Keep the people, keep the profit: I recently heard these wise words from the great business coach Michael Sheargold and they struck a chord with me.
Especially given the fact I was a property manager for almost three years and understand the complexity and stress of the job. It’s tough – they are a complaint resolution centre, they deal with an ever-increasing workload and the pressure is sometimes too much for people. The industry standard for a property manager to stay in one business is 18 to 24 months. That is not a lot of return on your investment as a business owner for recruiting and training that person.
So what can business owners do to retain staff?
Get the right people on the bus
This means if there is someone in your business who is underperforming or not aligned with your company vision and ethos, they are not right for your business. A bad attitude is toxic and will disrupt your entire team. Any negativity will distract people. Everyone has met 'that' person. Their landlords are too demanding, their tenants are all idiots, the business owner is a clown ... the list goes on. Those people are costing you money in wasted productivity. You should always be recruiting for new team members, even if you don’t need them now. The only time to recruit is when you don’t need someone. The worst position to be in is when you need to get rid of someone but you can’t since you have no one to replace them with.
Invest in training
Asking some business owners to invest in training for their team is sometimes met with: "But what if they leave?" I would argue: "What if you don’t improve their skills and they stay?" Giving your team the option to grow and learn will not only help them, but it will help your business. As they grow, they will need new challenges to keep them interested, so give it to them. Promote from within, give them more responsibility, delegate some of your tasks to those who you feel will rise to the challenge. It is amazing what happens when you instil faith in someone to achieve more. It's a win-win situation.
Become the employer of choice
This doesn't mean staff drinks from 4pm every day; but as I write this, I think that is a solid idea. It means ensuring your team feels supported, encouraged and challenged. Being a great leader should inspire your team to want to strive to do better every day and, when they demonstrate this, it should be rewarded. Whether it’s a team lunch, a massage, some movie tickets or just public recognition, make your team feel appreciated. I know an office that takes their whole team out for drinks and shoe shopping once a year. Other teams have a personal trainer that comes three mornings a week to train the whole team. Do things that help your team grow and make them happy. People need to have fun. When you enjoy what you do, it’s never work.
On the whole, people need to be happy at work. On Monday morning they need to get ready for the week with enthusiasm and energy – not dread and despair. They need an environment where it is OK to laugh. Property managment is stressful and if you want to ensure you keep good talent, you need to understand what drives them, then offer incentives and support structures that mean something to them. Everyone is different and the best businesses recognise that and offer a range of rewards to ensure their teams have the right foundation and backing to excel in their role and have fun along the way.