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Posted by on in Multifamily Training and Career Development
The apartment industry has obsessed for years over millennials: how to attract them as residents and how to manage them as employees. Well, it's now time to begin thinking about the next generation. Generation Z, also known as iGeneration, consists of those born between the mid-1990s and 2010. Believe it or not, members of this cohort are now arriving in the workforce. Perhaps more amazingly, they will account for 20 percent of the workforce by 2020, according to the Robert Half consulting firm. Millennial associates at ROSS have contributed so much to our company, and we are excited about embracing the talents of Gen Z'ers as well. Below is a summary of what our research and experience with this generation has shown about their characteristics, which differ from millennials in some ways:  Digital fluencyMillennials are tech savvy, but Gen Z'ers are known as the “first true digital natives." This means they have never known a world without the Internet, smartphones and the instant gratification that comes with technology.  As apartment leasing and operations become more technologically advanced, operators will likely find themselves leaning heavily on the considerable digital expertise of their Gen Z associates. And because of their life-long immersion in technology, Gen Z'ers are perhaps even better than millennials at multi-tasking, a valuable skill in the fast-paced multifamily industry. Given their love of technology, apartment companies should, as we do at ROSS, make it easy to apply for jobs via mobile devices and allow associates to access training on their...

Posted by on in Multifamily Training and Career Development
The multifamily industry is a complex and demanding business. Companies need high-functioning associates to keep their communities running smoothly and to deliver satisfactory returns to investors. When even one team member's work is not meeting expectations, it can significantly hamper a multifamily company's operations. Therefore, underperforming associates must be addressed promptly and effectively.  Below are some tips for handling an employee whose work is not up to par: Avoid avoidanceLet's face it: confronting someone about his or her poor job performance can be an uncomfortable task. And it's easy to put off uncomfortable tasks. But a company is doing no one any favors when it delays having these tough conversations. So don't wait – address problems as quickly as possible. Be direct and be specificWhen discussing performance problems with an employee, you don't have to be unpleasant, but you should get straight to the point. Clearly state what the issues are and cite specific examples. Have a real conversationDon't let a meeting with a struggling associate become a monologue by HR. Give the employee a real chance to explain his or her performance and really listen to their feedback. Perhaps they are struggling with stress-management or other personal problems. Maybe they feel like they need more training in a certain area, or perhaps there are issues with fellow co-workers or supervisors that need to be examined. If any of these problems or similar ones are plaguing the employee, consider the ways your company can help. Give them a mentorProviding a struggling...

Posted by on in Multifamily Training and Career Development
Happy and committed team members – it’s the goal of apartment operators everywhere. The reason: team members who like their jobs are more likely to help you grow occupancy and revenue. They simply care more about the company and are more willing to provide better service to residents while also passionately pursuing new ones. But, how do you create an environment that attracts and develops these types of team members? For starters, apartment owners/operators have to develop the right workplace culture. That's a comprehensive undertaking covering every aspect of an organization’s operations. As part of a healthy culture, multifamily operators should regularly hold events that engage onsite associates, strengthen their bonds with each other and the company, and make them feel appreciated. Below are some activities that do just that. Brainstorming sessionsToday's team members, particularly millennials, want their voices to be heard. Their job satisfaction increases significantly when they have the chance to provide feedback and propose new ideas. By holding regular brainstorming sessions about how to improve operations and address any community issues, a manager creates a feeling of empowerment. Volunteer opportunitiesMillennials, the majority of your community team members, want to make their world a better place. By organizing opportunities for them to volunteer for good causes, you'll help them satisfy this need, and they will feel good about your company in return. To increase their satisfaction with such events, give associates a prominent voice in deciding where you volunteer. Offsite team-building activitiesThink along the lines of escape-the-room games or...

