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Why Individuals-First Property Administration Methods All the time Win

Why Individuals-First Property Administration Methods All the time Win

Final modified on December twenty eighth, 2022

Over practically three seasons of The High Ground podcast, we’ve heard unbelievable insights and invaluable recommendation from leaders in actual property, proptech, and the enterprise world — and compelling, real-life examples from many property administration firms. Though there are nonetheless a lot extra episodes of The High Ground podcast to come back, we wished to have a look again at just a few of the highest moments from The High Ground thus far. 

To take action, we invited 4 AppFolio Property Supervisor crew members to speak about their favourite insights. Our AppFolio friends for this episode are:

  • Lisa Horner, Senior Vice President of Advertising
  • Daniel Waas, VP of Product Advertising
  • Sean Forster, Lead Product Advertising Supervisor
  • JJ Koski, Senior Account Government

We’ll hear their favourite clips from earlier friends of The High Ground podcast and discuss why their favourite moments are nonetheless simply as related as ever, particularly as we head right into a brand-new yr.

Episode Transcript:

Megan: As we spherical out 2022, this episode of The High Ground podcast formally marks the midway level of season three. Heading into a brand new yr, we wished to take a while to mirror on just a few of our favourite moments from The High Ground thus far. Since we began this podcast virtually three years in the past, the business has seen an incredible quantity of change in a really brief period of time. And the conversations we’ve had right here, throughout 26 episodes, and with greater than 40 friends are simply as related as ever earlier than. On this particular episode, we’ll hear from 4 members of the AppFolio Property Supervisor crew, or as we prefer to name them AppFolioians, and so they’ll share a few of their favourite moments from The High Ground thus far. 

We’ll additionally discuss why they discover these insights from previous friends simply as significant at this time as after they first aired. As you’ll hear quickly, the AppFolians on the present at this time ended up selecting moments that every one related again to 1 central theme, all about how placing individuals first is the important thing to property administration success. And we’ll discover completely different areas inside that central theme, such because the significance of significant work, creating optimistic crew cultures, and investing in prime expertise. 

Despite the fact that we didn’t initially got down to create an episode centered on people-first property administration, it is smart that we ended up with one as a result of, in any case, as we’ve heard on The High Ground time and time once more, property administration at its core is all about individuals. So let’s dive in to listen to what everybody needed to say and discover a few of the biggest moments from The High Ground thus far. 

Lisa Horner, SVP of Advertising at AppFolio

Megan: So Lisa, initially, thanks a lot for taking a while out of your busy schedule to be on The High Ground. We’ve wished to get you on the podcast since season one, so we’re actually excited to have you ever as our visitor at this time.

Lisa Horner: Effectively, thanks for internet hosting me, Megan, I’m so excited to be right here.

Megan: Might you, only for our listeners, briefly share a little bit bit about your position at AppFolio and what a day within the lifetime of Lisa Horner appears to be like like?

Lisa Horner: I’m the Senior Vice President of Advertising right here at AppFolio. And largely, what my job is, is to make sure that our clients and potential clients perceive the worth of what we deliver to {the marketplace}. 

Megan: Thanks a lot for that little overview. So for this episode, to wrap up 2022, we’re having a look again at a few of the finest moments from The High Ground thus far. And the one which we’re going to talk via at this time was our interview with Steve Cadigan. We interviewed Steve virtually a yr in the past, on the tail finish of 2021, to speak about a few of the findings of our worker engagement analysis, the place we requested staff within the property administration business what mattered to them. And the findings had been actually fascinating.

One of many massive themes that emerged was firm tradition and this sense that individuals actually need to discover which means within the work that they do. And that undoubtedly applies inside all roles within the property administration business. So one of many examples that Steve shared in regards to the Thames Water District, it feels so just like lots of the conversations which can be occurring proper now in property administration firms, round how will we appeal to extra expertise? And the way will we present them the which means of the work behind it? 

Steve Cadigan: I believe it’s an excellent development. If the workforce is saying, “I need to discover which means and goal extra in my work, I need to really feel the group that I’m part of is doing good on this planet,” take into consideration that. That’s simply such a lovely factor. I would like my youngsters to really feel that perhaps greater than I did. 

And so the way in which I believe to contemplate that on this business is to actually make investments time answering the query, what worth are we including within the lives of individuals? How can we ship a bundle of why we exist to our clients and to our staff, to our ecosystem, that we really feel actually makes a distinction? Provide you with an excellent instance. Quite a lot of years in the past, I used to be invited by what’s known as the Thames Water District. They’re principally the sewage and sanitation arm and the water provide wing of the Metropolis of London. And so they had been going via a privatization course of the place the federal government was beginning to unload utilities and spun them off in order that they’re extra personal than publicly owned. And this group was terrified. They’re like, “Steve, why would anybody need to work for a sanitation sewage firm? That’s not cool and horny.” And so, we sat down for a few days with the HR crew, with the recruiting crew, after which the advertising crew joined us and requested. We stated, “Why does somebody need to work right here? What drawback are you fixing?” And that obtained us to, we’re making the world protected. We’re making issues protected for youngsters. And that was aspirational, proper? So I believe it’s a very wholesome train for each group, no matter business you’re in, to assume via serving to candidates reply, what’s your connection to creating individuals really feel safer or having them be in a house that optimizes their life for them to appreciate one of the best model of their lives, proper? There’s obtained to be a solution to that query you probably have a demographic of employees that’s more and more eager to know what that which means is about. And that’s a very good train to undergo.”

