🎤 Implementing Positive Change in a Team - Teegan Edwards, Ouwens Casserley Real Estate

(Terri Handy) #1

The past twelve months have seen Teegan act as the “Designated Driver” within the Property Management Department of this well known Adelaide agency, rolling out some pretty big changes for a team of around 30 individuals.

Her official title is that of Client Relations Manager for the Department and some of her projects during the past year have included introducing Virtual Assistants, rolling out new technology and creating accountability and transparency around how tasks are conducted.

With 1500 properties under management, ensuring a consistent level of service is provided by all team members is a major challenge, but these guys are the masters. Culture is also a huge focus for OCRE and Teegan’s positive contribution to the culture of the organization cannot be diminished.

She has generously agreed to answer questions in the Forum on Thursday 25th October 2018 around her experience including overcoming resistance from long-serving team members, how she gets buy-in from the “Negative Nellies” and how their new processes have changed the training of their new recruits.

You are most welcome to post questions now, ready for Teegan on Thursday morning :smiley:

(Adam Hooley) #2

Sounds great @terrihandy. looking forward to Thursday’s session :man_student:

(Jodie Stainton) #3

Hey Teagan,
Would really love to know whether you developed a system for change and what that looked like?
Also, what did you find motivated the team to do it? Incentives/culture/reward & recognition?
How have the results changed?

(Ashley Giles) #4

Hey Teegan,

Thank you for doing this. Wendell’s are going through a transitional phase at the moment. Trying to stop the team & culture from being effected negatively by positive change is proving difficult. (PM’s seam to like consistency!) Any tips, or guidance on this?

(Teegan Edwards) #5

Hi Jodie, thanks for your question!
We haven’t really developed a system as such, but one of the key triggers for implementing the change was our involvement with Daniel Healy at Leading Teams. Before commencing Leading Teams the office was hostile and segregated but after the first session it became clear that everyone was experiencing the same unease and were willing to do something about it. The team was motivated by the results after the first few sessions - we were having genuine conversations with each other and management were leading by example after receiving feedback about their standoffish demeanour. I nominated myself to be our ‘Culture Vulture’ and took charge of social events like staff member birthdays, team bonding activities and farewells. The introduction of Slack not only stopped our team communication from clogging up our email inbox, but provided a fun and entertaining aspect and gave everyone in the office a chance to acknowledge staff members doing the right thing and celebrate our small wins (as you take what you can get in PM). Through implementing Trello our consistency of service has improved immensely, our office no longer receives a high number of complaints escalated to management, and our newest staff members pinch themselves as they don’t believe that a workplace can be so family-like (if only they knew where we started from!).

(Teegan Edwards) #6

Hi Ashley, thanks for inviting me!
You are absolutely right, PM’s are creatures of habit and will resist change were possible. Our office rolled out some of the biggest procedural changes over our peak period (would not recommend! But it was a case of if we don’t do it now, when will we?) and my suggestions would be to stick with it! If you say you are going to do something, follow through with it, don’t do it for a few weeks and then let it drop off. Pick out some key team members that will help spread the positive change through casual conversations around the office and it will filter from the inside out. Allow the team to provide feedback about the changes and whether anything needs to be tweaked – if they are wanting changes, they can put their hand up to help implement them. After a period of time the changes rolled out will become habit, and the team will question what on earth they did before these amazing changes!

(Terri Handy) #7

Hi @teegan Having such a large team, it can sometimes be difficult to “keep everyone in the loop”. How do you guys do this? How often do you meet as a team and individually?

(Teegan Edwards) #8

Hey Terri, our team has the following catch ups:

  • Fortnightly staff meeting (whole office)
  • Fortnightly BDM meeting (BDM’s + Management)
  • Fortnightly Trello catch up’s (me + each portfolio)
  • Monthly Admin meeting
  • Quarterly portfolio reviews (Management + each portfolio)
  • Quarterly Leading Teams session

Our fortnightly staff meeting has evolved over the last year. Rather than having management stand up the front advising us of changes, we now all sit in a large circle and everyone is invited to write agenda items on our manager’s whiteboard (located in his office) and we all discuss the items as a group and then come to a decision.

We also utilise Slack for notifying the whole team or to notify specific channels (portfolios, PM’s, BDM’s) of any changes or updates to procedures. A favourite channel in the office is #tipsandtricks which allows team members to share computer shortcuts and easier ways of completing tasks which results in the whole team being more efficient.

(Gemma Attlesey) #9

Hi Teegan,

Well done on your success! It sounds like we have a gone through similar changes recently.
I’ve got a couple of questions below;

  • What do you look for when you are recruiting for new staff?
  • Having a larger team can be challenging in itself, what sort of things are involved in your induction plan for new staff?
  • Have the types of complaints changed & have you found it easier with the things you have implemented?