Posted by on in Multifamily Training and Career Development
There are tons of ways to meet someone. On dating apps, through friends, “other.” According to a survey on Mic.com, the third-most popular place people meet is at work. (And shockingly not by meeting at a party and having a misunderstanding and one thinks the other is arrogant and the other is a ditz but then realizing you love each other just as you are, or by researching how to get guys to dump you for a magazine article you’re writing and falling for the guy who is secretly trying to trick you into falling in love with him but actually does love you as well, or by being a hooker with a heart of gold. I’ll have what she’s having!) It makes sense—this is where most people spend their time and have a lot of their social interactions. So, property managers, there are lots of employees at a community. What do you do when some inevitably start dating or seeing each other casually? It’s awkward to talk about, but it’s important to have some rules and guidelines in place. Here are some suggestions. Read the whole blog....

Posted by on in Multifamily Training and Career Development
  Escape Rooms are all the rage these days. It’s a locked room with various clues and puzzles that need to be solved in order to escape. If you haven’t had a chance to participate in one, check it out. It’s a great team building activity, excellent way to support learning, relatively easy to design, and affordable! I was inspired at the Learning 2016 conference to develop an escape room of my own for an upcoming Regional Manager meeting devised to support leadership ideas. Depending on how intricate you make the clues, an escape room can easily take over an hour. For this event, I had about 30 minutes, so it needed to be quick and uncomplicated! Knowing I needed help, I started by enlisting a partner right away. Next, I used Stephen Covey’s second habit of highly effective people, “Begin with the end in mind.” We then put our heads together and determined how to summarize the entire activity: What would be the main takeaway? We landed on the idea of servant leadership, and began the search for a quote to tie into this theme. Robert Greenleaf, the father of Servant Leadership, said, “Good leaders must first become good servants.” Perfect! Now that we had our quote, we needed to determine how the participants would solve the puzzles to uncover this quote. Remember in the old days, when you wrote secret codes by aligning a number and a letter and it allowed you to decode a secret numerical message? Well, those devices...

Posted by on in Multifamily Training and Career Development
When I first became a community manager I thought that being committed to my job meant that I rarely took breaks! After all there were so many things that I needed to take care of in a day from leading my team, to supervising operations, to responding to customers, managing our budget etc. that I felt that I just needed to plow through my day, even if that meant NOT taking any real breaks.  So, I would often not have any kind of substantial lunch, relying on coffee and granola bars to fuel me through. Sometimes I’d do a quick run to the gas station and grab a hot dog, Cheetos and soda (yes, I know) and come right back to my office to eat it. And yes, even though I was officially “out to lunch” I often found myself doing work while eating at my desk.  I thought I was being productive. I thought I was multi-tasking and being more efficient. Turns out, I was not. And you’re not either if you’re doing this on a daily basis! Turns out that we NEED to take periodic breaks throughout the day to maintain our productivity. Studies tell us that people who take one break an hour, and this could include something as simple as grabbing a cup of coffee or tea, taking a quick walk, stretching, or having a quick snack, are more productive than if they just kept working.  (No, this doesn’t mean you work for an hour and take...

Posted by on in Multifamily Training and Career Development
In all my years in human resources and the apartment industry, I don't think I've seen a generation of employees pinned with as many negative stereotypes as millennials. "Snowflakes," "job hoppers," "entitled," "needy," "easily distracted" … the list seems endless.  The list is also extremely unfair.  At ROSS, millennials have proven to be invaluable members of our community leasing and management teams. Their energy, entrepreneurial spirit, technological skills and overall creativity have provided a boost to operations across our portfolio.  Sure, millennials may have different attitudes and preferences than their baby boomer or Generation X counterparts. But that doesn't make them bad employees. It just means they need to be managed differently to keep them inspired and engaged.  Here are some tips for managing millennial associates: Be transparentThe days when a manager could be tight-lipped and aloof to associates are long gone. Millennials – as well as workers from other generations – demand transparency in the workplace.  How can apartment companies provide this transparency? For starters, a team leader has to be crystal-clear from the beginning of an associate's tenure about opportunities for advancement and what they need to do to earn promotions. Knowing they have the chance to grow at your company will help millennials feel more engaged with their jobs. Also, as much as possible, keep onsite team members in the loop on company news and how it may impact their jobs. When employees feel like they’re in the dark, their anxiety grows and their job satisfaction dips. Be...

