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What goes into Employee Background Checks: The OFAC Patriot Act Search

Snap66  Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Congress passed the lengthily named “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act,” commonly known as the “Patriot Act.”  This piece of legislation was aimed at arming law enforcement with tools to both detect and prevent acts of terrorism.  While the Patriot act has had both supporters and nay-sayers, it has become of great value to employers.  One of the services included in theRRD’s employment screening packages is the OFAC Patriot Act Search.  This tool screens for individuals and groups associated with terrorism.  By screening your employees with this service, you’re helping to prevent potential terrorists from receiving an income for their terrorist activities.  You’re also helping to ensure the safety of your own employees. History Of OFAC During the administration of President Jimmy Carter in 1977, Congress enacted the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). This law authorizes the president to regulate commerce after declaring a national emergency in response to any unusual or extraordinary threat to the United States from a foreign source. The provisions of IEEPA are administered by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) under the Department of the Treasury, which publishes a list of individuals and companies owned or controlled by, or acting for or on behalf of, targeted countries. It also lists individuals, groups, and entities, such as terrorists and narcotics traffickers designated under programs that are not country-specific.  Collectively, such individuals and companies are called Specially Designated Nationals (SDN......
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Building Tomorrow's Leaders Today: How to Cultivate the Next Generation of Your Company’s Leaders

Building Tomorrow's Leaders Today: How to Cultivate the Next Generation of Your Company’s Leaders
Developing the next generation of your company’s leaders is an absolutely crucial task. Granted, with all the day-to-day tasks that multifamily leaders have on their plates, it can be easy to get so wrapped up in the present that you neglect your company's future.  But the most successful and stable multifamily firms are the ones that always have their eyes on the future by cultivating their leaders of tomorrow. Here are some different ways your company can start developing its next generation of leadership: Identify and expand responsibilityAre there young and hungry team members always willing to go above and beyond what’s expected? Who will go out of their way to access additional education and training opportunities? Are there team members who are flat out awesome at what they do and always contribute creative, cutting-edge ideas and have natural charisma and leadership abilities? These are the types of team members who have potential as future leaders. Once you've identified them, give them more and more responsibility and allow them to make decisions on important projects and tasks. It's important to always push employees who show leadership potential and get them out of their comfort zones. Maybe that means leading a small task group, where they are forced to work with people with a broad range of personalities and skill sets. Regardless of what specific tactics you use, you should make it a point to continually challenge those who show leadership potential.  Set up mentorship opportunitiesOne of the best ways young leaders-in-training can......
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Maintenance Apprenticeship Program - How Great Is This?


For several years, there has been an incredible shortage of qualified maintenance professionals, and people going into the trades overall.  Fortunately, more and more apartment associations and other organizations are creating training and apprenticeship programs to draw in wonderful, excited individuals into our ranks. 

I wanted to share the latest from the Apartment Association of Metro Denver - Love seeing the enthusiasm from the graduates!  (Here are more details about the program)

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Top 10 Mistakes Apartment Managers make on Social Media

Top 10 Mistakes Apartment Managers make on Social Media
Having over 20 years of experience managing apartment communities and starting my own business focusing on managing social media for the apartment industry has helped me identify the top mistakes our property managers make when running their own social media campaigns. Not consistently posting on social media – This should not be confused with “you should post multiple times a day on social media.”  I recommend posting 5-7 times per week because studies have shown this to be the sweet spot.  All those posts don’t have to be your original posts.  Share local events/news from other top media outlets in your city.  Think about what would interest YOU.  Posting videos of vacant apartments that are available are great, but no more than one per week.  The majority of your ‘likes’ are from your residents, what would cause them to engage with a post? No one is in charge of social – Partnering with a company to manage your social media is always a good investment, but along with that, each Property Manager should designate someone on their team as the Social Media Manager.  I’ve learned over the years if it’s “everybody’s job” then it means “it’s nobody’s job” because no one can be held accountable. Using social media as a message board – Property managers shouldn’t only post on social media about resident events/communications.  It creates a negative first impression when someone reviews your social media while considering to move there.  All they see are notices about rent being due, dogs need to be picked up after, vehicle......
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Creating Sense of Community in the Aftermath

Creating Sense of Community in the Aftermath
With the Atlantic hurricane season drawing to its yearly close, the damage done by this natural phenomenon has yet to be entirely evaluated. Recovery actions can take at least a few years, but this can be a time to shine. Property managers become instrumental in these times. So much can be done to improve upon the lives of those affected. Especially in the multifamily property management market.  A prepared property management team is crucial. Having a plan of action that coordinates grounds keeping crews  to assist with tenants needs . In times of crisis most services such as waste management become in-operational. It is the responsibility of the property management team to keep residents informed.  By having a plan in place provides this basic need to the renters. A commitment of services provided brings forth the we are in this together approach. The property management team  can become a more efficient network.  A team dedicated to the assistance of their renters  in times of crisis . A team that works directly with local state and federal emergency agencies for a more efficient resolve.  Share the knowledge by updating the residents with all emergency relief agencies  information.  These are some recommendations that any property management team can implement. Organize Gatherings to Cultivate the Sense of Community There is no better way to cultivate a sense of community with your multifamily property than to host gatherings and organize events.  Take full advantage of the holiday seasons and impart a better sense of community. ......
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The Three Ps of Amazing Customer Service

