FAA Speakers Advise Property Managers to Change It Up for More Productivity

By Erika Schnitzer, Associate EditorChampionsGate, Fla.–With the theme of this year’s Florida Apartment Association (FAA) education conference & trade show being “Celebrating Change,” the speakers at the convention discussed the need for property mangers to adjust to a new generation and, in doing so, embrace the changes that are occurring in society and thus affecting the industry.Alex Jackiw, CAPS, CPM, executive vice president of Buckingham Companies AMO, an Indianapolis-based full-service management, development and construction company, led a session entitled, “The Changing Face of Our Workforce: Four Generations Working Side by Side.” As she noted, this is the first time in history when such a large range in demographics have been in the workforce at the same point in time. As Jackiw described each generation and their different definitions of success, she explained how property managers can work with their employees’ strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, she described how best to coach and manage members of each generation. Currently, the most influential generation, as well as the demographic with the highest percentage of workers, Jackiw said, is the Boomers. Despite the age gap in the current workforce, Jackiw emphasized the importance of working together. When you’re dealing with different generations in the work environment and you don’t understand their differences, it can impact your productivity, Jackiw explains. You need to try to figure out the strengths and assets of each member of your team and play toward them.When generations fail to communicate with one another, turnover rates may increase and both tangible and intangible costs may be impacted. Additionally, Jackiw explains the importance of valuing differences and that the most successful managers are those who let every generation be heard.Another session that discussed enhancing productivity by embracing change was entitled “Marketing: Change It Up.” Christopher Higgins, founder of the “The Apartment Guy,” a firm dedicated to education for the multifamily industry, explained the importance of shifting attitudes in a recession.Change isn’t something we embrace in multifamily, but change is good, he proclaimed, using an example of the oil bust during the ‘80s and successful developments in Texas regardless of tough times. Higgins explained this was due to their willingness to adapt to the times. Companies that are not afraid to change, persevere, he said.Continuing on this notion, Higgins cautioned managers against cutting back on their marketing, explaining the significance of brochures in appealing to prospective residents and reducing the number of vacancies. He discussed a number of mistakes companies often make in designing their advertisements, including not listing prices. “You’ll get fewer phone calls, and many of the ones you do receive will not be qualified.” Additionally, he advised managers to think outside the box and use slogans that truly describe their properties, rather than the tired, overused taglines that are seemingly ubiquitous like “(your city’s)…Most Lust Luxurious,” “Welcome Home,” “Resort-Style Living” or “Expect to be Impressed.”“When we have times that are troubling, you need to make sure you do things well,” Higgins said. In tough times, the properties who try new things and experiment are the ones who make it, he added.