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How Technology Differentiates Your Property’s Maintenance Staff

As we continue to move into the age of artificial intelligence and automation,  it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find a task or industry that isn’t improved by new technology. The apartment industry is no exception, especially when it comes to improving communications between residents and the property’s team of employees.

Perhaps the most important team members to the residents are the property’s maintenance staff. In this new age of automation and AI there are incredible ways that maintenance practices in the apartment industry can become more efficient than ever before. Below we explore 3 ways technology can differentiate a property’s maintenance staff.

1. Work Order Notification

Traditionally, when a resident has a work order they submit the request with the front office and that request is then sent to the maintenance team. This system works great, except when it doesn’t. Now with mobile technology it’s possible to submit work orders directly to the maintenance team. Notifications appear on their mobile phones and they are able to pick up work order requests in real time. For larger properties this can be a huge time saver for the front office by cutting out the middle-man and the maintenance crew by reducing the need to stop by the office before tending to their next maintenance issue.

2. Resident Feedback

Chatbots are becoming common in businesses that want customer feedback. This same technology can be used to access a resident’s level of satisfaction with a maintenance request. Once a maintenance work order is complete, a resident can receive a text on their mobile phone asking them to rate the job that was done in areas such as quickness, friendliness, and effectiveness. This type of feedback can be essential in managing an efficient and accountable maintenance team.

3. Maintenance Accountability and Performance Measurement

Maintenance is a big part of the cost of running a successful multifamily property. By implementing a tracking software for maintenance work orders and resident feedback, a property manager can see clear reports, patterns,  and identify places of weakness. Maintenance tracking software can save a property a substantial amount of money by identifying and clarifying recurring problems or poorly performing maintenance team members.

On the flip side, this type of software can highlight top performing maintenance team members that might be due for a promotion or a raise in pay to keep them feeling appreciated and loyal to their positions.

There are many companies that specialize in maintenance automation software. These tools can benefit a large, multi-property company or an individually-owned apartment community. It’s time to upgrade your maintenance staff and their capabilities in 2019, and the main reason may not be what you think!

4. Employee Retention

Millennials, today’s driving work force, prefer working with technology over tedious paperwork. According to a survey done my Multifamily Insiders (https://www.multifamilyinsiders.com/multifamily-blogs/insights-into-the-future-of-property-maintenance) it was reported that many millennial maintenance team members have left previous maintenance positions because of the lack of technological advancements in their day-to-day work activities.

Technology is not just for improving the efficiency of your current maintenance team, but it’s also for ensuring the future of your maintenance workforce.

Posted in Career Advice |

Three Ways Technology Improvements Are Changing the Game in Multifamily Staffing

As 2019 continues on, the technology rolls out keep happening leaving no industry untouched. When it comes to Multifamily staffing, the biggest impacts are being made by three rapidly advancing sectors: Artificial Intelligence (AI), Chatbots, and Social Media Marketing.

Finding top talent for open apartment industry jobs means being able to scan thousands of applications for relevant skills and then connect with a candidate to see if they are going to be a personality fit for the potential employer. While many saw AI and algorithms as a threat, it is now becoming clear that they are the staffing specialists secret weapon.

Below we examine three ways that these technologies are changing the game in Multifamily Staffing.

1. Conversation systems are becoming more efficient

Texting systems and chatbots are highly effective ways of engaging with candidates, hiring managers and field employees. Next generation conversational systems are evolving rapidly, yet, many staffing firms are not using conversational systems or are not taking full advantage of the wide-ranging capabilities that conversational systems have to offer.

Imagine a chatbot that can interview a hiring manager on exactly what they are looking for in a candidate and then take those qualities and pre-screen potential hires…all before a staffing agent even gets involved? That is just the beginning of the possibilities that are available to the tech-savvy staffing agency.

2.  Artificial Intelligence (AI) is creating diverse workplaces

An unexpected consequence of AI in the multifamily staffing industry is that workplaces are becoming more diverse through unbiased interviewing processes. Allowing AI to scan resumes and social media profiles for qualified candidates is producing a list of people a staffing agent can speak to that is purely based on their qualifications and not factors such as names, photos, or writing style. Unconscious bias can still affect final outcomes of the hire, however as AI becomes more capable of handling the interviewing process, unconscious bias will become less common and that will result in a workplace that employs truly qualified people.

3. Hiring funnels are keeping qualified candidates pouring in

Social media ad campaigns are driving sales for many different industries and now multifamily staffing agencies can take part in using the algorithms of Facebook and Instagram to find a seemingly endless supply of qualified candidates and potential new clients. These algorithms can track any combination of individual and industry trend data, including people who post articles about their industry and stay involved in the online conversation. A common sales funnel, such as the one below, can continuously take potential candidates through the different levels as a result from different ad campaigns targeting each color below:

(Photo: TalentLyft)

In addition to the ads driving each level, they can be set up as messenger ads that, when clicked, will activate a chatbot that will further qualify and engage a candidate based on the current open jobs that need to be filled.

