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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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Setting Expectations and Supporting Your Marketing Team for Success

  As you learned in part one of this two-part series, “Building and Leading a High-Performance Marketing Team,” you need to structure your team for success, building accountability and transparency into the process.   Once you have established the ground rules for your team, you need to be sure that each member contributes to the best of their ability and that everything runs smoothly. This includes recognizing achievements on an individual and team basis, establishing a clear mission and goals for the team, communicating effectively with team members, and creating opportunities for professional development and growth.   Recognition and advancement. You can’t lead a high-performance team without incentivizing performance. If everyone is treated the same regardless of output, you’re going to cultivate a culture of mediocrity. That’s why it’s important to offer strong incentives for high performers.   Verbal recognition in front of the team, division meetings and in front of senior leadership. Give credit where credit is due. Additionally, encourage every team member to recognize their coworkers—it shouldn’t just come from leadership. This recognition builds collaboration and appreciation into your team culture. Offer non-pay incentives, such as extra time off, additional remote working days, happy hours/team events and gifts to reward exceptional performance. Advancement is critical. You’re not going to keep strong performers if you don’t actively grow them into their next role. Every person on your team should have specific career goals. You should know those goals, whether they are short or long term, and you should actively look to advance each......
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Building and Leading a High-Performance Marketing Team

The digital age continues to transform the way people consume information and make buying decisions. The traditional way of structuring and leading marketing teams isn’t compatible with this transformation. Organization, staff competencies and project collaboration must evolve to maximize performance and efficiency. In the first half of a two-part series, we will look at how to structure a marketing team for success. In the second half, we will cover how leadership can set expectations and support team members.   Structuring for success. It starts with structure. A lot of marketing teams today are structured around specific channels. For example, you might have someone who is dedicated to PR, another person dedicated to digital or email and third who only works on social. This leads to a lot of silos where team members run into each other rather than working alongside each other to accomplish department goals.   Today’s omnichannel buyer journey requires organization around marketing process. For example, the creation of core pillars for demand generation (revenue-focused messaging; marketing operations, including execution and technology management; and customer experience, including post-sale onboarding, adoption and retention efforts) is a process-driven approach to team organization. Each team is responsible for a part of the marketing process to engage prospective buyers, operationalize messaging across channels to those buyers, and ensure adoption and retention post-sale. All team members can focus but also have insight into the bigger picture. This ensures the team is taking an audience-centric approach so that each initiative is effective at achieving core......
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Rewarding a Job Well Done: Why Recognition for Associates Is So Important

Rewarding a Job Well Done: Why Recognition for Associates Is So Important
A little acknowledgement can go a very long way. That’s especially true when it comes to rewarding successful employees in the multifamily industry. Apartment companies recognize and honor their associates in any number of ways, including financial bonuses, paid time off and annual award dinners. Recognizing strong associates and making sure they know they are valued will offer numerous benefits for apartment owners, from improved employee morale to communities that are better positioned to retain existing residents and attract new ones. Below are some essential reasons to reward a job well done: Motivated employeesAppreciation is a core human desire, and being rewarded for good work – whether it's through a simple "thank you" note or a financial reward – motivates employees to maintain and even improve their performance. Associates who are recognized for their contributions and who feel valued develop a greater sense of pride, loyalty and dedication towards the company they work for. A strong company cultureCompanies that reward strong employees do more than create a workforce full of associates individually motivated to improve their job performances. They also create vibrant, healthy overall company cultures. When employees feel valued, it strengthens their relationships with their superiors and peers, and these happy, satisfied associates can serve as powerful teachers and mentors for their fellow co-workers. A robust rewards and recognition program can truly set the stage for a great working atmosphere.  Good for businessTeam members who receive positive feedback and are rewarded for success will be more engaged. And in the multi......
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The Time For Change Is Now

If you are looking for the right time to make positive change in your life, now is that time! Don’t get me wrong, it's a good way to kick off the New Year but why wait!    Making a resolution is the same as setting a goal, there’s no reason to wait for the stars to align before acting, just go for it!   Like many of you, I have many goals that I’ve already started to push forward with (some of them have me in a lot of pain right now). I’ve enjoyed talking about resolution goals with others, however; I'm surprised at the number of people who have simply stopped making resolutions for the simple perspective that they will not be successful.     Sometimes we fail when trying to make better decisions or implement positive change but that’s no reason not to try. If you have a history of not reaching your goals, at least you have a history of goals and that should never change. Therefore; my recommendation is to keep pushing forward! If you need to start with small goals and work your way up, go for it.   I’ve got 3 tips for positive change and you don't have to wait until the new year to get started. Maybe you could incorporate one or all of them with your plans for a prosperous year.   1. Self-Awareness: If you can easily find reasons to not be successful, ask yourself if your reasons have a solution. To be truly successful we are going t......
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The Importance of Putting Your Customers Second

