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7 Ways to Curb Sexual Harassment at Your Community

One good thing that has come out of all of the recent celebrity sexual harassment scandals is that people are no longer willing to put up with this type of behavior, and that the rich and powerful might no longer be able to hide behind their money and fame.

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Is Your Training Effective?

Is Your Training Effective?
Picture this: You are a busy property manager or leasing agent. You have residents coming in and out asking about rent and charges1. The internet is down in building 34 and Resident Randy can’t watch his daily cat videos on YouTube. As you are trying to calm Randy down your scheduled tour arrives and watches all this unfold. Does Prospect Polly really want to live here now since she works from home and the internet is essential for her job?  Your maintenance person just called in sick and unit 3104 need to be turned because your occupancy is tanking and you will miss out on your NOI bonus if 3104 isn’t occupied by the end of the month!  On top of all of this, the county health inspector is testing the water in the pool with a concerned look on his face. If this feels familiar to you, it means you have experienced a typical day working on a property (working in multifamily is a busy place to be!) Being a Property Manager or Leasing Agent can be a difficult job with many challenges. I commend you for all of your hard work and dedication to the community and company you represent!  Now on top of all of this you need to be trained or train your staff on how to better handle these scenarios. How do you fit it all in and make it effective? Below are two topics for discussion on the topic of training: 1. Training Gets in the Way Many large PMC......
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#TreatYoTalent!

#TreatYoTalent!
Think about the last time you walked out of a store due to poor service. Was the employee helping you a grouch? Unhelpful? Due to employee dissatisfaction, you, the customer, ended up dissatisfied as well. Some people can power through a bad work environment, true, but ultimately if your employees aren’t happy, then chances are your customers won’t be happy. How do you fix this? One of the best ways is to stop treating employees simply as ‘employees,’ and seeing and engaging them as the talent instead. It’s not that hard to do and can be as simple as treating your talent with dignity and respect. Here are some tips to help the talent feel more satisfied. More open space. No matter how many anthropomorphized animal movies you see, animals people are not, so don’t cage them up. Cramming too many cubicles in one space creates the feeling of cattle trapped in a pen. And with too many chatty co-workers, it can sound like one too. So give your talent room to breathe, think, and move around. When they feel free, their mind will be free to function at full capacity. Break Rooms. Everyone needs to get away from their desk at some point, and it’s recommended you move around every hour1 to decrease chances of obesity and to keep up mental and physical health. So having a break room with a pool, ping pong, or foosball table gives your talent a place to go to and decompress before they get overwhelmed. Employee Perks. While I’m still discovering what exactly the perks are o......
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Show Them the Love!

Show Them the Love!
Most people know that having good employees can make or break any organization. To top it off, high employee turnover can be one of the hardest things to overcome and deal with. It may seem that our best leave and our worst stay. If funds are limited, what can we do to increase our likelihood of keeping or creating those rock stars that make everything tick? Training is one of those ways. Investing in our teams by helping them to develop their skills can be so powerful. There is nothing like additional training to boost performance, build skills and show our team members that we really care about their success. Because let’s face it, few employers have ever really become successful without the help of a few good men and women. Creating learning opportunities for our teams might sound like an expensive proposition, and it can be. But truth be told, it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few ideas that can help encourage your team to learn and develop while keeping your budgets in check. First, ask each team member what their goals are. Not just for their current job, but for their life. Find ways that you can help them towards those goals even if it means they will leave you. One example might be that if a team member wants to learn a new software program that will help them to do graphics, give them the opportunity by investing in online training (inexpensive if done through a service like Lynda.com). Maybe thi......
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1:1

1:1
I was asked to be the manager of a small team of 5 people about a year after I finished college. At the time, I was sure this was due to my management skill, but in hindsight, I believe the promotion was largely due to my performance as an individual. Very often, managers are promoted under similar circumstances, and this practice is not just limited to software companies1. Many of the Property Managers and Regional Managers I meet were at one time the best leasing agents in their office now promoted to be managers. Being a new manager is difficult, not in the least part because now all of a sudden you’re accountable for the work of other people. And people can be so… unpredictable. New managers all go through a phase where they ask themselves, “how can I be a good manager?” To add to the proliferation of opinions on the internet, I’d like to share one more through the lens of a simple weekly meeting: the 1:1. Managing Sam (my perspective; name changed to protect the innocent) Sam was one of the first employees I managed. He was bright, fun to work with, and methodical. Previous to my promotion, we had been peers. As a new manager, I just presumed that since Sam was such a nice guy, he was surely being productive. We didn’t really meet to discuss his work, but I was able to observe his output. We were good friends, and often went to lunch as a team to lau......
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PBL and Training-More Than Just Peanut Butter

