For any people business, consistency of service is crucial to winning and retaining clients. The unique relationship-led nature of the property management industry means that the calibre of your staff is a direct reflection of the calibre of your business. Yes, you may have some great property portfolios, but if your Property Managers do not deliver consistently amazing service, then the potential returns will never be maximised.
Property Managers are a passionate bunch. They often work long hours, travel insane distances and always have a smile on their faces for the next client. Most of them love what they do. Well, they do if you treat them right….. If you don’t value them as much as you should, the opposite can be true, and they can have a hugely negative effect on your business. The gruelling demands of the job wear down the unappreciated Property Manager, and we see candidates come to us with some horrific stories. The staff turnover in the industry is way too high, but in our view, the remedies to stop the “revolving door” are not so hard:
Make them feel appreciated. Property Management can be an incredibly stressful role – and it is crucial that your team is made to feel valued. Whether one Property Manager has to deal with particularly challenging properties, has an above average sized portfolio or simply performs consistently well, you should always give credit where it is due. Performance beyond the call of duty should never go unnoticed.
Pay for performance. If service is truly key to your success, then the rewards should be financial. Compensating your staff in line with the market will ensure their basic loyalty. Developing a client-centric rewards structure shows them that you care about how they interact with people in their daily work. In this way, your business model moves from being transactional to relationship-led, which is crucial for any leader in the property market.
Ensure efficient systems. Property management is hard enough without outdated and inefficient systems and processes getting in the way. Time should be spent building relationships and not struggling with unnecessary paperwork. When cutting edge systems are aligned with a simple process, work suddenly becomes so much more enjoyable.
Compensate the travel. Little things matter. If people are seeing their salary being eaten away by those little car trips, then they will probably be less motivated to make them. As a personal approach is vital in the Property industry – ensure that your employees are not avoiding face-to-face meetings because they want to economise on the transport costs.
Understand the issues. Get into the trenches. No business owner can be truly empathetic with his staff unless he understands the issues first hand. If your Property Managers feel that you are living and breathing their problems, they will be much more engaged about creating viable solutions.
Invite feedback. It is one thing understanding the issues from your perspective, another entirely when you see the business from the point of view of your Property Managers. Invite their feedback, be open to change and flexible in your approach. They are at the coal-face each and every day, don’t bury your head in the sand!
If you can create a working environment which motivates and challenges your staff, and attracts the top performing professionals in each area of the industry, you are several steps closer to running a winning company. On the other hand, under-appreciate, under-reward, and under-value your staff at your peril!