How to build a winning team of property managers
The effects of the pandemic are thoroughly reported, and most of us are still feeling some effects. Many sectors struggled with employment, which is still felt across multiple industries today. The real estate sector weathered the storm relatively well, finding new ways to do business against the odds. A few years on, however, we have an employee cohort who are struggling with burnout, with reports of a workforce increasingly tired and on the move.
Retaining talent has been a significant issue for real estate businesses, particularly for property management teams. Plenty of movement has occurred within the industry, and a steady stream of experienced PM’s have left the sector entirely, seeking less stressful environments as the pressures of declining commission rates and increasing customer expectations continue to mount.
So how can agency directors and property management leaders attract and retain the sector’s brightest in this time of turmoil? It’s time to take a 360 view of recruiting and retaining property managers!
Before we get into the how, it’s critical to acknowledge the cause of the conundrum and the factors that have created challenges in talent retention.
Finding quality Property Management has never been a walk in the park. It is a high-pressure position that requires a broad skill set, a can-do mindset and a personality that enjoys solving problems and helping people, all with optimum efficiency. Not easy.
Unfortunately, the pressures of the pandemic and the ripple effect it continues to have on our industry have pushed many senior professionals out of the sector.
The perfect storm of a new work-from-home dynamic limited genuine interaction opportunities. A declining economy has seen landlords seeking reduced fees, with increasing rental yields and service level expectations. And seemingly limitless changes to legislation created a high-pressure dynamic without pleasantries that have all worked to cause many PM’s to simply leave.
The effect? A talent crisis we have never seen in the industry, and leaders who are struggling to build effective teams sustainably.
How can you hope to retain their staff? And if they do jump-ship, replace them with others in an industry filled with folks as equally fed up?
Here are your three keys to building a winning team of property managers.
Regardless of sector, most businesses have to show their purpose to attract the right people into the fold. It starts with having a clearly defined culture you can pitch to people, showing them your human side. Rather than appearing as a ‘boss’, it’s more about being a people partner – a brand that listens and leads collaboratively.
As anyone working in recruitment can attest, it’s an employee’s market. You need to listen to their needs to attract or retain the best people. And those needs are becoming ever clearer since the pandemic caused the world to stop and think.
How are you cultivating and communicating your internal agency culture as a leader? Are you empowering your teams to create or managing them into submission? Are you making decisions for today or tomorrow?
Culture has to be the cornerstone of your organisation if you hope to retain top talent and attract the best of the best.
(The 4 Property Manager’ must-haves)
To create efficient, effective and long-lasting property management teams, you need to go back to basics and explore what teams really want from an employer. And you might not be surprised to learn this stretches beyond a pay packet.
Here’s what today’s property managers place on their job role priority list:
It comes out top of the pile in many sector surveys about employee must-haves. Whether you’re looking to attract new talent or better care for the staff already on board, providing flexible work options is critical. The highly-publicised 4-Day Week Organisation, which has trialled four-day work weeks in six countries, monitored by experts at Boston College, Cambridge University and University College Dublin, reported the experiment a “resounding success”. Employees reported less stress, burnout and fatigue, and better physical and mental health. Employers’ responses were equally positive: almost all reported improved employee morale and no loss of revenue.
Even with the pandemic done and dusted (officially, thanks WHO!), it’s certainly made people think about the ‘what if’ scenario. Should the world succumb to another pandemic, what would be the best (or most robust) industry to work in? Contrary to what many feared when Covid came along, real estate didn’t fall over – far from it. Yet it’s still a fear many live with and puts job stability firmly on their watch list – and it’s up to you to provide it! Ensuring your team understand that you have risk mitigation strategies in place, and including them in those discussions, can go a long way to reassuring them and providing steady morale in the workplace.
People want to feel valued for all the benefits presented as part of your culture. These days, more than a pay packet is needed. Consider what you and your business are willing to offer, over and above benefits or rewards for your staff to keep them keen. A bonus for every birthday in the form of a day’s leave, or a well-being afternoon when your team meets individual KPIs – a voucher for the nearest day spa. Team get-togethers and away days are critical parts of the puzzle because anything you can do as a team helps create a community that benefits the whole organisation.
Nobody wants the long working hours of yesteryear. Like most people in the workplace, property managers want more time for themselves – you know, for non-work stuff! And the best way to ensure they have more time in their day is through efficiency, working smarter instead of harder to complete tasks in fewer hours than before. Implementing processes and investing in technology and tools that maximise output and free up your team’s precious time should be considered as sowing the seeds of tomorrow’s productivity today
Create an efficient environment
(Efficiency drives productivity – and happier property managers!)
As you know, efficiency underpins everything in property management. By creating an efficient and system-driven workplace, you’re giving time back to your employees. Time saved can support their flexible work requests, allowing them to meet the company’s needs in line with their non-work commitments and lifestyle. Thanks to efficient systems and tools speeding up tasks, team members can meet KPIs and reap the rewards you offer. And by working faster and more intelligently, their confidence grows, and they feel more stability in their role.
Through efficiency alone, you could meet the needs of most employees. How powerful would that be?
It’s true; there are likely many processes you’ve already adopted to make yours an efficient workspace. Many systems already exist to make our work lives easier, from communication tools to maintenance support systems – yet we’re living in the new normal now, which means new tool sets to keep up with the times and create smarter, happier teams.
So, what technologies can help your property managers want to stay with you and become valued long-term team players?
If you don’t already have a tool to handle all communications – internal and external – then you need something to link them together. When systems support one another, they save you time – simple. You save so much time each day by taking away the pain of jumping in and out of multiple systems. And that’s what your property managers want most, remember?
Are you utilising AI and VR in your real estate agency yet? If you’re not, why not?
The pandemic showed the world we could do so much more using virtual systems – why do away with virtual viewings when it speeds up your day and widens your pool of tenancy prospects beyond the local area?
Whatever tools you can set to manage daily tasks with minimal input from your staff, do it! Automation is a crucial time-saver and helps you operate on a smaller headcount, which saves another cost. When systems work automatically, your people can switch focus to other activities with greater impact, like forging stronger relationships with partners, landlords or tenants.
At Property Service 360, we believe the real estate industry should continue to take up these processes, sights firmly focused on the future of the industry as it unfolds, while remaining mindful of the roots of the sector: real estate is, always will be, a people and partnership-led business.
Outsourcing aspects of Property Management, such as compliance, allows your team to focus on what matters most: building long-lasting relationships with clients and delivering a high-quality, highly personable service to keep them compliant.
Share the load and let us bear the compliance burden – we’ve got this!