What pays off at the end of the marathon?

I'm a big believer in training.  I think that if you equip people with enough information and tools and send them out with the full belief that they will be successful then they WILL BE SUCCESSFUL.  To this, I get a lot of people who tell me that I'm incredibly naive, that I just haven't been doing recruiting/property management/staffing long enough to get good and jaded, or as some property managers and other staffers have called it, "Realistic."

I'm realistic.  I, deep down in my core, believe that 95% people are good and they want to excel and be successful.  I tell people that I can train almost anyone to be a fantastic leasing agent for us, but if they aren't a nice person, there's nothing I can do for them.  "If your parents failed you, there's nothing I can help you with."  So far, I would say my view is correct.

That's why I'm shifting a huge focus of what I'm doing out of our Seattle office on to Training.  Don't get me wrong here.  We train the heck out of our people already. Before they step foot on site, they've been drilled on Fair Housing, they've been taught the basics of leasing, overcoming objections, and all that good stuff, and they've been introduced to the multi family housing industry.  But, what if we taught more than just the basics?  I asked that to my mentor, Ed Goggin, the first week we were in training in LA.  He said that I should listen to what's between my ears and run with it.  As my father always said, "If you're going to make a mistake, make it big!" 

Silver level in our company is the basics to the industry, fair housing and leasing, plus a little bit extra tossed in.  I am going to experiment with teaching a gold level course.  To qualify, my temp must have been out in the field for no less than 120 hours, and must have gotten consistently good reviews from each placement.  These are my rockstar candidates so to speak.  I'm going to bring them back in for a second workshop, and I'm going to teach them the little things that add up to making you an indispensable asset to a property.  Things like a working knowledge of resident relations, resident retention, what it really means to step up that customer service, property management marketing in multiple forms, ad and copy writing, etc.  I want the best possible candidates out there to represent our company.

And here come the jaded, but legitimate... "Well... okay, BUT..."

"Why waste so much time on this?  They're just temps.  Here today, and could be gone tomorrow"

But they're here TODAY.  Today they are my people, my employees and they deserve my belief in them that they can do this job better than anyone else.  They DESERVE my time and efforts.  This is the part that a lot of staffers out there forget.  These people are not Kleenex.  They are people.  They're willing to go out there and work for YOU.  Yes, they get paid, but they are out there doing this job because you asked them to.  Don't think that just because you compensate them monetarily, that's enough.  You have to appreciate people.  You have to encourage and motivate people.  Your employees are a lot like your customers, where, as the old adage goes, if you don't take care of them, someone else will, except that, outside of that adage, in our business that person could be a competitor, or they could be one of  our clients, who then learns how we treated that person and never comes back to us again.

"If you train them on all this stuff, won't someone just hire them away?  It's a never ending cycle that way."

DUH.  That's the whole point.  I'm a midway station, and I embrace that.  I want to be the best damn midway station out there.  It makes my clients happy to have a rockstar, it makes my candidates happy to be offered jobs and have their choice of where they want to go.  I'm excited and thrilled when one of my candidates finds that permanent job.  It's the best feeling in the world, and I know that everyone wins at the end of it.  And if I keep training, then there's no end to the numbers of amazing people I can keep sending out.

"Is the initial investment worth the possible growth?"

Let's define growth.  If you're talking about my business growth, I believe it will come.  Keith Ferrazzi talks in his book "Never Eat Alone" about how success will come when you focus on making those around you successful.  If I'm sending out the best people who have more background, tools and training in the industry, of course my liquidations will be at a higher rate (NOT PRICE, but frequency) and word of mouth will spread.  Everyone knows property management professionals LOVE TO GOSSIP.  It's part of our charm.

If your talking about personal growth, I ask you this:  Is there really anything more rewarding than knowing that you made a huge difference in someone else's life?  You set them on the path of a new career.  That's huge in this world.  And look at THEIR possible personal growth.  They might have been just like me, full of a set of skills that seemed unmarketable individually and not knowing how to combine them into a really great job.  Or they might have never seen their real potential until being put in a job with new challenges everyday, opportunities to prove themselves every day, etc.  There's no limit to the growth out of this job and out of helping others.  WELL Worth the investment.

I will never stop believing that investing in people's training isn't worth the time, energy, money or effort.  I can't wait until I can prove it's right to the rest of the community out there.

Insight from an applicant on Making Lemonade

Seth's Dregs