Megan: So how do you are feeling that the property administration business can method that, and begin flipping the query round, as Steve stated?

Lisa Horner: In case you zoom out and take into consideration your life or anyone else’s life, we’re going to spend principally a 3rd of our time working. And in any sector, in any business, in any firm, I believe that it’s actually vital to get to a kernel of which means for workers. And if you actually take into consideration the period of time you’re going to spend working, I believe most individuals need that to be very helpful and significant. And I typically really feel that firms have a number of unbelievable worth that they’re creating. They simply don’t articulate it that effectively.

I believe protecting deeply related to your buyer and understanding the deep worth that you just do deliver to your clients, and explaining that effectively to your present staff and potential candidates, is crucial. So oftentimes, when staff are both in search of a job, or they’re inside a job, or ramping up in a job, they’re actually centered on, and the leaders are centered on, what’s the work? Or what’s the job that we’re hiring you to do? And it’s actually the linkage to why our firm, and why the work issues to our buyer. And I believe that’s actually the clincher. If you will get in there and perceive the explanation for being in your firm and actually join your staff to the worth that you just’re producing for individuals on this planet, it makes the work of all your staff, together with your management group, very significant.

Megan: Proper. I believe it’s simple to get misplaced in all of the minutia and all the processes and day-to-day duties that it takes to maintain a property up and working and simply lose sight of the truth that these are individuals’s houses, that is the place they stay their lives. Their environment and the standard of the house that they stay in, have an enormous, large influence.

Lisa Horner: Sure, I fully agree with that. And that’s why the work and the worth proposition there, primarily based on the true worth created, is absolutely vital for workers to know. And I believe a number of firms can do a greater job of that. And like I stated, it’s not that the worth isn’t being created, it’s simply an articulation of your which means, your cause for being and why your organization exists, and the worth that you just’re creating for individuals of their lives. And I believe it’s just a bit little bit of a pivot in your messaging and the bringing collectively of your mission and worth. I believe some firms are even taking that additional. You see firms who’re very goal or mission-driven, and I believe that’s one other angle to get very particular about – what you need to do as an organization and truly get these issues completed. And actually, you see it on the market, a number of firms are actually dedicated to one thing even broader than simply what they make or ship as a services or products, let’s say.

And I believe like Steve Cadigan stated, it’s a lovely factor, and it’s a great way to consider what we’re all doing after we get up within the morning and we need to really feel that means. We’re doing one thing nice, and we’re a part of one thing that’s constructing one thing actually helpful to individuals and that’s altering individuals’s lives.

Megan: Proper. A part of what we uncovered in that analysis and that we talked about with Steve was round a few of the issues that get in the way in which of that and lots of the day-to-day duties. 

What are a few of these issues that get in the way in which of the connection to goal? And the way can leaders take into consideration breaking these limitations down in order that their groups might be extra related to the explanation behind their work?

Lisa Horner: Effectively candidly, you’re not going to like each single factor about your job, that’s true. There could be issues that you just don’t love about it. I believe the aim is to like a complete lot about your job. And in loving your job, not solely would you like which means, however you need an efficient and let’s say productive work course of. In order that’s not simply an employer wanting operational effectivity, it’s staff eager to get work completed in a straightforward, pleasant means, as a result of it makes you happier in your job when you are able to do that. And I believe it’s important to use innovation. It’s a must to take into consideration work and zoom out from it and say, how may we be doing this a little bit bit higher? How may we make this simpler for all the of us who’re making an attempt to get this work completed? And the way may that even remodel what we are able to ship to our buyer? And so, the method of simply eager about innovating the work course of, I believe is essential. And small issues that you are able to do remodel individuals’s days and so they’re happier about their work if you try this.

Megan: Yeah, completely. So what are some traits that you just assume it’s vital for leaders to have, whether or not in property administration or wherever else, to be able to see their staff and members of their groups as full individuals and to make that sense of belonging felt within the office?

Lisa Horner: Effectively once more, going again to the start right here, I actually really feel like staff need to perceive the ‘why’, the technique and the mission of the corporate. They don’t simply need to do work that’s handed to them that’s disconnected from the larger image. So I believe it’s vital for leaders in any business, particularly even property administration, to take these moments in time to step again and discuss in regards to the imaginative and prescient and the mission of the corporate, in order that staff perceive what leaders try to get completed in the long run. 

What are the targets of the enterprise and what’s the imaginative and prescient? And I believe when staff can perceive that, not solely can they obtain their present jobs and get extra which means in why they’re doing the work that they’re doing, however they tackle their very own possession and management inside the firm when individuals perceive what the larger imaginative and prescient is.

And I believe you get chief companions of all of your staff if you try this as a result of all people understands, okay right here’s what we’re making an attempt to get completed. And folks truly innovate in their very own jobs if you try this. And that’s the enjoyable of labor, when you’ve problem, the place you determine a brand new solution to do one thing that improves the lives of the individuals round you and your clients. I imply that’s a lovely factor. And these cultures of innovation, I believe, are what we’re in search of and the place staff need to work. They need to work in a tradition of innovation and it’s thrilling and it’s significant.