This strategy can also be used to acquire new clients by changing the targeting and chatbot questions.

Technology will not stop evolving at a rapid pace and it is in the multifamily staffing industry’s best interests to utilize every innovation that results in qualified candidates being matched with amazing properties. These, like many other technologies, will keep the flow of great talent coming through smart agencies that then match them with their clients. Something everyone can be happy about!

Posted in Career Advice, Career Blog Categories |

What Key Traits and Skills Does a Successful Leasing Professional Possess?

Leasing professionals are arguably the most important team members in multifamily housing. They are the face of the property to the residents and are responsible for keeping the apartment homes full and the property profitable. Leasing professionals must possess some key traits across the board to be able to find success in their job.

“Keys skills I look for in a Leasing Professional include: Excellent communication and problem solving skills, Professionalism (demeanor and attire), Strong customer service with sales experience, Strong organizational skills, Basic computer (MS Office), telecommunication and office experience” says Maria Gonzalez, a Houston-based property manager.

Below we have listed some of the best traits to look for in your next rock-star leasing professional!

Independance

While leasing professionals work in a property’s office with the other team members, they spend a lot of their day undirected. When a potential resident walks in the door they have to be ready to take the reigns and show them the property’s features. This requires the leasing professional to have initiative and not be someone that needs to be told what to do.

Attention to Detail

A leasing contract can be a lengthy document and one that requires vast attention to details. A potential resident must be able to pass background checks and financial checks to qualify for a lease and it is up to the leasing professional to guide the entire process. Not only does the leasing professional have to have the property’s interest in mind, but they also need to be able to answer any questions from the potential resident with confidence to assure them they are making the best decision for themselves and their family.

Friendly

In addition to being detailed oriented and Independent, a professional leasing consultant must also be friendly and likeable. They are not only representing the property to potential residents, but they are also the continued representative for the residents that live there. They must have a smile ready for everyone that walks in the door of the property’s office.

According to Houston-area property manager Omar Ramirez “Successful leasing professionals have a genuine human interaction while being themselves. They must be supportive to the prospect/residents needs and wants. Being a team player and a great problem solver is a skill that is needed on a daily basis to succeed and achieve daily goals. Being able to adapt to multiple personalities and understand how to properly respond is a key trait.”

Persuasive

Many things go into being a successful leasing professional, however we can not forget that the core of the job is sales. Leasing consultants must have the ability to persuade a potential resident that might be on the fence about choosing that property to rent. Sales skills such as listening and problem solving are a must to be able to consistently close the sale.

Energetic

Working in the multifamily housing industry requires a lot of energy from each professional position, and this is especially true for leasing professionals. They must wear many hats during the day and still have energy left over to be friendly and outgoing to residents and potential residents.

Professional

Since the leasing professional is the “face” of the property, they must dress and act professionally at all times, no exceptions. This includes their online and real life personas since a quick internet search could result in their social media profiles to being discovered by a resident.

Persistent

It can be disheartening when a leasing professional has a series of rejections from potential residents. Sometimes you can do everything right and still not get the sale, and in a career where commission is sometimes on the line, this can be very frustrating. A successful leasing professional must have a level of persistence that is unshakeable so they can continue to be their best at every opportunity.

Notice that we did not list “experience in the multi-family housing industry”?

According to Houston-based property manager Maria Gonzales “Some managers insist on only hiring candidates with multi-family experience, but that’s a huge mistake.  There’s an abundance of talent out there and hiring through a temp agency opens the door for an individual just waiting for their opportunity to shine in our industry.  I’ve had ZERO turn over in 5 years [and] 4 out of our 7 long term team members came from a temp agency and they possessed absolutely no prior Multi-Family experience.”

Finding the right leasing professional for your property is an extremely important task, make sure you don’t compromise on someone that doesn’t possess these essential traits and don’t forget to look for talent outside of the industry!

Posted in Career Advice |

The Top 10 Skills All Successful Multifamily Housing Groundskeepers Must Have

Groundskeepers are an essential part of a multifamily housing community and finding a good one to hire is a very important task. An individual that is both physically and professionally in shape can be difficult to find, however by looking for the below traits you will be able to hire the best man or woman for the job!

1.Love of the Outdoors

The majority of the work day will be spent in the great outdoors so it is essential that a successful groundskeeper love being outside!

2. In Good Physical Shape

It has jokingly been said that a groundskeeper at an apartment community can cancel their gym membership because of how physically demanding their jobs are. Whether it’s hauling away debris from tree trimming, trash removal, or make-ready cleaning, they can expect to be constantly moving throughout the work day.

