Many of our journeys in the multifamily housing industry began at the leasing level. Ask any COO, Marketing Manager, Training Director, etc.; a vast majority will tell you they began as a leasing professional. The first rung on the ladder, the entry position to greatness, the path to a rich and rewarding career in our industry; there are such high hopes in the beginning.
Unfortunately, something sinister often happens to dash those dreams before too long.
According to Indeed, the average lifespan of any leasing professional is less than one year!
We already know what high employee turnover costs can mean to an organization, so what can we do to prevent the loss of this important human capital?
Personally, I’ve always had a burning desire to figure out the magic behind ensuring a leasing professional’s longevity.
Is there a secret elixir that will be the cure-all?
I think there are many, but the one that sticks out clearly to me is the problem with time.
Time (Or Lack of It!)
When asked, the frustrated leasing professional will likely tell you they do not have enough time to do what energetic and driven leasing professionals are innately wired to do – LEASE!
Many vent that they are so busy answering the phone, submitting work orders, managing multiple technology tools, handling resident issues and complaints, completing renewals, walking their product, conducting outreach and other marketing events that leasing takes a back seat.
While these other tasks are all part of the job description, the inability to focus on leasing can lead to frustration and burn-out and can result in your leasing professional walking out the door. As leaders, how can we help them better manage their time or give them time back to do what they love best? Here are some ideas.
Extending your leasing office hours to include extra time in the early morning or evening a couple of days a week or month can boost efficiency, improve customer service, and have a positive impact on your leasing professionals.
- Extended hours can help to fit in those property inspections, resident meetings, marketing or outreach events, and other occurrences that can derail the team during normal business hours.
Your leasing professionals may even enjoy the modified work schedule, as it could allow them to sleep in, run errands, or fit in time with their family. Similarly, consider having an administrative hour at the beginning of the work day.
- For example, the office may open at 9 AM, but you don’t start receiving prospects, residents, or vendors until 10 AM, allowing the team a full hour of concentration on their administrative or other work.
The best hours and schedule will vary depending on your community’s prospect and resident needs, of course.
The To-Do List
Having daily, weekly, and monthly tasks that are written down and visible keeps even the most efficient of us on track. Help your leasing professionals manage and prioritize their activities.
- Automate lists and task reminders where you can and where it makes sense for your leasing professional.
- If your leasing professional operates better with a note pad, then embrace it.
- If you use a performance management program, allow them access!
- Use shared Excel spreadsheets to stay organized.
Whatever method works best, encourage them to use something to make it easier for them to keep track of the numerous balls they have in the air at all times. Don’t forget to celebrate the completion of those tasks! A sense of accomplishment really boosts morale.
Well organized staff meetings where everyone is engaged, feedback is encouraged, and ideas can be shared promotes camaraderie among team members. Regular meetings also give you a perspective on where the team is struggling and how you can provide support. And, meeting regularly will keep everyone focused on the right priorities, which is no easy task.
Skilled and successful leaders take the time for meetings because they know doing so will pay off in better informed and organized leasing professionals. Even if it is only a five-minute check-in each morning to highlight the previous day’s accomplishments, regular staff meetings will let leasing professionals will know that they are valued and supported.
This is the BIG question – are we overwhelming our leasing professionals with too many technologies and tools?!
Tablets for leasing, email, phones, texting systems, property management software, gate access, customer interfaces, sophisticated audio/visual systems… oh my! Don’t forget the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the form of chatbots and more traditional assists like call centers, all of which require your leasing professionals to master some skills (not to mention, remember their login credentials!)
You know it’s bad when it takes 30 minutes to fire up all the TVs and music systems in your leasing center! Good grief.
The truth is, technology can be friend or foe depending on how we utilize it. Does it save time or improve productivity for the leasing professionals? It’s worth asking to determine which technologies work best for your business. The rest might just be time-busters.
These time management tips can help you help your leasing professionals feel more in control of their workday. When your leasing dynamo is able to spend more time doing what they love, you can expect a greater sense of accomplishment and higher job satisfaction. And, just maybe you can look forward to them sticking around for more than a year!
Increased engagement and reduced employee turnover: now that’s a win-win.