Guarantee success in 2014 - Block Management

2014 is now well under way and a confidence is returning to the world of business. With a healthy pipeline of residential developments being delivered over the next 10 years how are property management companies going to win and retain all of this new business?

No doubt a lot of excited and optimistic business leaders are planning their strategies as we speak and the more efficient have already begun rolling out their ideas. Sadly one area that can be overlooked or lack investment, is the people within the company. From my unique macro perspective of the industry I have concluded that there is an pattern with the attitudes towards staff and recruitment that reflects in the experience of the tenants, clients or RMC directors.

I’ll start with the CEO of a growing national company that has a strong foothold in London. An award winning business with a great reputation amongst its peers. When I asked about the structure of their PM team I was told that they always have one more PM than required, why? To ensure new business can be managed with immediate effect, if someone was to leave or go sick, the additional work load can be shared, to allow more time for staff studying for IRPM examinations. I am not saying that this investment in staff is the only factor of this business’s success, but is it philosophies like this that add to their award winning service delivery?

Not convinced?

At the other end of the scale you have businesses that invest very little spend into recruitment, offer no IRPM study support for their staff, employees are spread thin and stressed by the amount of blocks they have to manage and the lack of support in their office environment. We all know companies like these, I am sure a lot of you have taken blocks over from some of these businesses and possibly even some of their under appreciated staff. You may have had the unfortunate task of being employed at one of these buisnesses and – even more unfortunately you may still be within an organisation like this (Call me!).

I believe that fundamentally the difference between these two organisations is their differing ideals and how they invest in their people, this investment ultimately reflects in the end user experience. What I’m telling you isn’t ground breaking or new it is simply pointing out the obvious from the information that I have gathered. People won’t stay at a company who offer little support, lack of training, no culture.

Let me give you another example.

Earlier this year I eagerly agreed to became a supplier to a national property company. Over a six month period I would be given over 10 positions in London to recruit for. What seemed like a great opportunity turned out to be a nightmare, the packages were under market rate and I was denied access to the hiring managers to consult with. The lack of proactivity to progress a good candidate to interview or to then be very slow on returning feedback cost that company 3 excellent candidates in just one month!

On one occasion when I tried to advise I was given the following statement “well if we lose them, we lose them! we will just have to recruit again.” Jaw dropping, I know. Prompltly after that comment I made the decision to take my business elsewhere. Oh and did I mention; this business is now rapidly losing its market share in prime central London? Again the philosophy of not investing money and time in your employees usually coincides with a business delivering poor service.

To put this in comparison I was working with an SME business and I was given three roles; I had access to the descion makers who did their utmost to ensure I understood their business and culture. They put flexibility in the packages meaning I could network with more established candidate talent and they took advice on managing the candidates their individual motivations. This resulted in three successful placements that I know will not only benefit the employer but also the employees. You only have to look at their share price to see how well they are doing.

Let me address the elephant in the room. I am a recruitment consultant (I hear you groan) so I was always going to write about the benefits of investing in people wasn’t I?! A lot of people will read this as no more than a sales pitch and that’s fine – but there will be people who are able to relate to these experiences. In an industry that is becoming more competitive than ever senior managers are going to have to question whether an antiquated approach to its staffing is still relevant in a dynamic market. There are some new and very exciting players entering London, and they are ready to profit from the mistakes of these companies. The question is how will you invest in your most important asset in 2014 to compete?

Stuart Jackson, Principal Consultant, The Technical Recruitment Company,