3. Sociable

Because the groundskeeper is out in the community everyday, they will undoubtedly run into residents on an hourly basis. While it isn’t necessary for a groundskeeper to stop and hold conversations with those they encounter, a friendly wave and a smile will go a long way to creating a sense of community with those they meet.

4. Accountable

A groundskeeper must complete the tasks that are needed to be done in a timely fashion or a property’s maintenance can get quickly out of control.

5. Problem-Solver

Not every issue that a groundskeeper will run into will be in the employee manual. A successful groundskeeper must be able to think quickly when they encounter something that needs their attention. It could be anything from a stray dog to a burst water pipe and most likely the groundskeeper will be the first to come across it in their daily rounds.

6. Integrity

Being honest and having strong moral principles are important traits in a groundskeeper as they are in close contact to residents and their private spaces on a daily basis.

There you have it! If you can check off these 10 traits during your next interview with a groundskeeper you are sure to end up with an extremely valuable and successful addition to your multifamily team!

7. Self-Managed

A groundskeeper will spend the majority of their day without supervision from management therefore a successful individual has the ability to keep themselves on track and to make decisions without consulting a contractor or manager.

8. Creative Mind

At some properties landscaping is a big part of the groundskeeper job and on occasion they get to make creative choices for keeping the property beautiful and appealing.

9. Desire for Promotion

The position of groundskeeper is a great entry to an exciting career path. The individual will gain a lot of valuable professional skills that they can use to build their career. Many employees that started as groundskeepers now work as maintenance techs, make ready and maintenance supervisors.

10. Handyman Skill Set

Along with the ability to solve problems mentally, needs to be the possession of the skill set to execute the solutions. Experience as a handyman is a great indication of a successful groundskeeper, especially someone that has experience with electrical issues.

Posted in Career Advice |

How To Maintain Work-Life Balance

“Work-Life Balance” was one of the most searched for terms on Google last year and it’s easy to understand why. With the rise of technology invading our homes and personal time, it is becoming harder than ever to draw a line in the sand between work time and non-work time.

This is coupled with long work hours, extreme multitasking, and the pressure to work as hard as possible to maintain career trajectory. So how do you make sure your life doesn’t become your work? We have a few strategies that you can implement below!

Block Your Time

According to the bestselling book The One Thing by real estate celebrity Gary Keller, time blocking can be the way to propel yourself to career success. The method is simple: identify what the most important activity you do that directly relates to your job’s success rate and block off time to devote to just that. If you are in the multifamily industry your most important activity may be marketing your property. If you are a staffing professional your most important activity may be finding qualified candidates.

The sweet spot seems to be 25 minute time blocks with 10 minute breaks in between. The main focus of time blocking is to not get distracted by ANYTHING. No answering the phone, no checking email, no answering your co-worker. Find a spot where you can hunker down and let your colleagues know what you are doing. As you complete your time blocks you will know how many blocks a day to dedicate to your activity in order to get results. The point is to get more results in less time by implementing extreme focus.

Put Your Phone to Bed

Most of us are guilty of coming home from a long day at work only to sit on the comfy couch and stare at our phones. This activity has a numbing effect on us and serves to help us leave the stress of the day behind and lose ourselves in the world of the internet.

The problem with this activity is the disconnection it causes between us and the ones we love. Our children and spouses get robbed of their time with us because our faces are in our phone. Even if you live alone, your mind is distracted from fulfilling activities such as reading, working on a hobby, or spending time with friends (in real life).

A way to avoid the phone trap is to literally put it to bed at a certain time. If you have children and get home 3 hours before their bedtime, putting your phone to bed when you walk in the door is best. A drawer or an out-of-sight charging station is a great “bed” for a phone. If your job requires you to be on alert after works hours, you can set a timer to remind you to check your phone after an appropriate amount of time, such as every hour.

Be Mindful


Meditation is really an extraordinary practice. The key element to remember here is the word “practice” because it has to be done regularly and over time for it to have an effect on your brain.

The effect it will eventually have is to enable you to step back from stress and emotions and have the superpower to make decisions and take action from a place of neutral observation.

Start with sitting quietly and focusing on your breathing for 3 minutes a day. Aim to work up to 10 minutes a day of sitting in purposeful silence with the goal of gently turning away from any thoughts or emotions that comes into your mind as you meditate.

In addition, during your day as your transition from task to task, try to have a moment where you come back briefly to that place of observation and refocus on what you are about to do. This mindfulness will not only increase your effectiveness, but it will also serve you when work time is done and you transition into personal time.

Achieving work-life balance is at the top of most working people’s list of priorities and with the above steps you can begin to achieve better relationships at work, home, and with yourself.

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Posted in Career Advice |