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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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How to Effectively Manage Millennial Associates

How to Effectively Manage Millennial Associates
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 a good ......
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4 Things you need to know about the New Federal Overtime Rules

4 Things you need to know about the New Federal Overtime Rules
Although I’ve been reading about this for over a year, I was still scratching my head about the #NewFederalOvertimeRules even a week or so ago!  Four important basics follow.   The first thing you need to know is it takes effect December 1, 2016.  The second thing you want to know is whether your salaried exempt employees are still exempt from overtime, or if they will now be eligible for overtime.  To be paid as salaried exempt (no overtime), they MUST meet ALL of these rules: •As of December 1, 2016 the employee must make $47,476 or more per year.  ANYONE making less than that is automatically non-exempt (not exempt from overtime, i.e., they are eligible for overtime).   Prior to that, the threshold was $23,660. •The employee must be paid a set amount each week, not varying based on how many hours worked. •Their duties must include “managerial” decisions, such as supervising others, with the authority to hire and fire or greatly impact personnel decisions. For the complete list, go to https://www.dol.gov/whd/overtime/final2016/general-guidance.pdf Best Practice: Perform an audit of all your existing employees and if an employee doesn’t meet any one of these, that employee is non-exempt, meaning they are eligible for overtime pay. The third thing you’ll want to consider are the several options to “stay legal.” A few are listed here:  •Raise pay: You can increase the person’s pay to minimum $47,500, and if you meet the other 2 requirements you may still pay the employee as salaried-exempt (from overtime).  •Recl......
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Giving Better Performance Reviews

Giving Better Performance Reviews
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?......
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Speed Hiring! 8 Tips for Finding the Right People Fast!

Speed Hiring! 8 Tips for Finding the Right People Fast!
A recent tweet from GraceHill said that our industry is slow to hire.  It reminded me of why I try to be PASSIONATE about hiring.  When you have a vacant or about-to-be-vacant position, nothing is really more important.  If you’re a “MAN DOWN” You can’t get your work done as well, working to see the other person’s job is done  Everyone else has to work harder too You are torn between time to recruit, interview, vet and hire, and time to do what’s not being done by the “missing person”  And that doesn’t even consider the impact of the learning curve on co-workers’ time and keeping results up.  The best solution: REHIRE FAST! Here are 8 Tips to Speed Hiring: 1. Post ads before the ink dries on your outgoing employee’s notice!  Post the position on any site you think will draw qualified industry professionals: Apartment Association job sites, Craigslist, LinkedIn, MultifamilyInsiders, Indeed, and more!  2. Call your “Employment Pool.”  Think of people who have “WOWed” you, or who have sent you a resume in the past.  Call them now!  If they aren’t interested, ask if they know anyone else.   3. Network!  I was excited to get 2 great referrals from a business friend I messaged on LinkedIn!  Call your network and let them know what you’re looking for, and contact everyone they suggest.  Even if that person isn’t “the one,” they may give you a name!   4. Call any resume that meets your criteria FAST!  In fact, set an alarm so your email dings every time......
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3 Reasons NOT to Ask an Employee Who’s Quit to Stay!

3 Reasons NOT to Ask an Employee Who’s Quit to Stay!
I worked for a big company as a Regional VP and was ready to leave. It was just time. The owner of the company, who had always driven Toyotas bought his first status car – a Jaguar. When I gave my notice, he said if I stayed I could use his brand new Jaguar for a year!   First, he didn’t have a clue what motivated me, although I’d worked for him almost 10 years. Second my mind was made up. But 3rd and most important, the notice period was very awkward because I wasn’t planning to stay and a good employer/employee relationship soured a little. So don’t do the “Jaguar!” Don’t ask the person to stay, offer them more money, or negotiate, no matter how tempting.  Even with your best employee ever. MAYBE there are exceptions to this rule, but generally speaking, it’s not a good practice. Here are 3 reasons why: 1.Even the best employee has had to “divorce” you in his/her mind in order to accept another position. In fact, they have had to consider ways the next option is better, and possibly come up with things they don’t like about your company.  In most cases, even if they stay, they don’t stay long, so you still have to replace them anyway.   2.If you have to offer them more money to stay, there is always the question in the back of the departing employee’s mind: why wasn’t I worth that before I gave notice?  And that can turn it into a “bidding war” ......
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How to Best Onboard a New Multifamily Employee

