EPMEPM: Leadership

Is there a quick fix?

Is there one thing property managers need in order to thrive? Is there a magic bullet to make tenants pay on time, to ensure trust accounts balance, and management issues fade into the distance? Natalie Hastings examines whether this is just wishful thinking.

It’s a delightful concept, the idea of the ‘quick fix’.

Yet when it comes to property management life is rarely a romantic comedy.

We work with people, with real estate, and unfortunately there’s no magic spell to make your property managers thrive or your business fizz with productivity and good vibes.

However, there are a handful of key values and internal systems to take you most of the way there.

Here are four fierce ways to change the tone of your property management department and usher in new energy and a collaborative attitude:

1 Supportive business culture

Have you heard the saying ‘people don’t leave jobs, they leave managers’? It’s true.

Being a property manager is, in many ways, a vocation – meaning exiting team members are escaping to the promise of better working conditions and culture, not new careers.

The most important thing you can do to help your property managers thrive is to develop a brave internal culture.

There’s no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to your unique business culture, which is expressed across a variety of actions and structures.

Some facets of a supportive culture can include promoting and taking action upon a healthy work/life balance, the encouragement of ‘mental health days’ and wellness, sharing roles across pods, regular meetings with empathetic and encouraging management, and the maintenance of manageable portfolio sizes in collaboration with support staff.

Training is not a set and forget option in a thriving property management department.

2 Training

Training is not a set and forget option in a thriving property management department.

There are so many facets of our work that we need to upskill on regularly, including as our roles change within our agency or because we need to stay abreast of new legislation affecting our clients and our business.

Training also extends to ensuring you are getting the most from the software and technology you’ve invested in.

All team members need regular training to help your agency stay competitive and streamlined.

Don’t forget conferences and in-house training too. Everyone can benefit from scripts and dialogues.

3 Structure

Show me a high-performing property management team with low staff turnover and I’ll bet it’s a business where clear structures and internal processes and policies are a priority.

Teams can’t function coherently if they don’t understand the organisational structure they’re collaborating within.

Formal inductions and productive department meetings prove paramount here.

Weak or half-baked inductions leave team members uninformed and directly relate to revolving door property management departments.

Having clear written policies around all procedures in your department reduces risk and provides enhanced accountability.

When your team is clear on what they must achieve and the way they should go about executing their role, there’s likely to be better communication and less guesswork.

4 Tools of the Trade

For your property managers to thrive, they need a full toolkit of modern software to make their jobs streamlined and satisfying.

Whether your team functions in pods or you run a more traditional property management department, your business needs a powerful CRM to manage inspections, arrears, lease expires, keys and routine maintenance.

When software is not being used well, there are too many variables to rely upon diaries or manual systems.

Happily, these tools of the trade also make the experience of property investment and leasing better for landlords and tenants.

An investment in software – and understanding how to use it – really is a win-win-win for your business, your team and your customers.

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Natalie Hastings

Natalie Hastings is the Managing Director of Hastings + Co. For more information, visit hastingsandco.com.au.