 You’ve heard it. I’ve heard it. It seems to be the motto of all service industries: “The customer is always right.” What if I told you that this directive was given to his employees by Harry Gordon Selfridge. Of Selfridge Department Store. In London, England. In 1909. I don’t know about you, but I’d say it’s time to reboot our approach. And I don’t mind stealing concepts from England again. In fact, IMHO, Sir Richard Branson has delivered the best motto for service industries for our time: “The way you treat your employees is the way they’ll treat your customers.” Consider this: resident turnover has consistently fluctuated between 51% and 59% for over a decade, according to NAA’s Annual Income and Expense Report. As a result, many property management companies have developed finely tuned resident retention programs that may include service guarantees, additional amenities, unique resident events, and more. Property management companies have been showing their residents the love! ... by expecting their employees to go above and beyond: Response times to calls and emails, service with a smile, online reputation management, mental gymnastics to reinvent the pool party, and on and on.  The result? Resident turnover remains between 51% and 59%. My friends, we are living the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Focus on resident retention has not moved the needle the way we expected it to. Yes, there are success stories out there, but not consistently and not in great volume. It’s time t......
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A Strong Office Culture: It's Critical to Multifamily Success

A Strong Office Culture: It's Critical to Multifamily Success
"Culture eats strategy for breakfast." Attributed to the renowned business consultant Peter Drucker, this famous quote underscores how a company must have a healthy corporate culture in order to thrive. But you don't need to take just Mr. Drucker's word for it. More and more, the business world is filled with leaders and executives who have realized that to attract the best and brightest associates – particularly millennials and members of Generation Z – the right office culture must be in place.  Just consider the remarks of Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn: "Culture and values provide the foundation upon which everything else is built. They are arguably our most important competitive advantage, and something that has grown to define us." Also note that, according to one study, millennials would be willing to take a pay cut of $7,600 if their new employer provided a better work environment.  Simply, put a toxic office culture – one in which problems are allowed to fester and in which associates don't feel supported and listened to – can lead to a seriously unhappy and unproductive workforce. And that, in turn, can torpedo the performance of a multifamily company's portfolio. Unhappy leasing staffs are an express route to unhappy prospects and residents. So what does a first-rate office culture look like? Here are some characteristics: Open and compassionateWhen multifamily associates know they can go to company management with any problem – big or small – that helps foster an open, honest work environment, and lets your employees k......
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Are You Trying to Control What You Can't Control?

Are You Trying to Control What You Can't Control?
Wouldn't it be great if there was remote control that you could use on people?? I mean, there are some people in your life that the MUTE button would be awesome for, right? (Admit it!) There are some conversations you'd love to be able to "fast forward" through, others you'd love to rewind and play again and again and times you'd love to be able to hit the pause button (just like Zack Morris in "Saved by the Bell") when you find yourself in an awkward or difficult situation.  Unfortunately, the remote control for people doesn't exist, and much as I have tried (believe me I have tried!!) I cannot control the people in my life and/or places and things around me. Yet, I have spent much of my lifetime trying to do just that, with lousy results!  Why am I sharing this with you? A few years ago I found myself in a crossroads point of my life and a wise sage who became one of my mentors drilled in me the idea that "You can only control what you have control over-so stop trying to control the things that you have no control over and focus on the things that you do have control over." The day I fully embraced this piece of advice is the day I started experiencing a true "comeback" in my life, because instead of focusing my energies on trying to change... My spouse My friends My family My clients The economy Taxes How people drive (although that......
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Tiny housing making big impact on combating homelessness in America

The fight to end homelessness in this country is a massive undertaking. About 3.5 million Americans experience homelessness each year, according to the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty. Alleviating this problem in a meaningful way will surely require a multi-faceted effort involving federal, state and local governments, non-profits and the private sector. Here's one possible component of the solution to this giant issue: tiny homes. Across the U.S., organizations are using tiny houses and apartment homes, which typically range from 100 square feet to 500 square feet, to provide shelter for the homeless. For instance, the nonprofit American Family Housing recently opened Potter's Lane, a 16-unit community in Midway City, Calif., to house homeless vets. The property features 480-square-foot apartment homes made from energy-efficient shipping containers. Across the country, in Newfield, N.Y., the nonprofit Second Wind Cottages, relying heavily on donated materials and volunteer labor, built a community of 12 tiny homes that house homeless men. Residents pay rent as they are able to help defray the community's operating expenses. Other examples of similar communities include the Tiny House Village in Seattle and the Community First! Village in Austin, Texas. Advocates of these developments note that they are comparatively cheap to build, and constructions costs often are further mitigated through the use of materials and labor supplied for free by area businesses and residents. Can the multifamily industry incorporate tiny apartment homes for the homeless into their communities? It's certainly something to think about. With its ample resources and......
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5 Vital Questions To Ask Yourself When You Are Stuck

5 Vital Questions To Ask Yourself When You Are Stuck
Have you ever been cruising through life, when all of a sudden, you hit a wall? I experienced this feeling of being stuck shortly after the Great Recession of 2008.  My business and life were both in the midst of an upheaval, and I began to question my purpose in life. I decided to take massive action and enroll in Life Coaching School at IPEC (Institute For Professional Excellence In Coaching), and was presented with these five vital questions during the training:     What do you want? What frustrates you about your life/business? What would it take to double your business? What have you tried and not tried? What is the number one thing you are trying to accomplish?   What do you want? This may seem like a fairly easy question to answer, but I will guarantee you that if you ask most people what they want, they will quickly proceed to tell you what they DON’T want. Therein lies the enormous problem. Most people’s focus is on what they don’t want, and any successful person learns that what you focus on is what grows in your life. It may appear to be a simple question, but once you can address the question, answers will begin pouring out. Let me give you a personal example.  During the time I became disgruntled with my business, I kept telling myself that I did not want to continue down the same path. I knew what I didn’t want, to work at the restaurant. What was it that I ......
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