How to Retain Good Employees

Employee retention is something many if not most business leaders think about on a regular basis. Your employees are your most valuable asset, and the ones who perform at the highest levels are among those you hope to keep around for a long time. Too often, an employee, whether or not he or she feels undervalued, will jump at a great offer from another company, or worse, a competitor.

There are some things you, as a leader, can do to keep your most prized employees happy at work and prevent them from jumping ship. First and foremost, let them know on a regular basis how much you value and appreciate their contributions to the company’s success. There’s an old saying about praising publicly and criticizing privately. It’s true.

While it’s good to tell your employees how much they matter in a one-on-one conversation, it’s a real boost to an individual’s self esteem to do so in a way that involves recognition. Some companies have an employee of the month program that accomplishes this. Make sure they understand that you know what they’re doing and how much you appreciate it.

Another thing that leads to employee satisfaction is having the latitude to do their jobs in an autonomous way. Far too many leaders, especially middle managers, haven’t figured out yet that micromanagement isn’t a good thing. If your employees realize that you trust them to make certain decisions on their own, it’s likely that that trust will go a long way in creating a happy workforce.

In today’s workplace as well as in the marketplace at large, good ideas are currency. Encourage your employees to contribute their ideas for products, services, processes, and more. You might have someone who’s a creative thinker in a non-creative position who would love the opportunity to suggest something new, innovative or disruptive. Create a mechanism for fostering these kinds of ideas and really listen to and consider them. When you take an employee’s suggestion, act on it and a positive result occurs, that employee will feel extremely valuable.

Provide training and educational opportunities. Many people are attracted to the idea of broadening their skill set, and there are many ways to allow them to do that. Seminars, webinars, workshops, classes, and other forums can help people improve their existing skills and develop new ones. In many cases, the cost is minimal or even free. This is a great way to invest in employee retention.

Investing in good employee benefits can provide a major factor in retaining staff. Look around at the options that exist and explore ways to create a benefits package that addresses the needs of workforce members. Yes, there are costs involved, but making this investment upfront might be less expensive than hiring and training new employees when one or more decide to leave.

Finally, create a welcoming, collaborative culture that makes employees look forward to going to work every day. Find ways to ensure that employees will be satisfied with their work and with the company. Promote your culture and create desire to be a part of it. If your company really lives its culture, it’s a good bet that employees will want to stay for the long haul.

How Leaders Make Difficult Decisions

One of the key traits of any business leader is the ability to make smart decisions and stick with them. While some decisions are relatively easy to make, others can mean the difference between success and failure or profit and loss. Then, once you make your decision, you have to stand by it and sometimes justify it if it’s not popular.

For example, a decision to enter into a merger agreement with another business entity can sometimes have a profound impact on company culture or lead to changes in familiar work styles or processes. This actually occurs all the time in the corporate world. If employees are resistant to change, you might need to invest considerable time and even resources to explain how it affects them. and even retrain them to work within a new system.

Here are a few things business leaders need to do when faced with a difficult decision.

Consider the possible/likely outcomes

Think about everyone who will be impacted by your decision and how it will affect the company. Also, consider how necessary the decision is and what other options might exist. Assess what risks might be involved and how your decision might affect company finances. As you look down the road, ask yourself how things are likely to be different or better as a result of what you decide, and what you might have to do to “sell” your decision to various stakeholders, including management, employees, board members, customers, and others.

Weigh the options

You’ve heard this a million times before, but it works. Get out a sheet of paper and draw a line down the center. Write the pros related to your impending decision on the left side and the cons on the right. Take the time to list all possible benefits and any liabilities. Sometimes when you see the information laid out in front of you in this way it helps you to thoughtfully consider all the ramifications in a thoughtful and thorough manner.

Talk with people you trust

Sit down with your senior management team and ask them to help you. Talk with them about the pros and cons, and discuss each in depth to ensure that you’re covering all the possibilities. Call your mentor, if you have one. Seek the advice of people who have been in similar situations and ask them how they dealt with them. While the decision is ultimately yours, it helps greatly to seek counsel and wisdom from others who can provide intelligent and even empathetic input. Also: sometimes, selected employees can be good sounding boards. If there are people within your organization who you believe can offer sound feedback, don’t hesitate to float your situation with them. Especially if they’re not managers, they might be able to provide excellent input from their point of view.

Make your decision and be prepared to stick with it

You’ve thought about the decision at length, examined all the factors that relate to it. Now, make your decision. Once this has been accomplished, you’ll need to stick with it, explain your reasons when asked and do what you need to do to move forward.

