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Boosting Employee Wellness

Boosting Employee Wellness
To build productive and thriving onsite teams – that's the goal of leaders everywhere.  But the creation of high-performing employees involves more than simply training them for their specific jobs. Companies have to truly care about their employees' overall well-being. Working in multifamily can be extremely fulfilling, but it's also demanding and comes with no small amount of stress. Property management firms have an obligation to help their employees take care of themselves and be the best version of themselves they can be. Below are suggestions for boosting employee wellness. • Promote physical fitness. Exercise is a powerful stress reliever, and team members who are physically fit are bound to be happier, more energetic and more productive. Provide discounts to memberships to local gyms or implement a gym membership reimbursement program.  Hold friendly, low-key competitions among team members to see who can exercise the most during a certain timeframe and offer a great prize for the winner. If your company does this, it might want to give employees digital step trackers or incorporate some other type of technology to track team members' progress. Also, encourage team members to share their progress in these competitions on social media, as this can help employees within your company connect with each other and create bonds that foster wellness.  Beyond such competitions, urge your employees to take regular walking or exercise breaks during the day. Also, consider bringing in nutritionists to speak with employees about healthy eating, and make sure your onsite vending machines offer som......
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The Boston Marathon, and Why You Shouldn't Pit Your Leasing Agents Against Each Other

This year's Boston Marathon was no joke.

It was cold. It was rainy. It was windy. It was in Boston! ("Boo Boston! Hiss!" said the Yankee fans.)

Professional runners dropped out of the prestigious race because of hypothermia symptoms. In April!

Desiree Linden, the winner of the women's title (and the first American woman to win the race in 33 years, which is neither here nor there in regards to this post, but is definitely awesome, and therefore worth a mention), almost quit herself. According to reports, she wasn't feeling well at the beginning. So when her teammate Shalane Flanagan had to make a porta potty stop in the middle of the race, Linden waited for her so she could help her get back to the front. (Because women always have to go to the bathroom in groups, right? I'm allowed to say it because I'm a woman.) She figured she might as well help her teammate if she couldn't help herself.

Despite that delay, Linden won. And, with her help, Flanagan secured seventh place. Not too shabby.

Look at that teamwork! Linden could have easily left her friend in the dust. Would she still have won? Maybe.

But maybe not.

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Career Advancement Lessons Hidden in Plain Sight!

Today I want to talk about lessons in career advancement hidden in plain sight!  When an industry leader is speaking during a conference education session, or maybe during a webinar, that person is not only imparting specific tips relating to the topic, but they are also sharing a hidden lesson, showing you exactly how they rose through the ranks in their career.  Do you know how to find those hidden bits of wisdom? I’m not sure when I started realizing there were hidden lessons embedded in our webinars, but one that really stood out was a webinar with Chad Moulin.  Chad is a leader on the maintenance front within the multifamily industry, and one webinar he shared a simple tip about keeping a glass of water on his night stand when he was on call.  Therefore, when a resident called in at two in the morning, he would quickly take a swig to clear out his throat, so when he then answered the phone, he would sound awake, alert, and eager to handle their issue. As I heard the tip, I thought that was a great idea to improve that resident interaction, but even more so, I asked myself, “who even thinks of ideas like that?”  In other words, ideas on how to sound more positive and energetic on a 2am call would never even occur to most people.  Frankly, most people are not exactly thrilled with the prospect of being on call in the first place, so they probably think ......
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Apartment Staffing 101: Don’t Hire Nice People

Apartment Staffing 101: Don’t Hire Nice People
Apartment staffing can be tricky business. Over the years, I have managed and hired hundreds of Leasing Agents. It can be tough trying to find the right candidate. Early in my career, I made many mistakes when it came to hiring.  Some candidates I thought would be great turned out to be all talk and no action, while others who I thought we be just “ok,” turned out to be excellent employees.  But one of the biggest mistakes I made was presuming that because a candidate was “nice,” that they would be a great Leasing Agent.  However, what I found is that while “nice” individuals are perfectly acceptable, all of the “great” leasing agents I ever hired were very “kind” people.   What's The Difference Between "Kind" and Being "Nice"? It's a common misconception that being "nice" and being "kind" are the same thing. People tend to confuse the two. They are in fact two separate traits that can make a big difference in an employee's performance.  Individuals that are "nice," tend to be very polite, are well-liked, show common courtesy and are very personable. Most of the agents I come across fall into this category.  On the other hand, "kind" individuals are the ones that always show empathy for others, try to help wherever they can and always seem to put other people's interest above their well being. This shows in their sales techniques (i.e., connecting with renters), their role within the organization, their willingness to help fellow employees and most importantly, t......
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Helping the Homeless During the Holidays

Common holiday traditions involve spending time with family and friends, exchanging gifts and feasting on lavish meals. Yet, this is not a realistic scene for a staggering portion of the American population. Overall, 3.5 million Americans experience homelessness each year, according to the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty. These individuals don’t have homes to bundle up in during the cold weather; instead, they’re sleeping on the street, in their car, in a motel room or a community shelter. Many of them won't get to enjoy a festive homemade meal. While it’s true the holiday season is about spending time with family and friends, it's also about giving to others. Here are just a few ways you and your apartment company can help those experiencing homelessness during the holidays:Donate itemsGiving food, blankets, pillows, towels and clothes directly to those experiencing homeless or to the shelters that serve them is one effective way to alleviate the suffering of the homeless. Also, consider making and carrying around care bags with small essentials – socks, snacks, bottled water, soap, hats, gloves – so that you can give them to a homeless person you see asking for help. These bags are great to make with your kids or even with residents and co-workers to help build upon the notion of helping others. Show kindnessThis is a simple, yet effective way to lift the spirits of those experiencing homelessness. Do you walk by those experiencing homelessness without looking at them? Stop, look them in the eye and s......
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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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