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Home > Lowe's for Pros > The Four HR Essentials Property Managers Need to Know

The Four HR Essentials Property Managers Need to Know

The Four HR Essentials Property Managers Need to Know

By Laura Schlereth

Human resources is an integral part of any established or growing business. By formalizing management practices and methods, HR can shape a work environment and define the type of workers that will help your company succeed. It’s important to proactively practice certain HR standards to ensure a healthy atmosphere in which your employees can thrive.

Here are four HR essentials every property manager needs to know:

1. Interviewing: Create a thorough hiring process

Although you can gauge most of an applicant’s experience level by his or her resumé, a thorough interview that asks all the right questions will give you a deeper understanding of a potential hire’s qualifications.

To determine if a prospect is the right fit for the position and a good addition to the company, every interview should include the following:

  • Evaluate the prospect’s personality. Ron Fraser, CPM, manager of capital asset planning with Ontario Realty Corporation, says he looks for staff members who have an outgoing personality and are easy to talk to so that he knows his tenants will feel comfortable around them.

  • Ask situational questions. Fraser recommends providing applicants with hypothetical examples to see how they would deal with a particular situation, such as a maintenance issue on an elevator. Their answers will give you a clearer idea of their building knowledge as well as their troubleshooting skills.

  • Do a complete background check. The best way to know how they will perform in the position you’re hiring for is by finding out how hard they worked at previous positions. Performing a background check and checking references will not only verify applicants’ resumé experience, but Fraser says it will also give you a chance to learn more about their actual work ethic.

2. Training: Provide various methods to accommodate different learning styles and goals

"I tend to look at each individual separately to see what works best for them and train them accordingly," Fraser says. Certain training subjects, such as health and job-safety, are likely to have more uniform training requirements. There’s more flexibility in specialty areas such as equipment training or security. Many people only need to read a manual to understand how to operate a piece of equipment, but many others are visual learners, which is why Fraser highly recommends doing a visual presentation with pictures or, whenever possible, a demonstration by an experienced operator on how to use a specific piece of equipment.

Before this training begins, Fraser recommends asking workers where they see themselves in five years so you can create a training plan that accommodates their long-term goals. For example, one new hire might specialize in cleaning services but eventually wants to become a building manager. By providing multi-faceted training that incorporates skills beyond the tasks at hand you can create a loyal, well-rounded employee who can help your business in various ways down the line. "It’s a win-win situation," Fraser says.

3. Interpersonal issues: Try to solve the problem before firing an employee

Firing an employee can be a huge loss of investment, Fraser says, so if an issue with an employee arises, work through to uncover a solution that is mutually beneficial. Fraser recommends holding a meeting with the staffer to identify specific offenses or complaints. Then, ask for his or her thoughts so the employee has a chance to explain the situation and doesn’t feel cornered.

For example, perhaps their usual work has not been up to par because they’ve taken on a new responsibility for which they haven’t been properly trained. Once you have this conversation, you can take actionable steps, such as providing relevant training, to solve the issue.

If the problems with this employee persist beyond this initial conversation, Fraser recommends a second meeting accompanied by a written warning. If the issue is a direct offense of office rules, Clayton Fitzsimmons, CPM and owner of Ottawa based-Fitzsimmons Realty Services, suggests giving a warning. If the same offense occurs within that period or if the issue still continues, it’s up to you to evaluate whether or not it would be beneficial to let the employee go.

4. Communication: Provide regular performance reviews

According to Fitzsimmons, a review is much more than a formality; it serves as a tangible benchmark to employees, evaluating their performance relative to company standards. Reviews can be easy to overlook, but Fitzsimmons says they are important to perform on a regular basis.

You’ll have to decide on the regularity with which you conduct performance reviews, but Fraser recommends at least an annual review with employees to discuss their work, identify areas in which they’ve excelled or can improve, and how their performance relates to any goals the employee and manager have set.

A review should consist of a meeting as well as a signed document that outlines what you have discussed. Signatures from the reviewer and the employee emphasize the importance of the document and the responsibilities that both parties have in meeting any goals. Fraser says to be sure to follow up with the employee after the review to ensure the employee understands what is expected of them.

For example, if you decided that it would be best for employees to take an accounting course, it’s important to check in and see if they were successful in signing up and if they need any help from you.

By remembering and enforcing these HR essentials, you will create happier employees who will channel their strengths to benefit your business.

"Employees are a huge investment," Fraser says. "So it’s important to nurture them."

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