If your decision was a necessary but potentially unpopular one — for example, one that might lead to layoffs, a company name change, an impact on your stakeholders, a change in leadership, changes in board makeup, or something else, you might need to publicly defend your decision and explain to one or even several constituencies the long-term benefits the company will enjoy as a result of your decision. Do it. This is one of the things that demonstrates strength in a leader: accountability.

Renting and Pets: Tips for Making Your Properties Animal Friendly

Tenants who own pets oftentimes have difficulty finding a landlord or property manager who will rent to them because of strict no-pet policies, and that’s ok.  However, owners who who add a pet amendment to their lease agreement see it as a chance to appeal to a broader tenant pool and a reduced tenant turnover rate. 

With more millennials delaying having a family until they are well into their 30s, the younger population is likely to turn to pet ownership as an alternative.  Landlords who do manage pet-friendly properties can benefit from a detailed pet addendum. This agreement can reduce risk of damage and make tenants responsible for their pet. Under the agreement, tenants must also provide a pet deposit equal to one months rent and agree to reimburse the landlord or property manager in the event pet-related damage occurs to the property.

If you’re considering offering your rental to pet owners, here are a few useful tips for making your properties animal friendly in order to prevent damage.  

Encourage tenants with pets to choose units with vinyl flooring

If you do ultimately decide to offer spaces to pet owners, try to avoid renting apartments that contain carpeting.  Vinyl flooring is an affordable alternative and is extremely pet-friendly.  Because vinyl planks are pieced together by a waterproof sealant, pet urine and odors are less likely to be trapped in the floor, making clean up much easier.

Establish pet friendly areas on the property

Similar to parks and public areas, it is best to designate pet-friendly areas where dogs can play and do their business on site.  One of our My Place Realty properties has established a 4th Floor -”Woof Top Patio” for tenants and their family pets.  This is also a great way to encourage tenants to meet and get to know the other animal owners living at the same property. 

Conduct a pre-screening

By working with pet owners before they sign the lease, you can prevent most animal-related issues. Write terms that require pets with aggressive dispositions will not be permitted. Some landlords or property owners may only allow pets that are spayed or neutered or weigh less than 40 pounds. We recommend meeting the pet before the lease is signed.

Require a professional cleaning 

In the lease agreement with your tenant, be sure to require that a professional cleaning service will be completed to the rental upon move out.

Weigh out the pros and cons of allowing tenants with pets to sign a lease with your property.  Naturally, with pets come more responsibilities, but if you do your due diligence during the pre-screening process, the financial advantages are there as well.

Why Respect Should Be Your Number-One Mission In Business

So much goes into having a successful business. Hard work, passion, and staying ahead of trends are all important factors. But if there is one thing I have learned, having respect for your team and your clients rises above them all.

Respect is one of the core values at My Place Realty. We all strive to “caring and treating others with dignity and respect and value individual differences and contributions.” It sounds simple, but showing respect for every team member goes a long way towards a productive and happy workplace.

Let’s break that statement down. First, you have to be caring. That means treating your team members and others like people, not like numbers. People have feelings, people make mistakes, and you have to recognize that. Approach every situation like the person is your best friend.

Next, treat others with dignity and respect. Value every single person who you work with, no matter their role. Never treat anyone like they are “below” you. Everyone is worthy of your kindness, so avoid looking at people in a hierarchical way.

It’s also important to embrace people’s differences. Every member of your team will have different strengths, so play to them. Your team will be more productive and feel more satisfied because they are praised for what they are good at rather than cut down for their weaknesses.

In the same vein, don’t brush off anyone’s contributions, no matter how small. That is the easiest way to ensure that person will never voice their opinion again. Team members’ contributions will even out in the end. Because everyone has different things they are good at, some will shine during certain projects and others on other tasks.

In business, respect is for more than your team. Behaving respectfully with clients is essential. Building rapport with your community helps you earn the trust of potential customers. If you show you truly care about them and their distinct lifestyle, your business is sure to gain a good reputation.

One great way to build that trust is to volunteer in your community. It helps you build personal relationships with community members and show them that you aren’t just there for their business, but because you really care about their well-being. Some of my favorite charities to support are Lighthouse Mission, Manitoba Mutts and the Canadian Cancer Society.

My number-one way to show respect to everyone I work with is committing to transparent communication. Whether I’m speaking to a business contact or a member of my team, I always try my best to be open and honest with them. I celebrate my victories and own up to my mistakes. Active listening is also a big part of the process. This lets people I work with trust me, which is invaluable in business and in life.

