Drew Brucker
Hey Ann, thanks for adding in your thoughts. Great perspective.

I absolutely believe Gen is/will ...
Thanks for sharing, Drew! Your blog post offers great insight on Generation Z and explains why multi...
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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?...

Posted by on in Multifamily Training and Career Development
The goal of an IPEC (Institute of Professional Excellence) coach is to have a complete understanding of what a client wants, what is blocking them and why.  This article is going to focus on what those blocks are and how to break through these barriers. A block is simply anything that hinders you, and it comes from the external (economy) or internal.  An internal block could be your beliefs and your attitudes about the world.  Ironically, 95% of our blocks are internal.  Have you ever heard the saying “Your external appearances are a manifestation of what’s going on inside”?  Simply put, what’s going on inside will reflect your results. Let me give you a simple example.  Have you ever noticed someone who is always late for his appointments and is living in constant chaos?  This is just a reflection of what he is processing internally.  On the other hand, a person who never has an excuse, is always present and attacks any challenge is one who has very few internal blocks. Let me list the four blocks and discuss how to conquer these blocks: Limiting Beliefs Interpretations Assumptions Gremlin A coach uses the acronym GAIL to refer to the blocks.  Gremlins are the most powerful blocks, and limiting beliefs are the least restrictive.  The goal is to understand each of these blocks, remove these blocks and create a new reality.  Let’ begin with limiting beliefs: Limiting belief: This block is responsible for holding someone back from achieving success.  It is something that you accept in life that limits you.  If you believe that you will not...

Posted by on in Multifamily Training and Career Development
Apartment companies spend a vast amount of time and energy making sure their communities provide the ideal environment to attract and retain residents. And justifiably so: low occupancy and stagnant rents are the twin pillars of misery in the multifamily industry. But with all of the focus on residents, it can be easy for apartment firms to neglect a vital task: building the kind of company culture that will attract and retain talented, experienced team members. Today's multifamily team members are looking for more than just a steady paycheck. They want to work for a company where they feel truly supported and part of something larger, where work/life balance is promoted and where advancement is possible. To get down to brass tacks, if your company culture doesn't incorporate those elements, you're going to have unhappy leasing staffs — and, by extension, unhappy residents. Building a Strong Culture Having the right company culture is more important than ever. In 2015, millennials became the largest generation in the U.S. workforce, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. And millennials, more than their predecessors, value a healthy work environment. "Millennials place a high priority on workplace culture and desire a work environment that emphasizes teamwork and a sense of community," says “PwC’s NextGen: A Global Generational Study.” The 2013 report was compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the University of Southern California and the London Business School.  "They also value transparency (especially as it relates to decisions about their careers, compensation and...

Posted by on in Multifamily Training and Career Development
If you're new to the property management/multifamily housing industry, you might feel as if industry veterans speak a language all their own. And, they really do, don’t they? It reminds me of the scene in the movie Good Morning Vietnam where Adrian Cronauer remarks to his boss, who is fond of using military acronyms and jargon, “Excuse me, sir. Seeing as how the VP is such a VIP, shouldn’t we keep the PC on the QT? ‘Cause if it leaks to the VC he could end up MIA, and then we’d all be put on KP.” I remember in my early days my CM coming to me telling me, "Rommel, remember when you're filling out the MSR to get PTE...." WHAT????? So…if you are new to this whole thing, we wanted to give you a quick primer on the terms you’re likely to hear and what they mean, so that you can get up to speed quickly! And if you're an industry veteran please forward this to your new associates and add your own as well! Occupancy: This is a number, expressed in a percentage, that tells how full a community is. So, a 100 unit community with 95 apartments occupied is said to be 95% occupied. Availability/Exposure: This is a number, expressed in a percentage, that tells how many units are available for rent. This number is often confused with occupancy, but it is different! So, if a community has 100 units and there are 8 units available for rent...