PBL and Training-More Than Just Peanut Butter
Have you ever wondered how you can make your training more effective without hiring a rock and roll band to entertain the students? Look no further than Problem Based Learning (PBL). PBL has been used and researched heavily in education and has found good adoption. Using PBL in a typical technology training environment is less common. Let me explain… Often times in training we assume that the best way to help our trainees learn is to simply tell them what we want them to know. But imagine training where instead of giving you the answers, you are given problems to solve instead. These problems must be related to the learning at hand of course, and a place to find the answers should also be provided. This is like turning a classroom upside down and making the student the teacher. Add small groups to the mix and you have a fun interactive treasure hunt that can yield big rewards. Why would I do this… One of the biggest rewards to using problems in your trainings is that the learning has a better tendency to stick when you have to search for the answer. When we are just told the information we have to find a way to attach that new learning to something we already know so that we know what bucket to store it in our brains. Without that association the learning has a tendency to go in one ear and out another. When you have to search for an answer you build you......
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Top Multifamily Executives Weigh-in on Change Management

Top Multifamily Executives Weigh-in on Change Management
Multifamily leaders share their keys to empowering property staff when launching new systems and technology  By some estimates, 70% of change initiatives fail to meet their objectives. According to Multifamily Solutions president Dennis Smillie, it’s a staggering figure illustrating common barriers when launching any sort of change at an apartment organization. “Change management starts long before implementation begins,” says Smillie, “And effective change management survives and thrives long after implementation is done.” Beyond the standpoint of multifamily software, he explains that change confronts all departmental areas and disciplines. “It can be something as simple as asking your offices to stay open an extra half hour during the summer to capture more opportunities in the leasing center,” Smilie says. “Whether it’s technology, or whether it’s simple business processes, change is change.” “You need a good change management plan. That’s the key component,” agrees Scott Pechersky, Vice President of Technology and Ancillary Services at Alliance Residential, who outlines four specific questions his team asks right from the get-go when implementing change: 1) What are the behaviors we want to get out of our staff? 2) Which employee positions will we primarily use to communicate the change? 3) How will we communicate that message? 4) What new costs or budgeting measures will be impacted?   “Success is important,” explains Smillie. “But failure is even more important because failure creates barriers to future change. Every time a change effort fails it generates greater resistance to any subsequent new initiatives, related or unrelated.” To help ward off those unintended consequences, Wate......
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INSANITY! How to Use the Secrets of Good Marketing to Motivate Your Employees

INSANITY! How to Use the Secrets of Good Marketing to Motivate Your Employees
As I have come to terms with getting older and that I'm not in the athletic shape I used to be in, I have been contemplating doing the Insanity workout. Have you seen the infomercials for this program? As the name suggests, Insanity is a high-intensity workout that seems, well, insane. Here is how the website describes the program:   GET INTO INSANE SHAPE IN JUST 60 DAYS. INSANITY® might be the hardest workout ever put on DVD. You’ll push past your limits and burn 1,000 calories an hour on your way to your hardest body ever.    As I’ve done my research, I see that this isn’t hype ... Insanity seems to be as hard as advertised. Here are some comments from people who have purchased the program:   My muscles are currently screaming, every bit of me hurts. The "Insanity" workout is just that, INSANEly difficult. ...You may slip on your own sweat!!! Be prepared to be sore all the time ...   So ... WHY would anyone put themselves through this? Because people want results like this -(before on the left, after on the right)       Listen, to get into great shape and have abs like this-I’d definitely consider potentially killing myself on my living room floor! This my friends is how they sell the program-by reminding you of the results you could have in just 60 days. The pain is no longer a deterrent, it’s also part of the appeal!    Want the easy way out? This ......
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Breaking Through the Fair Housing Wall

Breaking Through the Fair Housing Wall
  As you may have heard, April is “Fair Housing Month.” Oh wait, before I go further, let me say this: “I am not an attorney. This post should not be construed as legal advice, Please consult an attorney if you do have any questions regarding the information contained in this post.” Okay, back to the post. I’m sure we all agree that the passage of Fair Housing laws has been a tremendous force for good in the housing community and in our nation as a whole. As a minority and as a father myself, I’m glad I cannot be discriminated for housing based on my ethnicity or familial status. Equal opportunity in housing is a good thing and should be celebrated. However, I believe that in our attempts to ensure that our people are educated and act in compliance with Fair Housing laws, we may have also created a culture of fear and paralysis which has, in turn, created walls, obstacles and blocks, within our front line people, to providing good, and even “common sense” customer service. Equal Opportunity For Good, Not Bad! I remember being told by someone, whom I was training, that she didn’t offer coffee to any clients out of fear that she would miss someone and be accused of discrimination. When I was the customer care manager of a company in Southern California I received many complaints from people who were denied refunds or credits or other ‘exceptions,’ that actually made good customer service sense, due to “fair housing" conc......
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