Megan: Yeah, it seems like what you’re saying is that to ensure that there to be a tradition of innovation, there must be a sure diploma of mutual belief, respect, and autonomy for members of the crew to be able to deliver that to work day by day. And that providing that actually goes a good distance for not solely innovation, but in addition retention, proper?

Lisa Horner: Sure, completely. And simply having the willingness to take suggestions as an employer too. I believe actually listening, not solely to your clients however to your staff and dealing as a crew to evolve, I believe is essential. And staff need to really feel valued. And oftentimes, your finest concepts come out of your latest staff to the enterprise who can see issues objectively and have a pleasant view of getting labored in different eventualities, both industries or different companies. And actually creating this bidirectional communication along with your whole workforce is an crucial now. 

I might say as we had been within the coronary heart of the pandemic, the primary problem was staffing. Hiring, ramping, retaining workers. That’s in all probability quantity two or quantity three proper now. However when you concentrate on operational effectivity, which I believe is the primary problem in property administration at this time, I believe property managers would say that that’s the primary aim. Simply innovating within the work course of is essential to creating operational effectivity and to having thriving and flourishing workers as an alternative of staff.

The one different factor that I’ll say Megan is simply the worth of firm tradition as effectively. And I’m undecided if we touched on that particular subject, however staff additionally discover which means and love of labor after they work in an atmosphere or a tradition that’s a thriving, optimistic tradition. 

I believe my favourite definition of tradition is, a gaggle with a superb lifestyle. It’s expressed within the habits, the rituals, and the actions. In order that we are able to all flourish collectively, every of us individually, together with our clients. And I really like that definition, and I really like this concept of flourishing, and I believe that staff need to flourish within the firms that they work for, and tradition is like this absolute basis of flourishing.

Megan: Oh, I’m so glad that you just introduced that in. That is one thing that I believe our crew does fairly effectively, so thanks for sharing that with everybody Lisa, this has been an excellent interview.

Lisa Horner: Thanks, Megan. Thanks for having me. And discuss to you quickly.

Daniel Waas, VP of Product Advertising at AppFolio

Megan: Daniel, we’re so excited to have you ever on this episode of The High Ground. Might you begin off by introducing your self to our listeners? 

Daniel Waas: Thanks, Megan. Sure, I can. My title’s Daniel Waas. I’m the VP of Product Advertising right here at AppFolio. Meaning I get to be within the enjoyable position of connecting all of the issues collectively. So listening in to the market, the shoppers, understanding what our clients’ wants are and bringing that to the product groups in a productive means to allow them to work out what to do subsequent, construct subsequent, work out subsequent, attempt subsequent. 

Megan: That’s unbelievable. It’s undoubtedly a very central and pivotal position that has additionally contributed to lots of the tales that we discuss right here on The High Ground. So thanks.

So at this time we’re going to be chatting about an episode from our very first season of The High Ground, and it featured a dialog with one among our clients, JC Castillo. Rather a lot has modified since we recorded that interview, however the focus of it round driving income and creating worth, I believe, is a subject that’s nonetheless fairly related, particularly contemplating what’s occurring on this planet at this time. So perhaps earlier than I roll the clip, do you need to share a thought on why you picked this one?

Daniel Waas: Sure. So, effectively, first off, JC is an incredible operator and actually considerate in how he drives his enterprise, how he grows his enterprise, how he thinks about his groups and find out how to make his groups productive. I actually worth and respect JC as an individual, he may also be fairly enjoyable, in order that’s one other good cause to select the episode. After which additionally from simply the angle, such as you talked about, profitability proper now’s extra related than it was in 2021. The market situations have modified in significant methods, and JC and his two firms, he runs a charge administration, and an owner-operator enterprise are…he actually focuses on productiveness and effectivity, and I believe that’s tremendous, tremendous related proper now. In order that’s why I picked this one.

Megan: And I believe after we recorded this one, this was previous to his launch of Velo Residential. So it’s enjoyable to see how far they’ve come.

JC Castillo: I believe the most important concern that … government groups take into consideration is the lack of the private reference to the client. As a result of on the finish of the day, each relationship that’s constructed is constructed round a private relationship. Individuals do enterprise with individuals as a result of they know them, they like them, and so they belief them. Whenever you discuss synthetic intelligence, you’re actually speaking about taking … At the very least the notion is that you just’re taking that connection away. That’s worrisome. Residents resolve to stay at your property as a result of they really feel a connection to the property, to the folks that work there. I believe what you, as an proprietor, and what we needed to wrestle with and we perceive now’s that the target of the expertise is to not substitute the private connections. 

Really, the target of the expertise is to present extra time to our people to truly focus extra on these private connections… What I’ve seen is the exact opposite of that preliminary concern, and that truly permits us to focus extra on these relationships, which truly is what drives the enterprise ahead. I hate speaking about expertise for the sake of expertise’s sake. What I imply by that’s expertise has to have a goal. The aim, in my thoughts, must be that it has to allow us to focus extra effort and time on constructing these relationships with these clients, these buyers, these residents, and getting them to resume their leases. If the expertise is taking work off our plate that doesn’t have to be completed by us, it isn’t in the way in which of constructing these relationships. I really feel like that’s nice expertise.

