Property Management Business Owners and Leaders – We need to talk.
I am coming across more and more posts in property management Facebook groups lately of property managers at their breaking point.
They are tired, exhausted and many ready to walk away. Some are coming for advice, some are coming to vent their frustration, but these are the ones who are talking. How many more are feeling this way and not speaking up? Quietly burning out and then exiting all together when it gets too much.
What is the cost of this to your property management business to lose a good property manager due to burn out? What is the cost of the time recruiting? The cost of recruitment, the cost of re-training? What is the cost of doing this process over and over again and then simply saying it’s so hard to find a good property manager these days. And what is the cost to the burnt out humans.
I get it, it CAN be hard to find a good property manager, and there really is a skills shortage (likely related to this very conversation), BUT, to those businesses I say, are you going to stay stuck in this cycle?
Or can you ask your self what can WE do to make this job better, what can we do to make some proactive changes to the way things are done around here to make the working environment for a property manager better, and for them to feel more supported, valued, respected and heard.
Property Management has become a very hard slog, much harder than when I was on the front line years ago, and I see it as a daily challenge and conversations with the clients.
This is such an important topic to talk about as I truly believe we’re entering a new phase of recruitment where it will be super important for businesses to prioritise the mental health, wellness and flexibility of their staff.
And the ones who don’t adapt will sadly not be employers of choice when a candidate is searching for a new role. The ones who do, will attract the talent. Property managers will vote for change through their choices and decisions of where they work.
I just spoke about this on the Real Estate Business podcast recently, diving into what I’m seeing in the industry but I do believe that it’s multi dimensional. A simple Wellness Wednesday program is a good start but I believe won’t quite cut it in the long run. It is my belief that a bigger picture mindset must be taken to ensure the wellbeing of property management staff.
Things for business to consider may include but are not limited to:
· Flexibility of hours to suit life commitments
· Flexibility of working from home to support work-life balance
· Monitoring of capacity of portfolio (not just get as many managements under one person as possible)
· Coaching and/or counselling support to handle the challenges and conflict
· Wellness initiatives from healthy food available to support on wellbeing and fitness
· Support to divorce problem clients instead of forcing them to deal with shitty clients
· Regular reviews and checks ins with manager / management team
· Continual improvement and investment in systems and automation to take pressure off the time of the property manager
· Rethinking the structure of the role and where the skill sets best lie within the team to have everyone functioning where they should be.
· Consider outsourcing parts of the role like trust accounting and Virtual Assistant options for a low cost way to give a property manager an assistant.
· Consider hiring part time employees to add resources in if you’re not ready to hire a full time person yet
· Better role training and onboarding to give more confidence in role
· Continual personal and professional development paid for by the business
· Acknowledgement of overtime or hard work with time off or vouchers (am seeing time off as more valuable)
· Incentives for property managers to earn more (often they see sales guys living it up while they’re stuck there doing the hard yards)
· Proactive resources planning for growth
· Encouraging open communication about mental health and creating a supportive environment for employees to speak about mental health concerns
· Promoting regular breaks at work (property managers are a classic for not taking a lunch break)
· Encouraging physical exercise and promoting health habits such as good sleep, nutrition and stress management
· Providing a safe, inclusive work environment that is free of discrimination, bullying and harassment
· Being responsive to employee feedback and addressing any issues or concerns as they arise.
So, how does your business rate in these areas?
A simple analysis process would be to rate yourself from 0-10 in each area to start to see where the immediate areas for improvement could be.
The benefits in bringing intention and focus to this space are not just seen in recruitment, but happier, calmer, property managers are best placed to provide better service, have capacity and desire to grow, and to have vastly improved culture and working environment.
Much research has been done into this space and the stats all say the same thing. That the way we’ve been working, isn’t working – and that it’s time to create some serious change.
I get it, running a business is hard and full of challenges, you have a lot of other things on your plate, but what if focusing on these areas for your business might just improve your own life too… take a moment to ponder a calmer, happier vision of your business and life as a whole… I believe that is worth doing the work for.