How do you promote staff retention in your office?

(Adam Hooley) #1

I started my management career in a small boutique business in Brisbane leading 3 staff, however, I have had the pleasure of leading quite large teams with the largest being 36. One problem I struggled to solve along the way was, ‘How do I retain great team members?’. My high team churn was having an effect on my clients, with several portfolios having up to 3 property managers over a 12 month period, my team churn was turning into client churn.

I had one property manager, Let’s call her Steffanie, who had been with me for two years and I had recruited many after her. She demanded a pay rise because she had been there the longest. In fear of losing her, I gave it to her. She came to me 6 months later and said another company had offered her $10K more to leave, so, in fear of her leaving, I gave it to her. 3 months later she left, however, not before two others did also, very annoyed at the salary I was paying Steffanie.

How do you retain great team members in your business?

(Glenn Lehman) #2

They get to work with me :wink:

Seriously we start when they are hired. I try not to hire money motivated people. We try and hire new people to industry and Invest in them through training.

We actually review office vibe feedback as a group once a month. Highest taco gives are complimented.

I call people frequently Friday evening early to thank them for work.

We closed the office on Saturday, because they did not want to work then.

I apologize when I use my I am the PM voice or attitude toward them.

Basically people work for us because they fit our culture. If someone has to move on we buy them a cake and wish them well. Leadership then looks at what we did wrong or in some cases right to cause them leaving.

The person who was offered additional money and left. I would not have matched the pay raise for the following reasons.

  • If they were worth the extra 10k I would already be paying it.

  • Raising someone that much at one time is like saying I had you for cheap until you realized.

  • You should be proud of your training an how much you helped a person learn. (We see this with our bookkeepers)

  • My executive VP started as a receptionist.

Rambling complete:dromedary_camel:

(Adam Hooley) #3

I like that you value culture @glenn as part of retention. Do you offer a defined career path where they can be promoted and receive salary increases as part of an overall scheme or are all team members on the same level?

I have learnt over time that there seem to be 4 key areas that retain team members:

  1. Knowing what is expected of them. (KPI"s Job Descriptions and documented procedures)
  2. Support when things go wrong (Providing they followed the P&P)
  3. A career path where they can continuously learn and grow
  4. An open and rewarding culture

There are lots more in the scheme of things but these seem to be my top 4

(Glenn Lehman) #4

Nothing that formal yet.

True test of everything I just said (This was received 9 hours after my post):

Dear Glenn & Michelle,

Please accept this email as my resignation from Lehman Property Management. Next month, I will be taking a position as Office Manager/Admin for Iron Valley Real Estate. The position aligns with well with my goals and will allow me to save money on real estate expenses and earn more income/commissions which will benefit myself and my girls.

They have requested that I begin working as soon as possible as they are ramping up to open their Wyomissing office on March 1st, however, we understand you may require the standard two weeks notice. Therefore, my last day at Lehman will be Wednesday, March 6, 2019. Please let me know if an earlier exit date is possible.

I’ve enjoyed working together tremendously, and have learned so much from everyone at LPM. I sincerely appreciate both you, Glenn, & Sherlie giving me the opportunity. Please let me know what I can do in the next few days to help ease the transition.

Thank you for your understanding.

So now I go buy a cake. I hate buying cakes.:sob:

(Adam Hooley) #5

It’s often said when team members are forced to leave because they outgrow your business but I’m sure she was a great contributor.

(Glenn Lehman) #6

This was my email to her:

Thanks for letting us know,

I believe we can all state a few things clearly:

  1. We are better as people for knowing you.
  2. You will be missed
  3. We want you to be successful
  4. We understand your needs and all regret we are not in a position at this time to be the company that can meet them.

If you would like the 28th to be the last day we will work with that. If we have questions I am Sherlie can hunt you down.

We will wish you fair winds and following seas. (That is navy for good luck)

She will be missed, but her company does not do property management and we get not only her referrals - but the entire office.

(Glenn Lehman) #7

So this is the ad we posted to find a replacement:

Asking for a friend … Do you know someone who would like to go to work for a property management company in Berks county? Need self starter, multi-tasking, good phone skills and personality, demonstrate data entry skills. We will grow them into a high performing PM
(I mean my friend will grow them :wink:)

It is an investor group where many new investor say they want to learn property management.

Is that to casual?

(Ashley Giles) #8

I Love this @glenn, I too hate buying cakes for farewells… I am taking to champagne and cheese boards! :champagne: Because I believe it should be a celebration of someone continuing their life journey, and they will always have a place in the “Wendell Family” (Unless we really wanted them to leave then the Champange is for us and the rest of the team! Hahaha)

One thing we started many years ago was the “Bring us the offer” policy. We tell our staff, " you will be offered many other roles though your time here with us, recruiters and competitors like the way we train and the staff who work in our business. This is good for you, and your career some times, but sometimes it might be a wolf in sheep’s clothing (Im Kiwi I had to put a sheep analogy in here somewhere!) . Bring the offer to us, we will work through it with you, match if we can or if the offer is good, with a good company and career prospects and we cannot match we will give you our blessing!"

It has been very good. Staff have brought us offers which we could not match, but after talking it though they realised they would not have the support, or benefits or team culture they have here and they have stayed.

One good example of this was a staff member (who eventually was promoted to ops manager) she was offered $120k Per year + Car etc to run a similar size book for a rental agency 10min from her house. She commuted over 1hour each day each way to be in our inner city office.

When we talked through it, she realised it was a problem portfolio on the side of a sales business and they have had 8 property managers in the past 2 years, they were willing to pay anything to get someone to “Take care of the problem” She stayed with us because she had career aspirations, and loved the business, the culture and her role. She was paid $60k at the time.

Not everyone would have stayed, almost double the money is too tempting… But she valued the years of training and support we had given her, and eventually she was in new business, and ops and was earning that money with our business.

@adam is bang on, Culture is King. Focus on that, the rest will follow.

(Marine Funfrock) #9

I’m with you on this.

We also don’t recruit in the industry. It makes for a more interesting bunch of people and we get to cross reference with other industries which is leading great results.

When you do not recruit in the industry, this also means that you give people a chance to make an impact by who they are not by what other property managers do and so we get to keep them longer.

Culture is definitely the key… sometimes great people go and then they come back for other opportunities, and give something different to the company. My view is that same as you can’t keep your kids with you at home until you die, it’s great to let them go in the best way possible and keep mentoring them from a distance.

We’re in it for the long term… at least 40 years of it anyway ahah

(Shadi Salehpour ) #10

Some value culture and great leaders over money. I champagne.

(Glenn Lehman) #11

Okay, so since writing this post my office staff has changed so much it is just scary.

  • I have one remaining PM other then me.

  • I have promotes the only remaining assistant PM to PM.

  • I have hired 2 new assistant property managers (With zero property management experience)

My bookkeeper left. So, I split the job to 3 positions (Two Book Keepers and a team lead/Auditor).

  • I hired an accountant with no experience
  • I hired someone who had worked to straighten out a family business, but has no formal training
  • I promote one of my admin people we have had helping the former bookkeeper

My Community Association Management Division have all left (Yes all of them)

  • I have hired 3 new community managers (They have property Management experience in multi-unit and scatter site, but association management is new to them)

I replaced my in house maintenance coordinator

I hire a new receptionist

I have brought on two interns

I promoted one of my admin people to be the head of admin support. I moved marketing under admin support.

Finally, I have stopped the direct management of anything personally other then my company.

It was an interesting March and an exciting April.