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Your Employees are Complaining. Are You Listening?

Why is there such a disconnect between Office Teams and Maintenance Teams? I just read a very long post on a Facebook Group page where the Manager was venting that her recently hired maintenance tech of 2 weeks just up and walked because another company he previously interviewed with offered him more money, a $400 Sign On Bonus and a free apartment. Many of you likely read it, too.

The discussion quickly escalated from, is that professional behavior, to an even hostile discussion pitting companies against workers, managers against techs. First off, it isn’t professional behavior to walk out with no notice. I would venture a guess that those that do have been treated badly, number one, and two, have received a better job offer from someone else. I doubt the majority leave with no job lined up (but of course, I might be wrong about that.)

The point made by many was Corporate doesn’t really care about the onsite teams and often do not provide raises, promotions, or support. They criticize, they are punitive, they demand performance and you should not complain because that was what your offer letter said. In other words you AGREED to it.

Employees do not sign up for bad treatment, Folks. Just because we all know techs have on-call responsibilities, I don’t know one tech who just loves to be called at 2:00am to come plunge a toilet full of poop. I also do not know one leasing consultant who likes working every Saturday and/or Sunday. And I do not know one Manager who likes having to be the acting Maintenance Supervisor, while also being a leasing consultant, bookkeeper, accountant, write memos, code and input bills, send out reports (that by the way can be printed straight from the software.) While employees KNOW what they signed up for, they also expect to receive raises or at least a conversation to why they aren’t getting one, a thank you every once in a while, the money to turn units, and back up when the psycho resident calls Corporate to complain that she thinks her new tub surround wasn’t put in correctly (and the property has already verified that it was done correctly.)

Perhaps the disconnect is at the Corporate level, rather than the on-site level? A little communication seems in order. I suggest that the Office team trade war stories at a team meeting, trade places once in a while with maintenance, and pay attention to how they can help make a contribution to their teammates instead of pigeon-holing themselves in a “job description.” Maybe the CEO needs to take a day and shadow a tech to see what he/she is doing every day. Maybe this type of support can spark an idea of saving time and energy to streamline the job. Just because Corporate thinks a property should devote only $250 per month on supplies, does not mean that will adequately cover the expenses required.

It seems to be a hostile place in many on-site property management offices. This level of resentment cannot be good and likely translates to Prospects and Residents. And that, Friends is not good for business.

 

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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

A new Mindy Sharp blog!

  Brent Williams
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

For me, the disconnect wasn't between the office and maintenance team, it was between the corporate office and the on-site staff. Zero appreciation after ten years of giving 110%. I was on call 24/7/365, but corporate was not. I was terminated...

For me, the disconnect wasn't between the office and maintenance team, it was between the corporate office and the on-site staff. Zero appreciation after ten years of giving 110%. I was on call 24/7/365, but corporate was not. I was terminated after my very first phone call for support for help for a disaster that was out of my control that happened on my supervisor's time off. Ten years is a lot of experience, but sometimes I still needed help that was above my pay grade. Once, it happened after hours. Once was enough. I no longer work in the industry.

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  Rose M
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Wow, Rose! I am sorry to hear this, and it is along the lines of the online group comments I read. If that happened to me, I would be somewhat traumatized and would think long and hard if I wanted to stay in the industry. What is really a shame...

Wow, Rose! I am sorry to hear this, and it is along the lines of the online group comments I read. If that happened to me, I would be somewhat traumatized and would think long and hard if I wanted to stay in the industry. What is really a shame is losing a dedicated, caring professional with the right kind of experience. Before our properties in the Student Housing portfolio sold, I was fortunate enough to have the Owner call me and ask me why this or that parent had called her to complain about this or that. She stated, "That's why I hired you! You'll take care of it, right?" I wonder though, why, in your case, you were let go while the Regional was passed by without so much as a conversation.

I agree, Rose, there is a disconnect throughout a lot of companies and it ends up costing business dollars, whether that results in less renewals, more turns, reputation management issues and/or increased personnel costs. However!!!! You read the blog so maybe some day you will return to multifamily! Reincarnate yourself and rejoin us that still care!

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  Mindy Sharp
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The industry is missing out, Rose.

  Brent Williams
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In an ever changing environment it is hard to connect meaningfully to your teams. Good reminder Mindy thanks!

  Katrina

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