I’ve been doing quite a bit of work with clients in recent months around when to recruit new team members into the business. Some of the feedback is that they hire too late and others think they hire too early. Recruitment is often not just a financial decision for the business. If you recruit to late, you find the pressure on your team to train and induct new team members severely efforts their ability to service customers, resulting in an increase in complaints and stressed team members. If you recruit too early, you risk staff being bored and leaving because they don’t engage with the business. Let's dig deeper into the fundamentals of when is the right time to recruit new team members.
As a leader, you need to have a mechanism to monitor the capacity of each team member. Many business owners guess the capacity of their team and often get it wrong, finding they have an overworked team resulting in reduced customer service and lost clients. The momentum is usually well underway, and the damage was done before business owners realize what is happening. I advise my clients to use an algorithm, which is a salary percentage of turnover, as a mechanism to monitor team capacity. This allows you to have a hard stopping point on what the teams capacity is to make informed, pragmatic decisions on recruitment rather than a reactive panic. Let's say for this blog the maximum doors managed per property manager is 100, to keep it nice and round.
Once you have a mechanism for measuring capacity, you then need to have a monthly growth number for your business. How many new doors are you bringing in each month? I understand that sometimes it could vary from month to month but take an average over the last three months. Let's say for this blog the number of new doors per month is 10. You then need to assume it takes about three months to recruit, onboard and train a new team member, so you need to start planning 30 properties before your maximum trigger point of 100. You now know that you need to begin the recruitment process at 70 properties.
As you bring on a new team member, you need to allow them a couple of weeks to observe and assist. Even the most experienced property managers can be like a fish out of water in their new environment. They will need to learn the nuances in your office. Things like using the photocopier or scanner, how to manage keys, using your computer system, find the client files, even simple tasks like where to get lunch. After a couple of weeks give them 30-40 properties to get them started. They can ring the owners and introduce themselves, run audits on the files and start getting used to your systems and procedures. This may take at least a month. Once this happens, you can now begin to give them new business properties. Don’t bombard them with all new business as new properties take quite some time to onboard. This works out well as you will need to give new properties back to the existing property manager to top their portfolio back up also.
Take time to build a system around how and when you recruit new team members. Have a trigger point to start this process to ensure you maintain the integrity of your customer service and the sanity of your team.