With all the hustle and bustle going on just before the holiday season, here are a few tips to help you keep your employees focused and motivated.
- Make your Holiday Cards personalIt is so easy and cost effective these days to just have a company print up your Christmas Cards with your name already printed on them in place of a signature. This year, take the time to let your leasing professionals, maintenance technicians, and assistant managers know you took the time to personalize their cards. Personalization is becoming so rare that it will be noticed and appreciated. Use their names and write each staff member a short note telling reiterating some of the great things they’ve done for you!
- Decorate the leasing office and let your staff help!Often there is only one person in the leasing office who decorates the tree. This year, let your staff make it a shared event. Buy one box of plain colored Christmas tree ornaments and a Sharpie and write each and every employee’s name and job title on them. Let them hang the ornaments on the tree while serving some hot cocoa and cookies.As the years pass, you will enjoy looking back at some of those ornaments to see how far your employees have come. How about that leasing consultant who is moving up the ladder and is now your assistant manager? Or the groundskeeper who in five years runs the entire Maintenance staff.
- Try to consider each employee’s holiday family traditions when making your schedule.It will likely be impossible to make everyone happy when it comes to scheduling work hours around the holiday season. However, if you take a moment to sit with your staff and get to know what their traditions include, you will be showing them that you made an effort – and sometimes that is the greatest motivation.
For more tips on retaining employees, read 3 Ways to Retain the Apartment Industry Professional from Hire Priority.
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My Story: Kevin Roos
Kevin got his first taste of the apartment industry while he was a student at Texas A&M. For additional income, Kevin worked part-time as a maintenance professional while pursuing his degree in agriculture. After leaving College Station, Kevin was ready to face the world on his own with all the challenges that came with it. While searching for a career and an apartment in Houston, the light bulb went off.
Kevin was waiting in the office of a Leasing Consultant when he realized his passion for building things, working with his hands, and being outdoors made him a perfect fit for the apartment industry. While in the office, Kevin overheard someone mention Hire Priority Staffing and he knew his path was set.
He returned to Austin and got in touch with the staff at Hire Priority and began doing temporary work at various communities as a porter. It didn’t take long for the community managers to notice how dedicated Kevin was to the apartment industry and they began requesting that he come back more and more.
Kevin loved the flexibility of the temp positions as it allowed him the opportunity to “try on” different communities to see where he fit in. Once he found that match, where his career goals strongly aligned with those of the apartment community’s goals, he was hired as a full time employee.
Kevin now has found his place within the work force and looks forward to the opportunities that will arise in the future. He plans to get his certification as an EPA Licensed Maintenance Technician in order to secure his place on the upward track of the career ladder.
Are You Looking for a Property Management Job or Waiting for a Property Management Job?
While being in “the right place at the right time” to find a job may have some truth to it, there are also some practical actions you can take to make sure you set yourself in the right place at the right time when looking for a job. Instead of waiting for a job offer when seeking a property management position, you can actively increase your chances of getting the apartment job by improving yourself as a qualified candidate and making sure employers take notice.
No matter what stage you are at within the job process—searching for a position, in the middle of applications, or even working as a property management professional—there are a myriad of means by which you can continually educate yourself to become distinguished within the apartment industry. One of these is to become certified if you haven’t already. The IREM (Institute of Real Estate Management) and NAA (National Apartment Association) both offer three types of certification for property management professionals, and will increase your credibility when applying for a position. As an apartment job deals with a variety of fields and situations, trainings and classes in relevant work (finance, maintenance, law) enhance your skill set and set you apart within the apartment industry. Beyond these classes there are also more informal opportunities: for example a free maintenance class at Home Depot, or shadowing a property manager for a day to get a feel for the typical day of an apartment manager.
In addition to improving yourself professionally for the position of a property management professional, maximize your networking capacities to find out about opportunities and get your foot in the door. Once you have identified the management companies or properties where you would like to work, find out all you can about them and then see who you might connect with there. Apartment industry professionals can be found on Facebook, Linkedin, and other networking sites. Search for links to potential employers, or others in the field who could give you advice. You can even look at the previous jobs of your Linkedin contacts and see if they ever had an apartment job. Even if you have already applied for property management positions, rather than waiting for a phone call you can continue to actively network in order to increase your chances of getting the job. Investigating all existing connections, and being persistent in forming new ones is a continual process that will give you an advantage as a property management professional.
Rather than passively waiting for a phone call or a job offer, actively improving as a candidate and networking will propel your job search forward. More than luck or being at the ‘right place at the right time,’ these practical steps will demonstrate to potential employers that you are or will be a successful property management professional.
My Story: Michael Watkins
After growing up surrounded by the real estate industry—Michael’s father was primarily involved, but his mother and brother also worked in related fields—perhaps it was inevitable that Michael wasn’t satisfied with the other career paths he tried and ended up in the apartment industry.
Michael dabbled in politics, ministry, and engineering fields before finding the aspects of his ideal job in the apartment industry. Today Michael works as an assistant property manager in Austin at Roscoe Properties, a job that keeps him making important decisions on a day-to-day basis. “You have to wear a lot of hats,” he says of varied tasks included in his apartment job. When Michael first began his job search he remarks that he couldn’t get an interview, but Hire Priority was able to “open doors that resumes or visits couldn’t,” and was offered three of the four jobs he interviewed for. Now, years later as assistant manager, Michael gets his recruits from Hire Priority.
While those running apartment properties do not always receive the thanks they deserve, Michael says that his job is rewarding. Before his current apartment job in Austin, one client in particular went out of their way to offer thanks after they happened to see Michael making an apartment move-in ready himself because of a shortage in maintenance personnel. Perhaps his knack for the apartment industry is “innate,” Michael relates due to his family’s involvement in it. But his eye for perfection and hard work also contributed to Michael’s movement up the career ladder.