Megan: So JC actually talked on this quote about how their aim with utilizing expertise is to present extra time to the individuals inside their enterprise, to give attention to constructing private connections. So are you able to go a little bit bit deeper into how expertise makes that doable? What are a few of the ways in which expertise is taking work off of property administration crew’s plates?

Daniel Waas: Yeah, completely. So if you happen to consider JC’s instance particularly, proper? He’s achieved quite a bit via centralizing duties that beforehand the entrance workplace must do. So that you consider the property supervisor and so they could must cope with vendor invoices and so they’re there on the native property. JC is in multifamily, so massive multifamily properties, and so they’re sitting there quoting invoices. That’s non-productive time for them. It’s time that they’ll’t spend with the residents. And in order that’s a first-rate instance of what expertise can take off the plate. 

After which having the ability to take the back-office elements of that work and centralize it in order that what a property supervisor needed to do on web site, now might be completed by a centralized crew that’s offsite or at a central workplace location and even offshored. And so, now if I’m the property supervisor on web site, I can actually give attention to all of the entrance workplace work as an alternative of coping with all of the back-office duties that, for almost all, aren’t actually enjoyable and aren’t issues that the property supervisor enjoys and actually take them away from having that relationship. And so, I believe these are a few of the examples. I believe one other one is simply leasing automation.

So even when I’m in a direct buyer dialog, resident dialog, there are issues which can be extra helpful and fewer helpful. If I’m simply speaking about scheduling and making an attempt to align schedules for a exhibiting, it’s not very productive, it doesn’t actually construct the connection. So if I can take that aspect out and have expertise try this for me, I can actually focus my time as a property supervisor to give attention to the exhibiting itself, give attention to the dialog, studying in regards to the resident, specializing in the residents which can be already there and driving renewals and simply taking the time to concentrate to the wants of the residents as an alternative of doing duties that expertise may do or that anyone may do that doesn’t must be a activity that the property supervisor on web site does.

Megan: Yeah, that’s nice. And I believe you already obtained onto the following query I used to be going to ask, which is what are the duties that expertise shouldn’t substitute?

Daniel Waas: Sure. I really feel like something that, I imply what’s expertise not nice at – being human and appearing like a human. And that’s additionally what journeys expertise up. So one thing that has coronary heart can not come from expertise, that may solely come from the people, and that’s actually the place they shine. And in addition, if you happen to consider what you take pleasure in in your work, and sometimes doing the identical factor yet again and fulfilling clicks and filling in particulars will not be the enjoyable a part of your job. So the extra that I can focus as a human on connecting with the opposite people or doing one thing that’s difficult and rewarding, doing the work that truly provides you a kick if you full it effectively, that’s the work that we need to placed on the people. The work that we need to placed on the machine and on the expertise is the work that’s simply repetitive and that tires you out and that form of saps your power.

Megan: Yeah. So clearly there’s lots of advantages for the crew right here, however what influence does which have on NOI?

Daniel Waas: I spent a while with JC at his workplace. Only a couple weeks in the past I flew as much as the Bay space and we met for half a day, which is tremendous, tremendous enjoyable. And if you happen to hearken to him discuss this, he says the individuals on the entrance traces are actually what matter to the profitability. So why is that? As a result of his complete level is the extra I can take away limitations for my crew to have the ability to give attention to the work that’s significant to them and that drives worth to the residents, the higher my enterprise does general. 

They’re the closest to the issue. They’re the closest to determining what takes time away from that, that isn’t helpful. So if I hearken to my entrance workplace workers and I can remedy their issues, that has an excellent general influence to my enterprise. So take a leasing supervisor and a property supervisor, if you happen to’re capable of centralize a ton of these duties, you may free the property supervisor up to have the ability to do a ton of leasing duties. You might not want the leasing supervisor to be on web site and you may centralize the leasing perform, which comes with its personal advantages for price efficiencies. That’s clearly one other influence to the underside line and profitability as effectively.

There is a component of liberating up the people, to allow them to spend extra time on high quality relationships that interprets into a greater resident expertise and happier residents. And that’s one other factor that if you happen to take a look at JC’s properties, all of them have superb opinions on Google opinions, on common above four-star opinions. And he attributes that largely to the truth that his groups on web site are actually freed as much as spend the time with the residents and to resolve their issues and are empowered at a neighborhood degree. And that’s what displays on the resident expertise and that’s what turns into good opinions. That’s what drives cheaper acquisition of latest renters, potential renters. And so all of it works out in a digital cycle. That’s fairly neat to see, actually.

Megan: Yeah. That is one thing too that I believe we’ve heard come up from different friends on The High Ground. Happier residents truly make issues simpler and may have a useful impact on the finances as effectively.

Daniel Waas: Yeah, completely. I imply if you happen to consider flip prices, these happier residents usually tend to keep and renew their lease. These happier residents are in all probability blissful for a cause. They’re in all probability additionally simply simpler to deal with and preserve. They’ll have much less points than clearly you probably have new individuals shifting in, you’ll have to construct new relationships. It’s a must to do lots of that basis work yet again. And also you additionally may come throughout a resident that seems to not be an excellent resident. And so increased retention, happier residents within the constructing, I believe, have a number of rewards over time.

Megan: And I guess that that is additional vital proper now, as a result of what we noticed after we final surveyed property administration firms round their prime challenges, you noticed that operational effectivity was proper up there as primary in 2022. So a few of these issues that JC was speaking about greater than a yr and a half in the past have gotten essentially the most urgent questions I believe for everybody within the business.

