Hoard Your Gold: Cultivate a Workplace That Attracts and Sustains the Best and the Brightest-An Asset No Company Can Afford to Lose

By Powell, Gene | Journal of Property Management, May-June 2004 | Go to article overview

Hoard Your Gold: Cultivate a Workplace That Attracts and Sustains the Best and the Brightest-An Asset No Company Can Afford to Lose


Powell, Gene, Journal of Property Management


The most important talent a manager can have is the ability to hire the best people. To capitalize on this, it is imperative you create an environment where employees stay and thrive, building your company's greatest asset--its people (the "gold").

Statistics show many companies experience a 50 percent annual employee turnover rate and it can cost more than two years' salary to replace an employee. These numbers are not indicative of an industry protecting its gold. To further exacerbate the problem, the vast majority of employees report the reason they leave a company is not compensation, but management. These failures are related to personality or attitude problems rather than job ability in 85 percent of cases.

Let's attack this problem. Foremost is hiring the right person. Not an easy task considering most property managers have had very little training and learn through trial and error, which is an expensive and inefficient method. All people who hire should take a course (not a seminar) in how to select the right person. Once you have the right person you need to understand their hierarchy of needs so that you retain satisfied, productive and loyal employees.

Nurture the New Hire

New employees go through three stages of adjustment and should be supported along the way to ensure they feel they are working for the right employer.

Anticipation

Many employee job expectations are based on hopes and fears, not necessarily facts. To minimize the initial anxieties, the supervisor should meet with new hires and discuss any questions they have prior to starting work. The following items should be addressed:

1 What do you expect? Why?

2 Where would you like to be in three years?

3 How do we get you there?

4 What three things are you worried about in this job?

5 If you had serious difficulties what would you do?

Knowing what the person expects from the job and understanding their needs sets up a success scenario. There should also be a training program for each new employee. The "old sink or swim" method allows for too many drownings. The amount of training will vary depending upon the individual's experience.

Reality

If new employees feel secure, important and accepted, they will probably become long-term, productive workers. To achieve this, establish a support system. Here are some of the dos and don'ts to follow:

1 Don't start them working without meaningful tasks.

2 Don't over-supervise--it's degrading.

3 Don't smother the employee--too much, too soon.

4 Don't allow them to be "sabotaged." All employees experience this to some degree. The best antidote is to bestow praise in front of others.

5 Do make sure they have the responsibility and authority that goes with the job.

6 Do show you care. Ask if they are finding things as they anticipated.

7 Do keep regular contact. This provides security.

8 Do invite participation by asking for opinions, recommendations and observations.

9 Do explain reasons for decisions.

10 Do bestow recognition.

11 Do give people the right to be wrong. If they make a mistake it has to be acknowledged. When growing and learning, employees will make mistakes.

12 Do learn to criticize without threatening. Threatened people are more concerned about their emotional safety than the subject being discussed. Begin criticism with praise and differentiate between critical and annoying. For example, if a person is late for meetings, you might say, "You would be even more successful if you got to meetings on time."

13 Do set up a mentoring system. Look for feedback and always provide open communications.

Decision

The third phase the employee goes through is making a decision:

1 I like this job, and I will stay. …

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