Picture this: You are a busy property manager or leasing agent. You have residents coming in and out asking about rent and charges. 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 PMCs have dedicated training specialists to ensure that new and current employees are being trained on software, sales, and processes. Trainers, let me share a personal weakness of mine: I have better things to do than sit in your training! It is boring and I can easily zone out and somehow social media magically pops up instead of the two hour training on something you have trained before over and over. I would lock my office door and post a sign that a web training was in progress, but residents don’t care. Their emergency becomes your emergency. It’s hard to pay attention to a boring training when there are so many other things happening and your phone notifications are blowing up. Training gets in the way.
Solution: Tie training to performance KPIs and watch them improve due to that specific training. For example, if your conversion from lead to lease is low, you need sales training. Then measure your conversion rates to determine if that training was effective. If so, publish those metrics to the end user to show them the “what’s in it for me?” factor. If it helps their job, they will see the value of training.
2. Training is Boring
Death by PowerPoint is a real thing, check it out on WebMD. Its symptoms include: slow blinks, snoring, drooling, and general irritability. You have content that needs to be conveyed to the staff and sometimes we forget that adult learners want the delivery done in the right way. Training meetings are too long and the talking head method is all too common. According to a recent study quoted in Time Magazine, the average attention span is only 8 seconds. Training is boring.
Solution: Implement Micro-Training. These are short bursts of training that last no more than 20 minutes. It is informal and not in a classroom or webinar setting. This training should be delivered face to face on the property, showing staff how to perform a specific action. If geography is a problem, use FaceTime or Google Hangouts and walk them through the training as if you were there through video.
One final note, I believe that most employees don’t perform well in their jobs due to a lack of training. I am a huge advocate for a balanced 360 degree view of a business. We need MORE training! We just need to deliver that training in the right way, measure its effectiveness, and tell our employees how they benefit from it.