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Make your Workplace a Better Place to Work

Workplace Interactions Wesley Aleshire BlogLet’s explore the importance of workplace communications by highlighting how to create positive relationships in your workplace. Let’s start with interactions with your co-workers. We’re talking about communication; obviously some of which will be non-verbal, such as a smile, a nod, or other small gestures like that. But we’re also talking about direct, good old fashioned, work banter, chatter, and water cooler talk!   First and foremost, talking with your co-workers. This could be the language you use around them or toward them. How can we harness the power of speaking with someone to improve workplace communication, create positive relationships, and show self-confidence? How about this for starters? "Good Morning!"   Yes. Good Morning. The simplest, most basic form of a greeting you could offer to a co-worker could also be one of the most powerful, sparking positive emotions that starts the day off on the right foot. Go ahead, give it a shot with someone close by. If you’re reading this in the afternoon or evening use that greeting instead.    Did you smile while greeting them? If you smiled, you just helped usher in the second strategy for building and strengthening workplace relationships. Smile. It’s not something we always feel like doing, but it’s beneficial in one way or another and will always pair well with that “Good Morning” greeting. You see, your smile makes you appear more approachable (even when through clenched teeth), and as a result, your co-workers might begin to feel more comfortable around you.   Another tactic which plays well into the morning greet......
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Leadership Tip: Give Up the Addiction to Control

Leadership Tip: Give Up the Addiction to Control
Steve Jobs is famously quoted as saying, "It doesn't make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do." It makes so much sense right? So, why don’t leaders follow this advice? Why do leaders micro-manage? Why do leaders hire smart people then immediately force them into a box and tell them what to do, how to do it, and when to do it ... and then get mad when those people don't "think outside of the box??”    Something is wrong in today’s work environment. Gallup surveys indicate that 70% of employees are disengaged. In other words, they don’t care! Did you know that 70% of employees that voluntarily leave their jobs do so because of their boss? If you’ve attended any one of my leadership seminars you’ve heard me emphasize these numbers over and over again; but it’s so crucial that you understand what is happening today. Employees are done. They’re over it. And we see the fruit of this all around-and it’s not good fruit!   In the first paragraph I asked the question, “Why do leaders micro-manage people?” Or to paraphrase Steve Jobs’ quote, “Why do we hire smart people and then tell them what to do?” I think this is tied in to our addiction to controlling the world around us. Yep, I said addiction. People are addicted to control.    Want proof? Just state a strong opinion on any topic of the day on social media ......
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Bell Buddies: A Smart Onboarding Mentoring Solution

Starting with a new company or new position within a company can be daunting.  We are thrust into a new environment with a whole host of new policies and procedures, and often, the team we join is already harried.  Not only have they been a person down while trying to find the right hire, but now they also have an additional job of training someone new!  This scenario is rife with challenges, and I think Bell Partners’ “Bell Buddies” program is a wonderful addition to help ease that transition. I was lucky to hear Cindy Clare speak at NAA’s Apartmentalize Conference a few weeks back discussing “How to Recruit and Retain Talent in Today’s Competitive Market” where she briefly touched upon their Bell Buddies program.  After the conference, she was nice enough to provide more details. The Bell Buddies program allows seasoned professionals in the same line of work guide a new hire or recently promoted associate through the onboarding process and with understanding policies and procedures.  The program lasts 90 days, and importantly, it starts within the first week of hire or promotion.  The mentor can also guide the mentee through finding company resources, as well as explaining Bell’s culture.  The Bell Buddy is weaved together with introductory courses through the LMS, providing a multi-touch onboarding process. There are several aspects I love about this mentoring concept:  (These also include my own observations, not necessarily showcased by Bell) 1)      Before becoming a Bell Buddy, individuals are trained in what it means to be a B......
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Customer Service Tip: Take Care of You!

Customer Service Tip: Take Care of You!
I admit it…I let my emotions get to me at work one day. I was alone in the office all day, and quite frankly, I was “done!” Have you ever been there? When you cannot handle one more phone call, or request, or someone asking “When is Amazon getting here???” and on and on and on. Well, I was having one of those days when the phone rang. That would have been enough to set me off because, as I mentioned, I was “done!” Did I mention I was “done????” Well, the customer on the end of the line was not happy with something; and while I don’t remember what it was that made me so mad, I do know that I took off my headset and threw it at my desk. As it left my hand I knew it wasn’t going to be good and I immediately regretted the decision! After the headset hit the desk and I saw a couple pieces of plastic go flying in the air, I KNEW it was a bad decision. Why am I telling you this story? I wanted you to know that if you have bad days, if you have days (weeks, months, years) when you’re over dealing with customers, that I totally get it and understand! Customer service is hard work. It’s not easy dealing with people day in and day out. It isn’t. Because people are messy, complicated, confusing, frustrating and unpredictable.  And yet, while we know that it’s understandable when we don’t give great customer ser......
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Six Ways to Build a Culture of True Corporate Social Responsibility

Six Ways to Build a Culture of True Corporate Social Responsibility
Being a good corporate citizen has always been the right thing to do. But, let's be honest: many companies haven't viewed making their communities better places to live as part of their core missions. Now, however, practicing corporate social responsibility (CSR) isn't something companies have the luxury of doing only when they feel like it. These days, CSR is a necessity. Stated simply, our employees and our residents are demanding it. 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 what should a meaningful CSR program look like at your property management company? In summary, it entails much more than a company making periodic charitable donations, although such donations are certainly praiseworthy. True CSR is an all-encompassing initiative to care for employees, residents and the communities in which a company operates. Below are some suggestions on building a culture of true CSR: Offer paid time off to volunteer. Providing employees with paid time off to volunteer for an organization or a cause of their choice is a great way to both help the surrounding community and support the cases that are near and dear to the hearts......
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Three Things "Temps" Should NOT Do!