The Three Ps of Amazing Customer Service
I was recently in Miami staying at the Fountainbleu Hotel for a conference. Located in the heart of Millionaire’s Row, the hotel is smack dab in the middle of a spit of land with the Atlantic ocean on one side and the bay on the other. The room was gorgeous, and I spent quality time on the private balcony enjoying the views of both bay and ocean.   Accommodations aside, what really impressed me was how The Fontainbleau seemed aggressively involved in the customer journey and experience. They crushed it in the three Ps; Place, People and Post-Experience.   The Place. The instant you walk in the experience begins. In the air throughout the hotel is the faint (but definitely perceptible) scent of flowers and, strangely, what seems to be suntan lotion. They use ScentAir products and have a signature Fountainbleu scent. The smell evokes the beach and reminds you that you should be out there soaking up the sun. I’m using my imagination about the sun part as it was raining with thunder storms and extremely hot and humid.   The People. Every single person was exceptionally customer-focused. From the porter to the shop clerks to the concierge, my every need was anticipated and handled.   The Post Experience. I reviewed the hotel on Facebook and within two hours, I had received a personal thank you and they asked me about any special memories of my stay. From start to finish, it was extraordinary.   Wouldn’t it be great if every......
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Wonderful Career Advancement Tip From Apartment Hacker, Mike Brewer

I ran across a video from Mike Brewer who shared advice that he gives to all those who ask how to grow their career in the multifamily industry.  How can they improve their career path?  Take a moment to listen to Mike's great advice:  (Starts at 0:40)

Although both tips are fantastic, that first tip really perked my ears up.  The people who do an amazing job of advancing in this industry don't advance because they do a good job at handling the easiest properties - they advance because they know how to tackle the most difficult of challenges.  The skills you obtain by pushing yourself into a difficult property are so much more powerful compared to handling a property that runs without too many problems.  

Also, not only are you building your advanced skill set, but you are also making yourself known to the leaders in your company, showing that you are the type of person to take on any challenge.  The world is filled with employees who do just enough to get by - the ones who excel show they are determined to take on new responsibilities and excel.

I hope you enjoyed Mike's advice as much as I did!

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The Americans with Disabilities Act for Landlords And Property Managers

The Americans with Disabilities Act, commonly known as “ADA” is a federal civil-rights law protecting the rights of people with disabilities. The ADA places guidelines for access to: Employment State and local government programs, services and buildings Access to places of public accommodation such as businesses, transportation, and non-profit service providers Telecommunications George Bush signs the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; standing left to right Reverend Harold Wilkie, Sandra Parrino of the National Council on Disability; seated left to right, Evan Kemp, Chairman of the Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission, George Bush, Justin Dart, Chairman of the ‘s Committee on the Employment of People with Disabilities. Washington DC, USA, 26 July 1990. (Photo by Fotosearch/Getty Images). The scope of the law is fairly broad and addresses many of the obstacles affecting the participation of people with disabilities within society. Many of the ADA’s civil rights protections parallel the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the protections it established for racial, religious minorities and women. Occasionally, management companies may be faced with a lawsuit for non-compliance with ADA laws.  These compliance problems are usually preventable as many times they result from violations which stem from the lack of proper guidelines, policies, procedures, and/or practices regarding accessibility. Implementing current policies can go a long way toward avoiding the expense associated with ADA lawsuits. As owners, landlords, managers, and tenants can be jointly and severally liable in the event of non-compliance. Making it important to ensure you have safe practices in place to address......
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Do You Have the Courage to Lead Your Team With Learning?

Learning something new does not require enrolling in a certificate or a four-year degree program. Opportunities To Learn It can be a simple as: Learning a new app for a phone or mobile device.   Too often, we download a tool someone has recommended, but we don’t try to use it. A quick check of You Tube offers instructions showing how to use most new techniques. Reading a post on a blog that offers leasing, maintenance or marketing tips.   Then, sharing the information during the team meeting. Discovering a You Tube video with information on repairs or cleaning. Monitoring Instagram for the advertisement for a marketing competitor. Role Model This experience creates an impression on team members.  Someone respected makes time for learning.  Using self development or a practical application to solve a situation. When team members are creating goals for themselves, then establishing the steps to move themselves along the career path.  They observe and apply this example for their career development. “If I want to succeed in this industry, I need to learn about it.” Skills and education are not achieved by osmosis. Attending seminars, webinars, or reading resource material provide a foundation for the practical day-to-day application. This translates the knowledge to a skill. Leaders set the learning example.   Reinforcing the value of training and learning.  Otherwise, the team views their employment as an hourly job and is not invested to see training as career development.   Nor do they recognize the training as an invest......
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Employee Incentives: What to do if they don’t work?

This is a tough one. Why don’t all employees just want to work hard and see their property and company succeed? Company success and resident customer service would be through the roof if all employees were engaged and empowered to perform. Unfortunately, as we all know, this simply isn’t the case. There are plenty of employees who do the bare minimum, following what I call the “good enough” mantra.  Those are the employees that we want to work for the competition! It is common practice within our industry – and, really, many industries – to offer work incentives to elicit high performance. From pay incentives and awards to extra time off and other perks, employers are offering various ways to empower their team members to outperform. Most of the time, this is all you need to ensure your teams are producing results and leasing apartments. But what happens when incentives aren’t working? Yes, the typical response is to simply let that person go, and I would argue that most of the time that probably is the best bet. However, I believe there are ways to re-engage some employees to get them back into empowered performance. Before letting a really good employee go, consider the following steps: Re-Assess: Ask yourself, how often to do you truly conduct employee assessment? I am not talking about employee reviews, but actually assessing their skill set and how it relates to their current job functions and responsibilities. Is it possible the underperforming employee is doing so because the job doesn’t m......
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