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Hello Hire Priority: How to have a Successful Transition

Hello Hire Priority,

Q:  Dear Hire Priority,

I’m an apartment industry professional with seven years experience as an on-site property manager. My company is great, but offers no room for growth.  I would like to be in a regional management position in the next three to five years.  How should I handle this transition or should I even consider looking for another apartment job?  – CHRIS

A:  Hi Chris!

We look at five different key things when considering a move:  Growth, Quality of Company or Supervisor, Compensation, Location and Specific Responsibilities.  In our experience, its important to factor in all five when considering your transition.

I’m glad to hear your company is great.  My guess is that they are satisfying all or most of the other key things to consider when transitioning.  Since you like your company, the first place to start looking for growth is with them. Have you asked what their plans are for growth?  Its possible they are planning to expand, but haven’t passed their plans on to you.  Have you expressed your desire to advance to your direct supervisor? It could be that your boss is planning to leave or that he or she knows how you can advance within the company.

If you find that staying with your company is not an option, then here are the next steps:

  • Clarify your vision:  what type of product are you wanting to manage (fee, owner-managed, etc)?, are you willing to relocate?, Are you willing to take another managers position with more opportunity for growth?, are you willing to take a regional position with a challenged company or portfolio, are you willing to take less money for the opportunity?
  • Network:  contact people you trust that will help key an eye out for you or be able to put you in front of hiring authorities, contact a recruiting company, contact hiring authorities directly on Linked-In, and watch the job listings on-line.
  • Guerrilla Network:  Brainstorm with your current trust group to find out where they have hiring authority contacts and get their contact info. You will contact them and use your friends name.
  • Before contacting any hiring authority, make sure you know your accomplishments without having to look them up.  You may only have a minute or two to speak with someone, so you will need to be ready to share your successes.  A few things that sell well are NOI, Revenue or Occupancy Growth over a specific period of time (ie. increased occupancy from 87% to 95% over the last 16 months).

I’ve seen the most success come to those candidates that take a very active and aggressive approach.  This means being clear on what you want and doing whatever it takes to get in front of the hiring authority for which you want to work.

Keep an eye on the Hire Priority blog for more articles on how to find apartment jobs.

All the best to you.

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3 Ways to Retain the Apartment Industry Professional

Avoid Turnover of the Onsite Apartment Staff

Turnover is costly, resulting in a loss of money and time. So how do you hold on to your best office and maintenance employees? Following these three tips can reduce turnover and ensure you keep your top performers:

1.) Improve Your Hiring Process

Avoiding turnover begins before an apartment professional is even hired by finding a candidate that is the best match for the position. This could be an apartment leasing consultant, make ready, lead maintenance or any other on site position.  Rather than hiring out of desperation, seek to hire the right person for the job. One way to find the ideal candidate is to ensure that a job description correctly summarizes a position. Clear communication concerning responsibilities and tasks will eliminate job dissatisfaction later. Also, change is inevitable—and such changes in an apartment community or management company, should be met with changes in the workforce. For example, if a apartment community experiences growth or higher occupancy, employees who were previously paired with a sufficient workload could become overwhelmed, resulting in a demand for new employees. Making adjustments within your hiring process can eliminate factors that will successfully reduce turnover later on.

2.) Review Compensation & Benefits

A review of current compensation and benefits will also prevent top performing office and maintenance staff from leaving. Most often, the local apartment association, like the Houston Apartment Association, conducts a salary survey.  Here you will find a sampling of local compensation structures for your staff.  Keeping salaries competitive will provide incentive for your best employees to stay, as will the distribution of benefits or bonuses based on performance.  It has been said that the very best leasing professionals go where they can find the best commissions.  Low pay, on the other hand, could attract workers with a less than competent skill level, who will total a loss in the long run. This goes for all onsite personnel. Providing bonuses or perks on the basis of merit helps to hold on to top performers, as they act as an appropriate reward for the value the employee adds to the apartment community. If offering an increased salary or monetary bonus is not an option, consider supplying other perks that will show appreciation for an employee’s accomplishments. For example, some management companies offer gift cards, days off or a spa day.  This sense of appreciation through compensation and benefits will go a long way in preventing employees from leaving.

3.) Establish a Good Work Environment at the Apartment Community

A work environment conducive to top performer employees will also reduce turnover. This kind of work environment is created through good communication, development opportunities for employees, and ensuring that employees are aware of their value to the company. Communication is one of the most important aspects of fostering a comfortable working environment—from discussing expectations of an employee to changes or events within an apartment community or management company. Also, providing opportunities for career development and advancement will provide increased incentive for you best employees to stay.  Seminars, Webinars, Apartment Association committee involvement and advanced sales training are all examples of career development.  Showing a new hire what current employees did to move up within the management company is a good way of communicating what it takes to advance.

While turnover inevitably occurs, improving your hiring process, reviewing compensation and benefits, and establishing a good working environment can create incentives for your top performer employees to stay.

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