Daniel Waas: That’s proper, I believe for anyone who has their course of found out and has been sensible about find out how to construct that course of. And I believe that’s the opposite part to how JC runs his enterprise. What I hear from lots of different clients which can be profitable particularly with operational effectivity, is having a transparent imaginative and prescient of what they need to accomplish, actually valuing their groups after which making an attempt to determine how they’ll create consistency for his or her groups in processes in order that the work will get completed in comparable methods or actually takes a few of the considering and optimizing and makes that natural. So that you just don’t actually have to consider how to do that or find out how to full this. 

There’s a set course of that works that’s confirmed which you could comply with. And I believe that’s the opposite facet. So native empowerment expertise to take a few of the burden off of the duties that have to be completed after which having a constant course of for all of the relationships and the interactions that you just do have so to management the standard of these interactions. I believe these three collectively actually drive success.

Megan: So wanting forward, what are some ways in which property administration groups can extra successfully use expertise over the following yr, but in addition over the approaching three to 5 years? 

Daniel Waas: That’s partially a tough query to reply. I believe it relies upon. Are you small? Are you massive? Are you a charge supervisor? Are you an proprietor operator? Do you rely quite a bit on offers and so forth? However I might say basically, perhaps a pair issues that I see continued, and there are issues that you just’ve already introduced up and that we’ve already chatted about, however one is a continued development of centralization. So I believe that’s simply going to proceed. What are duties that I can centralize? And simply, I believe the laborious half about that is the change administration course of that goes together with that. And so, this isn’t simple to do, and that is one thing that takes time. I believe over a minimum of the following two years, I believe simply the skin strain goes to proceed to drive that.

And I believe it’s very doable, nevertheless it takes time. You should deliver your crew alongside; it’s essential change your course of to make that work and so forth. And that’s not one thing that you just do in a single day. So I believe that’s the continued factor that we’re going to see, centralization and productiveness.

I believe the second half to this that’s unrelated to expertise is simply purely from a tech vendor perspective. How will we make the instrument simpler to make use of? And there’s a lot alternative for that all over the place. I believe AppFolio does fairly effectively from a simply person friendliness perspective, however there’s at all times issues which you could simplify. So I’m considering a few of the issues that we’ve completed in simply decreasing clicks, decreasing the variety of screens that it’s essential go to get one thing completed. I believe that’s one other aspect to productiveness, and it’s once more, interrelated with course of. What’s the most effective course of to getting one thing completed? And that has a part that’s within the management of our clients of, okay, how do I construction a course of? However there’s additionally a part of the PMS that the PMS must play into the way you cut back the variety of additional steps it takes to finish one thing in the event that they’re not strictly essential.

And what I’ve been enthusiastic about by way of AppFolio Stack in our integrations market is that I believe there’s a solution to mix each the place we are able to allow our clients to be selective, on the place it’s higher to have a centralized platform and working all your workflow in it. And the place you actually need to lean in and differentiate and go all the way in which with particular expertise, however guarantee that it’s effectively built-in into your core platform. And so, I’m enthusiastic about that. I do see clients’ continued curiosity in investing into expertise and bringing issues on that they assume are going to make them extra aggressive. And supporting that in the very best means, I believe is tremendous fascinating for us.

Megan: Proper. And the reality is that that’s not going to look the identical for each firm. They’re going to have completely different priorities and completely different alternatives. So having that flexibility to customise and to select and select, such as you had been saying, when which instrument is used, is big.

Daniel Waas: Completely sure. 

Megan: Nice, effectively this has been unbelievable. Thanks a lot, Daniel.

Daniel Waas: Thanks Megan for having me. All the time excited to be on The High Ground.

Sean Forster, Lead Product Advertising Supervisor at AppFolio

Megan: All proper. Effectively, thanks a lot, Sean for serving to us out with our final episode of 2022. We’re actually excited to have you ever again once more on The High Ground podcast, however in case any of our listeners haven’t heard you earlier than, may you share a little bit bit about your self, your position at AppFolio and perhaps a day in your life?

Sean Forster: Superior. Effectively, initially, thanks for having me, Megan. I’m very blissful to be again on the podcast. So I’m a Lead Product Advertising Supervisor right here at AppFolio, and that position covers quite a bit, however what I get lots of ardour and what I simply like to do is give attention to understanding the market traits which can be impacting property managers and the way companies can leverage a few of the insights that our analysis and interviews discover to reach their distinctive markets. And that’s gone lots of completely different instructions. However lately, lots of the main target has been across the frontline worker expertise, younger chief growth, residential preferences, customer support traits, and naturally expertise enabled operational effectivity. So just a bit style of what I get the possibility to do right here at AppFolio.

Megan: So principally, fueling all the superb content material that we get to speak about right here on the podcast and all over the place else.

Sean Forster: I’m blissful to play a small half in that, however we’ve obtained a big crew right here, your self included, that may play a task in all of that nice content material.

Megan: That’s unbelievable. For our final episode of the yr, we’re specializing in wanting again at a few of the finest moments of The High Ground thus far. What we’re going to debate at this time is definitely our first episode of season two. That will’ve been mid-2021. We interviewed Angela Garrison, who talked a little bit bit about a few of the challenges round hiring that property administration groups had been actually, actually feeling round that point. 