How to Best Onboard a New Multifamily Employee
It's an all-too-common-scene at multifamily companies and other workplaces across the country. The new hire spends her first day on the job alone at a desk, buried under an avalanche of HR paperwork and struggling to get her computer running.  Unfortunately, this grim first day is often followed by days or even weeks of disorganization in which the company fails to give the new team member adequate support. Such a dispiriting and chaotic start greatly increases the chances that the worker's stint will be a short and unhappy one. Well-thought-out and engaging onboarding plans are critical to creating successful employees. They are especially important in the multifamily industry, which needs prepared, confident and stable teams to handle the challenging tasks of leasing and managing apartment communities. Here are some tips for building effective onboarding programs at multifamily companies: Get the paperwork out of the way early. And by "early," I mean as soon as the employee arrives on their first day, so the employee and you can then focus on team introductions and establishing a fun, productive environment for your newest team member.   Be clear about responsibilities. You no doubt will have covered this to some extent during the interview process, but the onboarding phase must clearly delineate an employee's responsibilities and how his or her work will be evaluated. What aspects of a community's or a portfolio's performance will affect the team member's compensation, for example? This step may seem obvious, but it's surprising how often it's not carried......
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Too Late to Terminate?

As HR professionals we get two common calls about the timing of termination decisions: Manager calls Human Resources from the field and asks, "Can I terminate this employee? He is driving me crazy, calling in all the time, and messing up my schedule."  HR proceeds to ask questions about the employee's performance, documented feedback, potential liability, etc. Eventually, the manager confesses, "Actually, I already termed the employee, and I was hoping you'd say it was okay." Manager calls HR and says, " Can I terminate this associate? She is out on Family Medical Leave because she just had a baby, but we think she's been doing a terrible job." In the first scenario, what's done is done. Hindsight suggests that managers should consult with HR prior to making termination decisions for several reasons: The manager might not know the employment history that HR has in the file; The manager might not know the precedents set by previous decisions, policies, and exceptions; and The manager might not be aware of the potential liability created by testing recent case law. In the second situation, the employee is on federally protected leave, and that's not a good time to terminate.  HR's back office rant following this call goes like this, "Why didn't the manager coach the employee when she started to suspect her? Why didn't the manager investigate, warn or suspend the employee before now? Why is this the first we're hearing of this?" Bottom line for managers: Your job is much more enjoyable and results......
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The Chilling Effect of Firing a Manager

When I was in college, I worked in a drive through ice cream shop. It was my first formal job and I was happy that I could support myself and continue to pay my way through college. I was also, realistically, a teenager and inexperienced in the adult world of work. I was also pretty outgoing and friendly and had the audacious knack for giving away ice cream treats to boys I thought were cute and drove nice cars. I also would allow my boyfriend to sneak into the shop (remember, this was a walk-up window or a drive through, so there were no reasons for anyone other than employees to be inside.) Even though he would only stay for a quick kiss session before he would head off to his job (and it turns out that I actually ended up marrying him …) it was nevertheless against company policy, but I did it anyway. Until – one day – when I got caught by a “shopper” who turned out to be the owner whom I had never met. When the Manager called me into his tiny office a few days later to ask me what the heck I was doing letting someone into the shop, I quickly shut my mouth. At least I had the good sense to not talk back to him. Instead, I swallowed, and said I was sorry and that it would never happen again, that I had no idea my actions could bring any issue such as liabil......
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