Building a one-team mentality in the workplace

The most effective teams are able to work together seamlessly to successfully execute projects. Teams like these are often built around the same, positive attitude. In turn, it is up to the leadership of the organization to establish a work environment that helps cultivate a positive, constructive, one-team mentality.

With over 20 years of professional management experience, I’m proud to have helped develop effective teams for a range of companies I’ve worked at.

Building a one-team mentality, in my view, is also incredibly important to the success of My Place Realty.

Over the past several years, our teams at My Place Realty have developed strategies to promote better understanding and communication and, in short, to help achieve goals as a cohesive unit.

Here are some key tips to helping your staff build up their one-team perspective.

1. Understanding: Help your team share ideas and experiences to enhance their connection and trust. Team-building activities help members connect and cultivate understanding among each other.

2. Set goals: while it is primarily the responsibility of management to set goals for the company, when it comes to goal setting it is important that team members contribute ideas. This not only helps them feel appreciated, but it also gives them a sense of responsibility towards accomplishing the goals.

3. Incentives: have a plan to reward teams who work hard, contribute and produce quality work. Rather than offer members individual incentives, provide group rewards for productivity. This will help build a one-team mentality among members.

4. Collaboration: Assign team members work or duties that involve them working together. Any tasks that need to be carried out should be done in pairs or groups.

5. Be a team player: management and leadership should not consider themselves above working with their teams. Demonstrate the type of commitment and one-team mentality you would like to see in your employees. It is also crucial that each team member feels like they are able to approach leaders in the company. Welcome feedback from employees and act on any positive changes they recommend.

6. Independence: While management should stay in touch with teams, leaders should refrain from micro-managing projects. By giving members independence over how they develop the project together you will strengthen their one-team attitudes. If leaders allow teams to find their own collaboration techniques it will enhance their ability to work together.

Building a successful team mentality in a workplace can help create a positive atmosphere in any company. Creating an environment where feedback and the sharing of ideas are welcomed and developing relationships among members are promoted can help employees cultivate a one-team mentality.

 

My Values and the Core Mission Statements of My Place Realty

At My Place Realty (MPR), our property management company, we have four simple but important core values or goals that we strive to achieve. These include respect, accountability, forward thinking and one team mentality.

Over the course of my career, I have sought to live by these four values and put them into practice in both my professional and personal life.

Respect

As a manager with over twenty years of professional experience, I have practiced the art of good management and team building, particularly during my time training, leading and setting up a team of professionals to take over the Barbados operations of Global Drug Supply.

All of the companies that I have run over my career, I have focused on giving the employees job stability and stable career. We have also taken our social responsibility seriously, striving to give back to a variety of charities and help improve the lives of others in our communities.

Moreover, my experience in Barbados taught me about culture differences and how to respect one another in the workplace. I have also further developed my talents in human resources, customer service, business operations, procurement, data processing, as well as business development and finance.

However, what I have enjoyed most is coaching and the development of my team. Teaching others how to accomplish a job well done and to ensure the environment is with respect and collaboration.

Accountability

I am very proud to be the vice president of My Place Realty, a company that strives to provide quality homes to our tenants. We currently have over 1,400 apartment units in Winnipeg and make it a point of helping our clients find spaces they are happy to call home.

During my studies at the University of Manitoba, this was were I was able to build up a stronger work ethic. My investment paid off when I was able to graduate with honours in 1996 and earn my Bachelor of Commerce degree.

I believe that learning never stops and that it should be a lifelong pursuit. Because of that I am always looking for new ways to enhance my skills and abilities. I have done so through coaching sessions, self-development seminars and more. Thanks to these training opportunities I have been able to build upon my capabilities and talents.

Forward Thinking

I have previously noted that as technology advances, it helps us to serve our tenants and clients better, particularly with communication. Now our clients are able to contact us from our website, by email, messaging apps or texts. These lines of communication are available 24 hours a day, so whenever an emergency comes up, we are able to provide better and more timely service.

As for our buildings, we enjoy implementing technology that makes them feel more secure and helps them run better. For example, door entry, camera and alarm systems and smart cards in our laundry rooms.

At My Place Realty, we are always looking for ways to improve our buildings and to be on the forefront of the industry.

One Team

From my experience, creating a team of members who truly recognize the strengths of each other and work together to achieve our common goals is imperative to success in any business undertaking, regardless of the industry or market. At My Place Realty, we work hard to create a cohesive team that not only works well with each other, but works and believes in our central mission statement: matching quality multi-family homes with tenants.