As we’ll talk about a little bit bit extra, some are nonetheless feeling this, though actually issues have modified a bit since then. Sean, do you need to simply share just a few phrases about why this one stood out to you?

Sean Forster: Positive. What fascinates me about this subject is it’s one thing we’ve been noticing actually ever since I’ve been studying about this business. Staffing and hiring particularly has been a problem. Despite the fact that this commentary from Angela’s is from 2021, it’s nonetheless as related at this time because it was again then, nevertheless it’s advanced since. I’ll be excited to listen to how her perspective was again then and blissful to share a few of the issues that we’ve discovered within the time since, how this continues to be a possibility for us to enhance as an business going ahead. 

Angela Garrison: Discovering the best expertise is an ever-present problem as a result of it’s such an vital resolution. It’s an important resolution that we make, who we’re going to let in these gates, as a result of it impacts the client expertise and naturally the worker expertise, relying on who we deliver onto the crew. So we’re beginning with the fundamentals. …we’re reviewing the positions, we’re figuring out when that new place comes out there is the way in which that it’s at the moment structured assembly the wants of the enterprise at this time and the long run wants, or does there have to be some type of modification to that? An apparent change to seek out the expertise is the way in which that our hiring managers are interviewing. They’re interviewing by way of Zoom or they’re interviewing in individual and each persons are carrying masks. And that presents challenges in itself. You’re lacking lots of that physique language. It may be very troublesome to get a superb learn on a candidate, excuse me, subsequently making it troublesome to make the best alternative. So in response to that problem, we’ve completed a few issues. One is we’ve elevated the depth of our phone display from HR. Our HR crew has been skilled to dig a little bit deeper with the candidates earlier than they’re passing them alongside to the hiring supervisor for additional assessment and consideration. That helps us gauge consistency with the candidate and actually get a take a look at the worth match from the HR standpoint, in addition to when the hiring supervisor will get concerned with that particular person. We’re reminding our hiring managers that we search for worth match first, after which abilities. As everyone knows, coaching for abilities is as a lot less complicated than making an attempt to drive somebody to suit along with your firm’s core values.

Megan: Sean, it looks like quite a bit has modified since then, man, I used to be listening to that dialog round masking considering, “Effectively, there’s one as an illustration,” however may you share with us your preliminary response to how a lot of that is nonetheless the case for property administration firms at this time and what are perhaps a few of the massive adjustments since we recorded this?

Sean Forster: Completely. Attracting expertise continues to be a problem. What is absolutely fascinating, so since that interview occurred, we’ve completed lots of analysis and interviews on this subject particularly. We’ve completed this Trade Pulse survey for the previous two years, and after we initially ran the survey in 2021, in all probability across the time that interview was occurring, by far and away, HR staffing and coaching was the highest problem felt by I believe 74% of property managers. Since then, after we redid that very same research in 2022, it was nonetheless a priority. It was within the prime three.

However operational efficiencies grew to become the primary problem, which was fascinating, as a result of we’d nonetheless seen within the headlines they carried via the Nice Resignation. Once we dug a little bit bit deeper although, I believe what we discovered was that these staffing points had considerably advanced. The place perhaps it wasn’t a lot of a priority in getting individuals within the door and employed into the positions, nevertheless it advanced into setting that up for fulfillment, coaching, so that you just perhaps had the individuals, however they weren’t essentially working on the most effective degree. You had been seeing that evolve into an acute staffing problem for hiring into ensuring that they had been specializing in actually the excessive worth sort of actions that you just employed them to do. 

Megan: Yeah. Now it seems like there’s not essentially the identical problem in filling the roles, however there’s problem even when these roles are stuffed, in ensuring that issues are being run effectively and that individuals know find out how to function at their finest. What are a few of the options for that? What are property administration firms specializing in to be able to enhance that and assist their individuals to work extra effectively?

Sean Forster: I believe two areas come to thoughts. The primary one which I’ll suggest is definitely investing in and establishing your mid-management roles for fulfillment. We had a spot in these roles, as individuals both left the business or went into government degree. What we discovered is simply because somebody’s an incredible particular person contributor doesn’t essentially imply that that skillset interprets right into a mid-level administration place. 

You really want to put money into teaching up that position, as a result of that’s actually a key place inside your group to guarantee that the individuals that you just then rent to switch these individuals in these frontline forms of roles, that they’re able to be as environment friendly and have that confidence that they’re making a distinction of their position. You really want to guarantee that that mid-level supervisor is ready up for fulfillment. I believe that’s one space that we are able to look into to guarantee that they’ve what they should guarantee that the operation general is working effectively. Then the second space is one thing that we see quite a bit within the clients that we’re working with, and it’s simply ensuring that they’ve the instruments out there to them to work as effectively as they’ll. 

There’s lots of guide duties that may be automated and simply taken off the plate solely in a means that’s making it a greater expertise in your buyer, a greater expertise in your crew, to allow them to give attention to actually that top worth, significant sort of labor that we all know that they’re in search of of their roles within the first place. In case you can automate lots of these preliminary inquiries coming into the listings that you just’ve marketed or a few of the upkeep coordination in consumption, automating lots of that may unencumber your crew to actually give attention to issues that they discover most useful to them.

