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What Property Managers Can Learn from the New ‘Bachelor'

ABC finally announced who will be their new Bachelor—Arie Luyendyk Jr., a race car driver and former Bachelorette runner up from 2012. But, why am I telling you this? Of course you've been obsessively checking Twitter for days and watching Bachelor in Paradise to play amateur detective and getting into heated debates with your spouse about the merits of Eric (his suggestion, an OK one) vs. Dean (who knocked himself out after his treatment of poor Kristina) vs. Jack Stone (just me?), right? (Apparently I've come a long way since I've been a The Bachelor apologist, and learned some property management tips from it nonetheless.)

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The Importance of a Strong Lead Maintenance Person

Over the years of investing in real estate, I have learned that building a great team is one of the key items you want to focus on before you take over a property. One position that I have seen overlooked many times has been the lead maintenance person. This person is key to your success in so many ways you really want to look high and low to find the right candidate. The lead maintenance person is much more than someone who knows how to fix a leak or patch a wall, this individual will be in direct contact with all of your residents/tenants and be the person that can take a load off your office staff by being the first line in addressing angry resident/tenants that want something fixed or changed immediately. When searching for a good lead maintenance person, I would suggest seeking someone that has all the skills you need to handle the maintenance requests that your property has, but also look for someone that can be the leader outside of the office. We have found that individuals in this position have decreased our expenses by simply having the ability to communicate with each of our residents/tenants including the children on property, especially the teenagers. Here are some other things to consider: The ability to lead their team is something to take a long hard look at, get solid references from previous employers if possible as their previous team can give you some great insight. Be sure they......
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Key Notes From "Growing Your Own: Lessons in Organic Talent Development"

Key Notes From "Growing Your Own: Lessons in Organic Talent Development"
Talent development is one of the biggest challenges facing the multifamily industry, as job duration continues to shrink threatening attempts at employee engagement.  I attended the " Growing Your Own: Lessons in Organic Talent Development" session at the 2017 NAA Education Conference and Expo to gain some insights into what leaders in the industry are doing to tackle these challenges!  Here are some of the notes I pulled away from the session, presented by Virginia Means, Jennifer Staciokas, and Virginia Love, and moderated by Debbie Phillips:  (I added some of my own commentary in italics)  39% of executives report difficulties in finding talent.  This is especially true for maintenance positions!  The number one need for many property management companies are high quality maintenance pros, and how to retain them as the construction industry continues to siphon off some of our best talent. Millennials are expected to stay in their jobs less than 3 years.  How does that affect knowledge transfer?  Another concern is relationship transfer.  We always say that prospects lease most often because of the connection made with the leasing consultant.  When we suffer from high employee turnover, the relationships with those lost leasing consultants often are not transferred properly, which then has a resonating affect on our resident turnover. One of the biggest impacts on employee engagement is when a team member leaves.  Those that are left after someone quits suffer through increased workload as everybody else has to pick up the slack.  Don't be afraid to differentiate your......
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Multifamily Has Many Reasons to Lend a Helping Hand to the Homeless

There's no way around it: too many Americans are experiencing homelessness. According to the most recent statistics from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), nearly 550,000 people were homeless in this country on a single night in January 2016, and 22 percent of those were children. That 550,000 figure actually represents a 15 percent decrease from nine years earlier, but the number is still way too large. Over the course of a given year, according to estimates, 3.5 million Americans experience homelessness Without question, the elimination of homelessness is a complex task, and a true resolution will surely entail a multi-pronged effort involving federal, state and local governments, non-profits and the private sector. But with its collection of exceptionally bright, hardworking people and its abundant resources, the multifamily industry should not be shy about stepping up to the plate to help address this critical issue. In fact, from moral considerations to more practical concerns, it has many reasons to do so. Right Thing to Do First of all, helping to alleviate the pain and suffering of our homeless population is simply the right thing to do. It's important to take a step back to look at the all too thin line that separates so many Americans from homelessness. One life-altering event – the loss of a job, a medical or health emergency, a divorce, domestic abuse or the death of a family's primary income earner – can send people to the streets or the local homeless shelter. According to the......
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Opportunities for Corporate Social Responsibility in Multifamily

