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You Can’t Buy Experience, The Value of Long Term Teams

Possibly the most valuable asset in property management is the experience of the onsite management team. Properties with tenured, long time employees benefit from: development of annual systems. they have noticed, realized and anticipate occupancy trends. they create and build relationships with residents, which improves resident communication, rent collection and resident retention. Preventive maintenance is incorporated into the monthly schedule without fail. Staff Endorsement A staff with experience is an unspoken endorsement for a future resident. “I like working here, you’ll like living here.” Including this information in the introduction of team members to new residents, creates a sense of stability.These individuals, three, five, nine, ten, fifteen and even twenty years of seniority, bring immeasurable experience, wisdom and common sense to the workplace with them every day. Internally, we acknowledge our team members as our best practice experts. Rebecca has developed a fantastic system for this process. The organization would be lost without her. A question develops regarding a capital improvement or a unique repair, ask Bob, he’ll know the answer, find it for you or point you in the right direction. A new initiative to roll out, Abby will be the team leader for that. She’s overseen all of our transitions. That property has been stuck in an occupancy rut for a couple of weeks, have Carl take a look at the operations, he’ll be able to identify what’s missing. Management teams are surrounded by this wealth of experience. It’s often a questioon asked by potential employees during an interview, “How long have yo......
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Opportunities for Corporate Social Responsibility in Multifamily

The multifamily industry has made some meaningful progress when it comes to practicing corporate social responsibility (CSR). But there are still many areas for improvement. That was the consensus of a session examining the state of CSR in the apartment industry at the recent Apartment Internet Marketing (AIM) Conference in Huntington Beach, Calif. The session began with a look at what CSR really is. To be sure, practicing genuine CSR means much more than a company making periodic donations to local charities, although such donations are certainly laudable. Instead, an apartment company engages in true CSR when it has in place an ongoing, all-encompassing effort to care for, connect with and positively impact employees, residents and surrounding neighborhoods. The result of such a program should be more engaged workers, happier residents and increased profitability. A number of studies have demonstrated the importance of having a strong CSR program in place. 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 where are multifamily companies currently succeeding when it comes to CSR? "In terms of providing opportunities for career advancement, professional growth and time off we’re doing a pretty g......
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Variety Is the Spice of Training

Variety Is the Spice of Training
Training new associates: when you get down to it, the multifamily industry has few responsibilities more important. Well-trained onsite team members are absolutely critical to the creation of high-performing apartment communities.  In this day and age, multifamily companies have a bevy of options for training new associates. And in the end, for reasons of practicality and even associate learning style, companies will have to use a variety of training methods.  At ROSS, like other property management companies across the country, we have seen the benefits of using multiple training methods, from instructor-led classes to online courses. As a company, we believe in-person classes at our corporate offices are the most effective training tactic, and we try to maximize our use of them. In the end, however, relying solely on them just isn't practical for a company our size, given the geographic reach of our portfolio and the wide range of matters in which new associates need to be trained. Here is a quick summary of the different training methods that can be included in the onboarding process: Offsite in-person instructor-led classes: To my mind, this is the most impactful way of training new employees. It is even more effective than on-the-job training because it eliminates the many distractions otherwise present onsite, like ringing phones that must be answered and residents who need assistance. However, offsite instructor-led classroom lectures often present practical issues for companies with larger portfolios, as it isn't easy to bring new associates from multiple markets together in one......
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Creating a Culture of Success-Part Two: Common Purpose

Creating a Culture of Success-Part Two: Common Purpose
When you think of companies that you’d love to work for (besides your current one, of course!) what companies do you think of? If you’re like me some of the companies on your list might include: Southwest Airlines: (I love the unconventional pre-flight safety briefings and the fun atmosphere on their flights!) Google: (Free meals. Ping-pong tables. Dog-friendly.) Twitter: (Free yoga classes. Free meals. Sense that what they’re doing is changing the world.) Patagonia: (Focus on work-life balance. Flex time. “Green.” Fitness benefits.) I know that some of you might be thinking, “That’s great and all but Google can afford to give their employees free food, I can’t do that!” Or, “I have to staff an office seven days a week, I can’t give people flex time!” Or, “I don’t want to bring in ping-pong tables and free beer!” And if you are thinking this, I get it! Creating the kind of corporate culture that inspires and ignites success doesn’t have to be about yoga, couches in the conference room and hoodies and jeans everyday.  However the one thing that all of the companies above (and on your list) share in common is a belief that there is a Common Purpose that unites everyone. In my leadership classes (shameless plug alert!) I say that the sign of a high-performance team is that it is obvious that everyone is working together towards a Common Purpose that everyone has bought into and believe in.  Beyond the Vision Statement One of the biggest culture killers is a vision statement t......
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Three Things You Can Do NOW to Improve Your Communication

Three Things You Can Do NOW to Improve Your Communication
The multifamily housing industry is a people-centered business. Even if you wanted to avoid people, you couldn’t could you? There are people moving in. People moving out. People who want to move in. People who want your business. People who want to work for you. People who work for you. People who you work for.   | You cannot escape people … they will always find you. Always.    With so many people that you interact with in a day the odds are good that at some point you will encounter tension with someone else! I have studied connection and communication for many years and one of the most common reasons for miscommunication, misunderstandings, hurt feelings, angry feelings, frustration etc. is tied into our different styles of communicating. If you’ve read this blog you know that I speak often of the two main communication styles: Direct Communicstors Indirect Communicators Direct Communicators say what they mean and mean what they say. If you want to know what a direct communicator is thinking and feeling, just listen to the words! If they like something they’ll tell you. If they don’t like something, they’ll tell you. If they’re upset at you, you’ll know! And if they’d do anything for you, you’ll know that too. In contrast to the Direct Communicators are the Indirect Communicators, whose words have hidden messages in them. In fact their words often do not communicate the whole message, and much of the message is found in their expression, demeanor, body language, or lack thereof, or in between the l......
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Welcoming Generation Z to the Apartment Industry

Welcoming Generation Z to the Apartment Industry
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 m......
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How to Deal with Associates Whose Performance Is Not Cutting It

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 e......
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Events That Engage Associates, Produce Happier Employees

Events That Engage Associates, Produce Happier Employees
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 go-ka......
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What to Do When Multifamily Employees Date

What to Do When Multifamily Employees Date

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.

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Escape Boring Learning Events

Escape Boring Learning Events
  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 are called CIPH......
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