Megan: What influence does tradition have on the flexibility to draw and retain staff at an organization? 

Sean Forster: Tradition is paramount to your skill to draw and retain. We discuss quite a bit about tradition as one thing good to do, nevertheless it actually is one thing, sure, good in your staff, however good for your small business. As a result of finally, what you’ll fall again on is the approaches and the norms that your tradition has arrange. When occasions get powerful, having that collaborative, supportive, genuine tradition is what is going to get you thru any forms of difficulties that we’ll inevitably face. 

Sean Forster: You return to what Angela was saying, proper, what she was advocating her HR crew to look into. It’s not these direct laborious abilities of understanding the leasing movement or the best steps to take to show a unit. These are issues that may be taught, however bringing individuals in which can be worth adverts to your tradition which can be going to slot in effectively along with your groups, or perhaps fill in a spot that your crew has from a tradition perspective, trying to rent for these forms of issues, you may train the remaining, however build up that crew that builds the tradition that’s genuine to your small business actually is the place our focus must be in attracting expertise into the business. That’s going to finally remedy lots of our retention challenges as effectively.

Megan: Yeah. Effectively, that was an excellent dialog, Sean. However earlier than I wrap it up, I’ve one final query, which is, is there a query that you just wished that I had requested or one thing else that you just need to share earlier than we wrap up? 

Sean Forster: So a subject that I believe is value mentioning right here is absolutely round flexibility and the way a lot staff, and particularly newer staff to our group, admire the flexibility to have flexibility in how they run their days. I believe we might be actually clear on what the targets and aims are, but in addition notice that there’s a number of completely different paths on how one can get there. Simply because we’ve been doing one thing a sure means for the previous 10, 20, 30 years perhaps, it doesn’t imply that that’s essentially nonetheless the easiest way.

Having contemporary eyes on a course of, we might be shocked at there being doubtlessly a greater solution to do issues. Clearly, we nonetheless want to realize the target, however it’s actually liberating and actually motivating to staff to have the pliability to determine precisely how they should accomplish that activity. Flexibility, along with discovering purposeful, significant positions, is a really fascinating trait for positions that youthful staff are in search of. 

Megan: Yeah, that’s so fascinating that you just deliver that up, as a result of we simply had our interview with Lisa, and she or he was speaking about a few of the findings from Steve Cadigan after we interviewed him final yr. This was one other theme in that dialog, that form of belief and autonomy in your crew. When you’ve that, it actually empowers them to seek out inventive options. That’s what creates a way of significant work. 

With the ability to use your abilities, having the ability to ask questions and problem and give you a greater means of doing issues, I believe actually permits individuals to really feel valued another way than simply being requested to come back and comply with a course of with no flexibility. I really like that you just introduced that up. 

Effectively, thanks a lot, Sean, for being on The High Ground once more. We’re actually glad to have you ever making an look in season three, and thanks a lot. 

Sean Forster: Thanks, Megan.

JJ Koski, Senior Account Government at AppFolio

Megan: All proper. We’re actually excited to have JJ Koski on The High Ground. JJ, are you able to introduce your self and inform us about your position at AppFolio and provides us a little bit window right into a day within the life in your job?

JJ Koski: Yeah, completely. My title is JJ Koski. I’m a Senior Account Government over right here on the SMB facet for brand spanking new acquisitions, gross sales and consulting, serving to firms look in AppFolio, get began, and consider to see if that is going to be a superb match for his or her enterprise. I’ve been right here since about 2019.

Megan: That’s unbelievable. JJ, so that you’ve picked our most up-to-date episode of The High Ground. Effectively, truly, it is going to be our second most up-to-date by the point this comes out. However controlling prices, fixing for the business’s prime problem, the dialog that we had with Stacy just lately. Earlier than we dive in, are you able to share a little bit bit about why this stood out to you?

JJ Koski: Yeah, I believe lots of the occasions once I’m working with both property administration firms or simply listening to the problems that they’ve on a day-to-day foundation, lots of it comes all the way down to bandwidth. Loads of it comes down to only having the best individuals in the best spots. And lots of it was having prime expertise and in regard to protecting that expertise, making certain that individuals had been of their 4 partitions, doing their jobs one of the best they may, but in addition these individuals had been blissful. 

And Stacy’s quote when she says, “I believe it’s individuals actually getting off the hamster wheel in the course of the pandemic,” there was an enormous want for these tradespeople now too, that lots of these individuals had been like, “Hey, we’re not capable of exit and work, so we’re going to take a seat reflecting at house quite a bit.” There was an enormous want for these tradespeople, and we now have this large demand for expert tradespeople and never sufficient to fill that demand. I believe that simply resonated with me primarily as a result of I hear this on a daily foundation and it’s so true for what we hear from firms, whether or not they’re in property administration or in one other line of labor. It’s a relentless problem that I believe might be going to stare us within the face for fairly just a few years to come back.

Megan: Yeah, thanks a lot for that background. Earlier than we transfer on, I’m going to go forward and play that clip after which we are able to chat extra.

Stacy: I believe it’s individuals actually getting off the hamster wheel in the course of the pandemic. Once more, unprecedented the place every little thing, just about every little thing has shut down. And I believe lots of people took a take a look at what they had been doing after which perhaps making an attempt to do one thing completely different. I believe that’s one factor. The opposite is there have been varied help packages that got here via each federal state and native governments that allowed individuals to take pause and actually take a look at their careers and say, “Do I need to do one thing completely different?” 