The multifamily industry has made some meaningful progress when it comes to practicing corporate social responsibility (CSR). But there are still many areas for improvement. That was the consensus of a session examining the state of CSR in the apartment industry at the recent Apartment Internet Marketing (AIM) Conference in Huntington Beach, Calif. The session began with a look at what CSR really is. To be sure, practicing genuine CSR means much more than a company making periodic donations to local charities, although such donations are certainly laudable. Instead, an apartment company engages in true CSR when it has in place an ongoing, all-encompassing effort to care for, connect with and positively impact employees, residents and surrounding neighborhoods. The result of such a program should be more engaged workers, happier residents and increased profitability. A number of studies have demonstrated the importance of having a strong CSR program in place. According to the 2015 Cone Communications Millennial CSR Study, 91 percent of millennials would switch brands to one that is associated with a good cause, given similar price and quality. Additionally, 63 percent of millennial women and 45 percent of millennial men say their decisions about job offers are impacted by the employer's CSR work, according to the Six-Month Research Update to the 2014 Millennial Impact Report, a study conducted by Achieve. So where are multifamily companies currently succeeding when it comes to CSR? "In terms of providing opportunities for career advancement, professional growth and time off we’re doing a pretty g......
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Variety Is the Spice of Training

Variety Is the Spice of Training
Training new associates: when you get down to it, the multifamily industry has few responsibilities more important. Well-trained onsite team members are absolutely critical to the creation of high-performing apartment communities.  In this day and age, multifamily companies have a bevy of options for training new associates. And in the end, for reasons of practicality and even associate learning style, companies will have to use a variety of training methods.  At ROSS, like other property management companies across the country, we have seen the benefits of using multiple training methods, from instructor-led classes to online courses. As a company, we believe in-person classes at our corporate offices are the most effective training tactic, and we try to maximize our use of them. In the end, however, relying solely on them just isn't practical for a company our size, given the geographic reach of our portfolio and the wide range of matters in which new associates need to be trained. Here is a quick summary of the different training methods that can be included in the onboarding process: Offsite in-person instructor-led classes: To my mind, this is the most impactful way of training new employees. It is even more effective than on-the-job training because it eliminates the many distractions otherwise present onsite, like ringing phones that must be answered and residents who need assistance. However, offsite instructor-led classroom lectures often present practical issues for companies with larger portfolios, as it isn't easy to bring new associates from multiple markets together in one......
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The Talent War: Are You Winning?

As the war for talent doesn't seem to get any easier nowadays, how would you get ahead of your competitors and make the best hires? Not an easy task, if you are asking anybody in the talent management business. These 3 things would help: Create a great culture. Did you ever wonder why you don't see billboards or online advertisements for open positions at Google, Apple or Facebook? Because they don't need any. Why? Everybody heard about these guys and many people would do anything to get a gig over there. Because these companies are awesome. What makes them awesome? A great company culture. Now, not everybody can be Google, but starting with little things goes a long way. Let's say that you are expecting a new employee to start today. What is the typical first day on the job for new hires? Does stuck in a room filling out paperwork and reading company policies sounds like it? But it doesn't have to be that way, does it? Here how you can make the first day on the job different for your new hire. Let your front desk person that you are expecting a new team member. Ask them to greet the person by name and take them to the room where you are holding your daily staff meetings. Buy breakfast and introduce the new member to the team. Make them feel special. Buy a $50 gift card and make sure it gets delivered to their home that evening on their first......
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Is It Really The Best Idea To Make That Superstar Leasing Consultant an Assistant Property Manager?

Is It Really The Best Idea To Make That Superstar Leasing Consultant an Assistant Property Manager?
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......
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Appealing to Generation Y: Tips for Recruiting Millennials to Apartment Community Teams

Appealing to Generation Y: Tips for Recruiting Millennials to Apartment Community Teams
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 gener......
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How to Best Onboard a New Multifamily Employee

How to Best Onboard a New Multifamily Employee
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......
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