So Madonna might not have been quite so tech-minded in her actual song lyrics, but I think my revision of her 1984 pop hit, “Material Girl,” reflects what many multi-housing companies are aiming to accomplish in more ways than ever before as digital communications and technology continue to evolve. And yet at the same time, our apartment communities still love the traditional pen and paper, walls of file cabinets, and xeroxing (again, in the spirit of the 80s). And when it comes to training materials, we see a lot of people who strongly gravitate toward traditional workbooks and printed pamphlets.
As much as we like to imagine on-site managers diligently reading and referencing our instructional guidebooks in whatever circumstance they may encounter, it’s actually not a likely scenario for property managers to keep a copy on-hand at all times. Metaphorically, their hands are already full juggling prospects, team members, corporate reporting/requirements, and residents. And unfortunately because site staff have such a demanding workload, training is expected to happen quickly… on the go… whenever they have time.
Like you’ll find in a myriad of educational settings from elementary to collegiate, most industries involving any form of technology have opted for digital training methods rather than paper training packets. Instead of requiring site staff to memorize a slew of information straight out of the gate, offering on-demand training materials enable success by allowing team members to help themselves to training resources when they need it and delve deeper into the materials when they have the freedom to dedicate a block of time to it. As educators will tell you, memorizing rote information does little good in dynamic, real world situations; the best way to equip your teams for success is to offer easily accessible, online training materials to master at their own pace.
There are dozens of apps and websites that facilitate online sharing for groups and organizations. Writing instructions on a Google Doc or uploading a private YouTube video explaining processes are just 2 examples of (free) on-demand training that management companies can easily produce and supply for new hire training and continuing education. Maintenance workers could have step-by-step instructions for work order processes on a per property basis. Leasing agents could maintain an online guide on current follow-up protocol for prospective residents. You don’t have to worry about paper packets getting lost or misplaced in the trash—they’re always available,wherever there’s an internet connection.
Of course, the bottom line is all about numbers and time. Getting your teams trained faster and in a quantifiable way may have once been a pipe dream, but with so many digital methods available—spanning smartphones, tablets, and desktop—technology is paving the way for better, faster, and long-lasting training.