And so, I believe particularly across the trades, there was lots of shift, primary. And quantity two, there’s much more demand. And what I imply by demand is, take into consideration all people who’s staying at house in the course of the pandemic. Effectively, what did they need to do? They wished to get issues fastened. They couldn’t get something fastened as a result of commerce individuals had been additionally staying at house. So as soon as every little thing began to loosen up, now we’ve this large demand for expert trades individuals and never sufficient to fill that demand.

Megan: Superior. I’d love to listen to, JJ, just a bit bit about how this has performed out for a few of the property administration firms that you just’ve talked to. Inform us extra about what you’re listening to within the conversations that you’ve with them as they run up towards this problem of staffing and likewise staffing distributors from third-party companies.

JJ Koski: Positive factor. Just about one of many first fundamental matters that we discuss with them is their crew. How are they going to be making this resolution and who’s going to be concerned, but in addition who’s that going to influence and the way is that going to have an effect on their enterprise, not simply now however sustainably for years going ahead? The worst factor we need to do is put a Band-Help on one thing and simply have a fast repair. We want to be a scalable accomplice for years to come back. making certain that this isn’t only a non permanent repair and a long-term repair is a big focus early on in our conversations.

Loads of the areas the place firms actually form of go, “Oh, maintain on, let’s actually discuss this a bit in depth” is strictly that. How does this have an effect on the individuals which can be going to be utilizing it? Then do we’ve the bandwidth to truly deliver one thing like this on board? Loads of occasions it’s being strategic and searching forward, assembly them the place they’re at and having the ability to turn into a partnership moderately than only a software program supplier and giving them one thing, a instrument to make use of and say, “Hey, have enjoyable utilizing it,” sticking with them and being precisely that, a strategic accomplice for years to come back, however doing that from the primary conversations that we’ve via the very finish of the analysis that they could have with us.

Megan: I’m interested in how this has modified over the previous couple years, particularly for the reason that COVID-19 pandemic. I believe staffing and dealing effectively might be one thing that has at all times been a prime concern in property administration firms. However the pandemic actually introduced it to the forefront another way and made it crucial to only in some instances having the ability to proceed working their enterprise. However that was three years in the past, and quite a bit has modified since then. We’re now not seeing that firms are outlined by that specific problem. I’d love to listen to your ideas on how the staffing mindset has modified over the previous couple years as we discover some form of new means ahead popping out of the pandemic.

JJ Koski: I believe what I’ve seen is folks that had been by no means property managers coming in and studying that ability set and truly doing that with leveraging not solely simply expertise however simply leveraging earlier issues that that they had recognized. It’s additionally turn into lots of, and I believe there’s lots of property administration firms on the market that may agree, individuals have taken over obligations of different job roles. There’s been quite a lot of conversations I’ve had this yr alone the place you’ve three to 4 individuals carrying 12 completely different hats. It’s actually had individuals develop and stretch and typically that’s a superb factor since you do develop as an individual, you turn into extra skillful, you’re a greater worker, extra marketable sooner or later. However on the similar time, it’s that stress degree that these individuals needed to tackle, that takes a toll on you after some time.

I simply had a dialog two weeks in the past with an organization that was preaching a really comparable sentiment there. And I bear in mind a direct quote from the CFO, “I put on 12 hats. You don’t know the way a lot worth I get again if I’ve 5 of these faraway from me.” It’s like they’re seeing it precisely as you’re saying, as extra of a possibility now. What obtained us right here could not get us there. The place can we take this in and make our enterprise simply merely higher? The place will we see this coming in as a partnership and saying, “That is going to assist our tenants with this. This helps all people right here. This provides me only a higher high quality of life.”

I imply, having a piece/life steadiness for a lot of Individuals may be very powerful, particularly within the property administration market. I hear individuals working 12-to-15-hour days on a regular basis, and even attending to only a 40-hour per week, eight hours a day job, that’s life altering for this business. I believe that the extra that realization comes about, the higher high quality of life individuals can have, the much less hats they must put on. Then once more, that instantly impacts the issue that we’re speaking about in the case of staffing, proper? Individuals will keep longer in the event that they’re extra blissful of their job, in the event that they’re much less burdened, in the event that they take pleasure in their job, if they’ve an operation system that makes it simpler for them to do their job, that’s the place you get worker happiness. That’s how you’ve worker retention. 

Megan: Effectively, nice. This has been superior, JJ. 

JJ Koski: Completely. Couldn’t agree with you extra.

Megan: As we’ve explored over the past three seasons, and as all 4 of our friends highlighted at this time, property administration success begins and ends with individuals. By specializing in significant work, investing in our expertise, and constructing optimistic crew cultures, we are able to create more room for what issues most. 

There are nonetheless so many matters we’re excited to discover inside property administration. And we’ll be again quickly with model new episodes of The High Ground within the new yr to just do that. 

Till then, I’d prefer to thank Lisa Horner, Daniel Waas, Sean Forster, and JJ Koskii for being on the present at this time. Additionally, don’t overlook to atone for different moments from The High Ground you could have missed. You may take a look at bonus content material from every interview, and different sources like our analysis reviews at

Keep tuned for extra nice conversations to come back!



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