Posted by on in Multifamily Training and Career Development
puckTuesday night my ten-year-old son, Frankie, and I went to witness the Anaheim Ducks beat the Dallas Stars at the Honda Center. Frankie has been begging me for five years to take him early so we can meet the players before the game. Not knowing anything about hockey, and not trusting the word of a hopeful child, I never went early. But on this particular day, the timing worked out and we arrived at the game about two hours in advance. “What in the world do you do for two hours before a Ducks game?” you ask. A very good question indeed. We covered every inch of the arena, including the Team Store (hold on to your wallets!) and soaked in the rich history of the Honda Center sports, concerts, and events. (Did you know the band, KISS, has an arena football team that plays there? You’re welcome.) At one point, we met a friendly usher who mentioned fans were permitted near the team bench to watch warm ups, which were beginning in about 20 minutes. We rushed down to secure premium seating, but the best we could get was eighth row on the rails of the tunnel used by the players when traveling from the locker room to the bench (and ice). The players were about to come out when Frankie leaned over the rail, extending his ten-year-old arm as far as it could possibly stretch in order to high-five the players as they walked by. Unfortunately, because of his...

Posted by on in Multifamily Training and Career Development
Working in the multifamily sector is immensely rewarding. It's also extremely demanding. Community team members juggle a lot: keeping current residents satisfied, screening and engaging prospects, and making sure the apartment community is kept in tip-top shape, to name just a few of their responsibilities. The most successful multifamily companies find ways to consistently recognize their hardworking and high-performing associates. In addition to simply being the right thing to do, rewards are a great way to keep morale high and boost employee retention.  So what are some of the most effective ways to show your best associates some love? Below are some suggestions. Financial bonuses. Keeping associates happy is about more than just compensation. A company's overall work culture and its commitment to employee development are perhaps even more important factors. But let's face it: everyone likes a little extra cash in their pockets, and there is no shortage of reasons for which apartment companies can award some much-appreciated bonuses. At ROSS, for instance, we award $250 gift cards to high-performing leasing associates, as measured by their Telephone Performance Analysis (TPA) scores; these scores reflect how well associates interact with prospects during phone calls. We also give bonuses every quarter to associates who work at communities with strong scores on customer-satisfaction surveys. In addition, we provide bonuses to maintenance workers who perform well, associates who serve as mentors to new employees and associates who reach particular length-of-service milestones with the company. Paid time off.  Today's associates, particularly millennials, place a laudable...

Posted by on in Multifamily Training and Career Development
Let's face it: virtually nobody likes employee performance reviews. For community managers, performance reviews are one more thing to cram into an already hectic schedule, and they often mean confronting team members about performance issues.  For those being reviewed, the anxiety provoked by sitting down with their boss and going over their work with a fine-tooth comb can be profound. But it doesn't have to be that way. In fact, performance reviews can and should take place in a relaxed setting where boss and employee can frankly discuss performance and set clear goals for growth.  Below are some tips on how community managers can make performance reviews a more comfortable and productive process: Constantly Provide Feedback A performance review should never be the first time a team member hears about negative or even positive aspects of their performance. Effective community managers are always providing feedback to their employees.  When team members receive regular input from their managers, they will have a firm understanding of where they stand going into the review process. This understanding will in turn decrease their stress levels and set the stage for a more relaxed, productive conversation about their future. Be OrganizedFor those conducting the reviews, preparation can be easy to put off until the last minute. But it's important to resist this powerful temptation, or the actual meeting can become a rambling mess. Decide in advance the overarching purpose of the meeting. In other words, what do you want the main takeaway for the employee to be?...