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No Need For a Ring: Employee Engagement

Here’s the thing about employee turnover. It is directly correlated to employee engagement. So, let me tell you about Lauren. She does not work in our multifamily real estate industry. Instead, this bright young lady graduated #2 in her class at a prestigious university on the east coast. She is working at a pharmaceuticals company, coming in as a basic Claims Processor. She did work hard learning all the new formulas and processes and policies for her position. When others left at noon on Fridays that first summer, she worked until 5:00 PM, sometimes past – most of the time. Her immediate supervisor took notice of how precise her work was and how high the volume output was. He reported to his boss how impressed he was with her work. Soon they offered her the opportunity to join their company’s Leadership Class where she would be paired very often with the highest ranking officer of their division (pretty high up!) Her annual review went well with some positive feedback and a couple of needs improvement areas. She worked on those improvement areas, overcame them and was soon promoted to a leadership role supervising a couple of others. Then they noticed how well her group completed assignments and they promoted her to “boss” position. They gave her an Award (including money bonus) and sent her to the national corporate headquarters where she lead a team to assume management of a couple of their responsibilities. She delivered feedback on new hires, trained them, all while she continued to be mentored by the Division Boss and the Company Leaders. Recently they sent her to Puerto Rico to deliver a training session for the Company.


Sounds like a promising start to a career, doesn’t it?


Now, picture your onsite teams. How do you handle their onboarding process? Do you check in with your teams? Are you paying them what they are worth based on their productivity and contributions? Do you recognize their efforts? Do you sometimes lure people in with the promise that you will promote them, but do you? Or, every time a position becomes available are they brushed aside while you look for a “more experienced”, “more educated”, or a “better fit” for the needs of the position candidates? Do you ever offer the opportunity to attend conferences and trainings? Do you encourage them to become active with community organizations (and honestly, not just one day of the year for the United Way’s Day of Giving)? Do you provide challenges and leadership opportunities?


It is crazy to me that you hire someone for a Leasing Consultant position promising to promote them when you have not even worked with them and observed what their thought process is like. It is equally crazy to me that you settle on someone saying, “Well, if this one doesn’t work out, then we can let them go and find someone else.” What? If you are talking about firing someone you haven’t even hired yet, then that is NOT the person to hire.


I suggest we re-evaluate how we manage our onsite teams. It shouldn’t be a crapshoot in deciding who is likely to work out, but even if it is, are there things we can do in our industry to help keep our teams engaged?


If you have an onsite manager who is just killing it with the budget numbers (even a budget he/she did not have any input in creating), shouldn’t someone notice that and send that person a Shout Out? If you have a property that was at 74% in February and after hiring some new faces that actually like talking on the phone and emailing Prospects, occupancy increases to 90%, shouldn’t someone throw a party? Instead, I have actually had an Owner say, “What is good about 90%? I need you to be 99%. Would it have killed him to recognize their efforts with a catered lunch and balloons and maybe a Starbucks card or two?


People do not want to be told there are opportunities for advancement and when the time comes, they are passed over because of a lack of education. I suggest implementing tuition reimbursement programs.


People do not want to stay late, come in early, work on weekends with no additional compensation and recognition. An extra paid day off should not be a burden. It should not take an act of Congress to get a raise and a Shout Out for a job well done. Heck, some teams would be happy with DQ Dilly Bars every once in a while on a hot day.


Creative problem-solvers bore easily. Don’t let them languish. Challenge them. If you cannot promote them, ask them if they would be interested in working on a different property for a little while. Give them a problem someone is having and ask them how they would solve it.


And finally, if the boss is a jerk to everyone around and treats people like they are less than the dirt underneath the trash cans in the alley, then get rid of him/her.


Our onsite teams know that the CEO is busy and don’t expect him to notice, but what if he did? What if the VP of Operations took on the mentoring role of a Manager? What would happen if the company hired a few Area Managers to lessen the Regional’s load? What would happen if your company partnered with the community or vocational technical colleges and set up HVAC training certification programs? What would happen if our onsite teams were told they areTHE VALUE ADD to the properties?


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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Yikes! Are you describing your company?

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

<p>Since each person is in a different situation and in a different place in his life, I advise carefully! It depends on what the end goal is for that individual. Mostly, I just wanted Readers to picture how much better life could be for onsite teams when they feel valued and important to the overall function within their companies. For me, personally, I have to say I have been given challenges by bosses/Owners who clearly believed in my ability to rise to the challenge. I have been very fortunate to know some great people. But I am a kind of blunt person, too, and sometimes I fit in better in one company than another - and that is all right. You are right, good leadership can make or break a team. A lot of times though, Managers are not empowered to actually lead and sometimes they are human and make mistakes. Sometimes you do need to be patient and create your team, which may mean you have to work harder for a little while longer. The status quo is not the best road to take - it's nice to climb a hill every once in a while so you have fun coming down the other side! That's is my advice: work hard, be professional is your dealings with others, have a sense of humor and the way your company has always done it is not always the best thing for you if you are an "outside the box" thinker.</p>

  Mindy Sharp
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

lol I just read you reply - it was really a rhetorical question. But your answer does jive with my belief that managers are as good as they're allowed to be. Good luck with everything.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

lol I just read you reply - it was really a rhetorical question. But your answer does jive with my belief that managers are as good as they're allowed to be. Good luck with everything.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

On the subject of education, companies should really track who pays for their own education. Although there are a ton of great companies that sign up for educational programs here, it always amazes me how many will sign themselves up and pay for the webinars themselves. Those are the exact type of people who I would want to hire and promote!

  Brent Williams

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