Thank you!

(Ashley Giles) #10

@jeremy :point_up: This could be worth considering with the changes coming!

(Terri Handy) #11

@teegan thanks, I love love love the idea of #tipsandtricks. Such a simple and useful idea!. It gives everyone an opportunity to share their knowledge - another really important part of creating a great culture.

I also really like the idea of the “circle of love” :smile: It completely changes everyones’ body language, making them more open to offering suggestions.

How do you manage the action required from these meetings?

(Adam Hooley) #12

Hi @teegan I have really enjoyed this stream today. I do have one question. Keeping the team aligned to any culture is difficult. Now that you are implementing more process and tools, how many team members saw this is a different plave to work and didn’t want to be a part of it anymore. In other words, how many people did yo lose during this process?

(Teegan Edwards) #13

Hi Gemma,

When it comes to recruiting our office is culture orientated and rely heavily on our values: Optimism, Precision, Authenticity and Passion. We look for candidates who are genuine, upbeat and have a strong work ethic. We haven’t always got the recruiting part right in the past, as we have hired members based on experience/qualifications rather than our values - but since focusing directly on our values we have created a great culture amongst our newest team members.

I have never worked in a team this big, and it has definitely had its challenges. It has probably only been the past 6 months that we have had a structured induction - and it has made a huge difference (and it is something we will continue to improve on).
At the moment our induction plan consists of multiple team members taking part in the process: management do the initial intros, office walk through and the fine print details, I do a quick run down of all the programs we use and let them know that I am a ‘go-to’ person for anything and everything, and another admin member runs through things like where to find stationery, who to contact if you need to call in sick etc.
Once the initial induction takes place, we have designated staff members out of the floor who will train in specific tasks (water arrears, application processing etc). We have found that spreading the load between multiple staff members not only makes the process easier to manage with our existing work load but also gives the new staff member a chance to meet and get to know everyone.

Updating our procedures and driving for transparency has lowered our complaints triggered by lack of communication and has definitely made things easier. Staff member calls in sick? No worries, someone can jump on their Trello board and proactively work through their tasks rather than waiting for an angry email about something not being done. LL calls up to find out where the bond refund is up to and the PM is out of the office for the rest of the day - again you just jump on their board and get a complete run down of where things are at.
I feel that break down of communication is one of the main causes of complaints, and if you can remove that from the equation everything is much easier to work through.

(Teegan Edwards) #14

@terrihandy after each meeting the minutes from the meeting get emailed out, and if action is required a team member will be allocated to that task and so far we have not had any issues with tasks not getting followed through :grimacing: #touchwood

(Teegan Edwards) #15

Hi @adam, we have probably been really lucky to not lose any long term team members during this period of change - this isn’t to say that we haven’t had people leave, but they have all moved into another industry. Whether or not the moved into another industry because of the changes? :thinking:

Our team has really seen value in the change, and know that it isn’t just to ‘change’, but to try and make their working life easier to manage.

(Terri Handy) #16

Your success is probably because they are all so engaged in the outcome. Great job @teegan.

I also happen to know at OCRE, you have worked really hard on streamlining the onboarding process for your new clients. There is often a bit of a divide between the BDM and PM and the client is the one who suffers.

You were experiencing quite a bit of inconsistency and some angst around this at one stage - do you mind sharing how creating a clear process for the team has improved the experience for your clients?

(Adam Hooley) #17

Thanks @teegan I think it is awesome you can keep such a large team engaged in such big change. Congrats!

(Sarah Martin) #18

This is great Teegan! thank you for sharing!

(Teegan Edwards) #19

Yes @terrihandy we have struggled in the past with the transition of handing properties over from BDM’s to PM’s. Paper checklists would go missing, the BDM’s started having ‘shadow folders’ so they could continue to follow up uncompleted items after they had handed over to the PM, and the relationship between BDM’s and PM’s became estranged.

On one end we had one of our BDM’s struggling to let go and hand over properties, in fear of disappointing our Landlord’s as they wouldn’t know if the steps would get completed efficiently by the PM, and then on the other end of the scale we had a BDM handing over properties with multiple steps incomplete leaving the PM to pick up the pieces.

Since moving the checklists and procedure into a program like Trello, and having set guidelines of what information is required and when, it has resulted in more consistent handovers, information being provided for the PM from the get go, at any stage someone can jump in and see exactly where things are at and the BDM’s being able to let go and focus on bringing in more new business. Our clients don’t have to continue to call the BDM’s for updates, as the PM’s are proactively on the phone as soon as their property is advertised, and the transition is seamless from the clients perspective.

This process is something we are wanting to continue to improve, but I’m really proud of how much the team has improved already.