As a property manager, you become familiar with handling a wide range of issues with owners, tenants and vendors on a regular basis. All those routine tasks and interactions become easy over time. One thing that most property managers find a constant struggle is motivating employees.

There is nothing worse than watching the clock when you are being paid hourly to perform a job that you don’t enjoy. I remember my first job as a waiter at a chain restaurant and how minutes felt like hours. There was no hope of advancement, very little freedom, no incentive for improved performance and sadly the company culture reflected these facts. Opportunity, freedom, performance incentives and company culture are now the key items that the Refresh team strives to continuously improve upon to motivate employees.

Provide opportunity

Opportunity needs to be present to provide purpose for your team. Without a goal or a purpose all there is, is the clock. There needs to be a goal and an upside for every position in the organization to maintain motivation.

Look at your entry level positions and make sure they are offered an upward path within the company through experience, training and education.

Can a leasing agent become a manager? Can a maintenance person become a supervisor? Make sure each team member is aware of the opportunities they have within the company and set goals for each position or department.

Freedom drives performance

Setting goals is of little importance, unless your employees are given the freedom to pursue and accomplish these goals. Avoid micromanagement and simply set the guidelines. Allow your employees to develop and test methods to improve efficiency and reach goals in different ways.

Perhaps you want to get more positive reviews, or decrease the average vacancy time?

The freedom to approach problems in unique ways is appreciated by employees and helps reduce the monotony of repetitive tasks. A company can only improve through trying new ideas, otherwise your business risks losing any competitive advantages it has. The performance of your property management business is dependent on the performance of your team.

Performance incentives are a must-have

Provide performance incentives for as many positions as possible. This can be done by: sharing commissions with agents, letting maintenance personnel be paid by the scope of the jobs they can perform (not simply hourly) or paying an inspector per property inspected vs. travel time.

These compensation structures provide natural performance incentives. Top performers are rewarded more for accomplishments, instead of paying everyone to simply spend time on the job (with no upside for individuals). If implemented correctly, these concepts reverberate throughout the entire company.

Culture is important

Instead of trying to police your employees to do what they are told, ultimately, you want your employees to be on the same team as the company. This is the difference between a company that is improving vs. a company that is simply surviving.

Communicate company goals and have regular meetings to discuss accomplishments, areas that can be improved and recent failures. Celebrate reached goals with parties and giveaways. Acknowledge team members who solve problems, show growth or receive positive feedback from customers. Include employees in the brainstorming or strategy development on new issues or projects.

This approach will build a more cohesive, motivated organization and will allow for new ideas, strategies and top performers to flourish. It is infinitely better to share the goals of the company to build a team and culture than to attempt to motivate individuals.