What’s the first thing that goes through your mind when a property manager leaves your business? If you are a business owner, it might be recruitment! “Where am I going to find another good property manager.” As a team member, it may be more like, “now we need to train another property manager.” These stress points in the business can be reduced with a bit more planning and a rigid induction process.
The typical process for recruitment can be reactive. Often a property manager will give two weeks notice, and then the panic button is set off to start looking for a new property manager. As often is the case, you then dump the new team member on the team and let them look after induction. It may assist your recruitment process if you have a more defined team structure and a step by step induction process.
I have outlined in a previous blog post, an alternate team structure which is made up of three property managers. The property manager executive, property manager and property manager associate. It is the property manager associate that adds flexibility into your recruitment process. If a property manager executive or a property manager leaves your business, it is easier to promote the existing team members into the higher level roles and recruit an entry level, property associate, role. There are some cultural benefits as well, with the existing team upholding this when new, entry-level, staff are recruited into the business.
To onboard new property managers to the business, it is imperative that the agency has a rock solid induction process, and current policy and procedure guide, designating office ‘champions’ to each task in the manual. The business procedure guide shouldn’t be a 250-page document used as a doorstop to the kitchen. The team should work through it and reduce it to a single page per procedure, point form, a checklist-type document that is quick and easy to follow. The 250-page report may have a place, but should only be referred to when more detail of each procedure is needed.
The concept of a ‘champion,’ is that each person in the office that is good at a particular task will champion that task. What this means is that each time a team member needs upskilling or a new team member needs to be inducted, the champion of a particular function will teach it. They will walk the team member through the short version of the procedure guide demonstrating how to do the task. Each day of the week, the new team member will do a new job with a new champion. The policy and procedure guide becomes their checklist to quickly remind them of the process when they do it themselves. They would use the champion as a reference point, should they need any continued support while learning each task.
Having a very light, but rigid, induction process will allow new property managers to the industry, to learn quickly on the job, allowing them to become more productive, with less disruption to both the agency and the agency’s clients.