Three Things "Temps" Should NOT Do!
Years ago when I was a community manager I had a season of time when I relied heavily on temporary associates to maintain the staffing requirements of my office. There were many times when my “temps” made my job easier and I was so glad that they were helping me. There were also many times when my “temps” either made my job harder, or were so difficult to be around in one way or another, that I didn’t think they were worth the expense! If you’re a temporary associate now I’d like to give you some advice on what to do when you’re at you’re assignment so that the company wants to keep bringing you back-or even offer you a permanent position! Tip #1: Don’t be Bossy! I had a temporary associate who started critiquing me on how we accepted checks and thought it was a good idea to give me his thoughts on what we should have been doing when collecting checks from our customers. Needless to say, that immediately irritated me as I thought, “Who does this guy think he is??” Regardless of the experience you bring into the office, remember as a temp that the client may not need your input on things…even if it’s great input! For those of you with a great resume this may be the hardest thing to do as a temp, and it’s a vital skill. As a wise mentor once told me, “Never miss an opportunity to keep your mouth shut!” Tip #2: Don’t Say “When I worked at…”......
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Top 5 Mistakes Leasing Agents Make

Top 5 Mistakes Leasing Agents Make
Let me start by saying, everybody makes mistakes. But the only way to correct those mistakes is to acknowledge them and work on fixing them. Whether it's a lack of training, laziness or case of the "Mondays", it's important to make sure you are on the top of your game each day. Here are the top 5 mistakes leasing agents make and how to correct them:Lack of FollowupI've seen a lot of leasing agents focus their follow-up efforts on renters who have toured the community and showed a real interest in the community or property. But not many take the time to follow-up with EVERY lead (including ones that haven't seen the community already) that comes across their desk. Sometimes that lead that requested information but never set up a tour is busy. Following up on all your leads is vitally important.Not Gathering Enough InformationSo you have a prospects name, email, move date and price range. But what about the other stuff? One fundamental selling technique is building rapport with a potential resident. Selling involves matching a renter's needs with your product. Ask questions like: where do you work? What are you most looking for in an apartment? What's your decorating style? Is view important? Do you have a pet? What do you do for a living? Get to know your prospect! Touring Only Sample UnitRenters want to see the space they are going to live or something close to it. Showing them a bottom floor unit that is staged when the......
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I Am Shocked By This Employee Satisfaction Metric

We recently released our Professional Development Research Report (free download here), and with any professional development, there is a component that is driven by the employee, and there is a component that is the employer supporting the professional growth of that employee.  I was truly saddened when I saw the results of this question:  Do you feel your company is sufficiently preparing you to advance to the next stage in your career?

Ready?  The percent that said that “Yes” their company was preparing them to advance in their career:

18%

This is a dreadful statistic, and even worse, it has real ramifications.  This isn’t a situation where the employee just shrugs his or her shoulders and continues on in their job.  We also asked, “How highly do you factor your company's support of your professional development in your decision to stay at the company?” 

So that lack of support from their company has a direct impact on employee turnover at the company.  People want to feel that they are progressing in their careers – they want to see their company support their goals, providing opportunities to learn new skills, acquire new knowledge, and advance.  And if they don’t feel their company is supporting them in those ways, they are ready to leave to a company that will.  So the question is:  Is your company supporting the goals of its team members in education and career growth, or are they risking losing their stars by not preparing them for advancement?

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The Downside To Raising Rents

The Los Angeles rents are likely to rise an additional 2.9% in 2018, what this means to you as a landlord is higher rental income of course, but it could also mean additional vacancies or evictions as the rental rates are pushing the renters beyond appropriate rent to income ratios. Many of the renters are choosing to relocate to an area that has better rent for them but that sometimes means driving further which as we all know in L.A. can add a good amount of additional drive time, others may try to scrape the money together every month so they don’t have to move but that’s usually a short term prospect. As a landlord you will want to consider your current residents and face the facts that if they move the cost to replace them can be significant, down time for the unit (lost revenue), the expense to turn the unit and of course advertising and in some cases you will have to pay commissions to a realtor or property management company. It can sometimes behoove a landlord to meet the resident halfway on the increase, maybe setup a plan to gradually increase their rent instead of all at once or maybe consider not doing the full percentage increase but something that is comfortable for you both (keep in mind the higher rent will  exponentially  increase the value of your asset) and will allow them to stay in their unit. If a resident tries to make ends meet but can’t and y......
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Huge Opportunities for Mentorship Programs in Multifamily

I remember back when I first entered the industry, I was participating on an Yahoo newsgroup for the multifamily industry, possibly run by Lisa Trosien, and I got into an online discussion with Doug Miller.  I was being brash and probably arrogant with my opinions, and Lisa took the time to share with me how Doug was a respected leader in the industry and I might want to tone it down a bit.  I always look back at that moment as a time where someone mentored me by helping me realize how the way I was coming across to others was not the way I would want to be perceived.  What I found most important about that story was that I can’t imagine an alternative way I would have learned that critical lesson.  Was I going to learn it by reading a book, attending a class, or paying for a seminar?  I don’t recall seeing a class called, “Brent, you are being a jackass - stop it.”  And this is why mentoring is so very valuable.  Mentoring creates a relationship that fits with the custom needs of the mentoree, guiding them through their specific challenges in their career, and sometimes even beyond their career.  A mentor can assess issues that the mentoree might not even know about.  Or maybe the mentoree has questions but doesn’t feel comfortable asking a superior or trainer.  There are several scenarios where traditional training can never replicate what a mentor can provide. So why am I talking ......
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