EDITOR’S NOTE: Risk Management

By Teresa O’Dea Hein, Managing EditorChances are, when you’re in Las Vegas–like I am now, at a conference, I swear!–risk seems like a good thing. Slot machines promise the chance of an easy pay-out (but not for me so far). However, in the real world, risk has a more worrisome meaning, especially these days.Knowledge is the best way to manage risk, and there are many ways to stay up to date on the latest tools and techniques to do so. Pinnacle’s Chief Administrative Officer Ed Wolff reports that his company uses assessment tools in the hiring process. “You can’t teach passion and a sense of urgency, so the assessment tools help us focus on that,” Wolff told a seminar audience at the 2008 MFE conference, now being held at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. Wolff and other panel members also note they network and look for people from retail, restaurant and hospitality operations because “they ‘get’ customer service.”Likewise, since Bozzuto Management Co. only wants to hire people who want to grow, according to President Julie Smith, “We’ve been using behavioral tools for years.” Furthermore, Smith adds, “You do need young recruiters and young trainers–they are good multi-taskers and enjoy using social networking tools.”College interns are also a good way to mitigate the risk of finding new employees. Both Smith and Cindy Clare, president of Kettler Management, are big advocates of employing college interns in property management operations. They’ve ended up hiring a number of summer interns after they saw how well they performed on the job.Please email me (thein@multi-housingnews.com) about what your company is doing to deal with risk. What is working best for you? What advice would you share with other property management executives?