EPMEPM: First Person

Training for property managers: keep it relevant!

WITH OVER 12 YEARS in the property management industry, Jess Kindt has a call to action for principals who do not consult with their staff about the type of training they need, and don’t think outside the box.

I have a confession to make. In my early career as a junior property manager, I often found myself becoming bored during property management-based training. To me, it was always the same old formulas, with the same old content delivered in the same old way.

Throughout my career as a property manager, I have always committed to investing time and money to attend training events, conferences and networking functions – everything ‘real estate’. Looking back, however, I realise that 99.9 per cent of the events I chose to attend were salesbased as opposed to property management-focused.

Why? Because, to me, the delivery of sales training was exciting. It was motivating. It was conveyed differently; for example, a PowerPoint presentation wasn’t the focal point. Sales presentations were actually engaging. I learned things that I could apply both to my professional, emotional development and to my personal life. I always walked away from salesbased training with renewed enthusiasm for real estate, for my career and for my life.

So, when I became a property operations manager, I started thinking. Even though sales and property management roles differ, with property management being more administratively focused, I started to wonder why we couldn’t offer more ‘outside the box’ training initiatives.

We often get caught up in providing property management staff with basic legislation and taskbased training, both of which are certainly crucial to the role. However, we need to aim to adopt a holistic approach towards our property management professionals. What about their individual personal and professional development needs? What about their career goals? In addition to legislative training, we must also provide training based on motivation, coping with stress and overcoming the challenging business situations we face while working in this job.

I have always harboured a strong passion for superior, all-round training, and as a property management senior trainer I constantly search for the latest industry information and seek to apply this in an engaging and authentic way. This multifaceted approach to training draws the very best out of my team, resulting in superior outcomes for all parties.

Business owners, I believe it’s time to get educated on what property managers really need help on. Drawing on my past experience as a property manager, I believe we need to address the following areas in training:

Lack of motivation – especially when I knew I had a full day of paying rates and water invoicing ahead of me; we need to provide education to our employees on the importance of gaining experience and growing in this industry.

Switching off – the ability to not answer that phone call at 10.30pm, or check emails last thing at night and at dawn the following morning.

Having a balanced life – health, family, social life, and avoiding the habit of working when I was taking leave to be with my family.

Focusing on one task at a time – trying to avoid having too many windows open on my computer, and jumping between too many things at a time.

Prioritising – to avoid getting overwhelmed when we have thousands of tasks ahead of us that day.

De-stressing and keeping calm – doing our best to take that angry call from a tenant or owner.

Remaining positive – finding reasons to laugh during the day when things do get challenging.

Working well with difficult or negative team members – not just difficult clients. Every department in every industry has challenging personalities; we need to provide tools to junior employees on how to manage relationships and conflict, and teach tailored communication styles based on differing personalities.

Dealing with emotionally difficult and sometimes dangerous situations within the job – deaths in properties, threatening tenants, coping with tenants suspected of being victims of domestic abuse.

Overcoming intimidation and anxiety – felt when dealing with abrupt tenants, owners or even senior staff.

I put forward a call of action to trainers and business owners: let’s think outside the box and pair our necessary legislation and best-practice training with some unique initiatives based on personal development and real-world challenges.

Adopting a broad approach to training will facilitate improved job performance for staff, heighten knowledge and awareness, and contribute to well-developed, confident employees and a positive working environment.

Why not ask your staff today what they struggle with? That way you may be able to tailor your training schedules to provide education on topics that are 100 per cent relevant and appreciated.

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Jess Kindt

With an extensive background in property spanning over 17 years, Jess Kindt is the Leasing Manager at Harcourts Marketplace Oxley.