we send to battle in the front lines every day, those who are tasked with the heavy burden of representing our brands and defining the experiences our customers have, are often relegated to the bottom of the business food chain.  With tight budgets and limited resources, it can be hard to justify investing in our property staff the way we know we should. Make no mistake, the life blood of the multifamily housing industry is the property staff.  Juggling a dizzying array of responsibilities, a great staff member not only works well under pressure, but does so with a smile.  So, how do we find and hire these rock-star employees?  And can it be done without breaking the bank? Entry-level positions can be challenging to fill because many applicants lack a long history of qualified experience. But the good news is that finding great people isn't as hard or expensive as you may think.  Here’s a few hiring tips: Documented Experience vs. Demonstrated Skills Resumes can be a powerful statement about an applicant's qualifications, but they can also be deceptive.  With entry-level positions, many resumes will be short and contain little experience.  Don’t let that immediately turn you away!  Instead, use a hiring process that allows your applicants to demonstrate that they have the skills needed to succeed.  And remember, just because...