In 2008, Andrew Propst had the opportunity to take on a struggling company and help it grow from 200 doors to now having 4,000 doors today. However, growth is easy but managing growth is hard. There are a lot of ways to work on growth but once that growth happens, that’s when reality sets in. The current economy is great (wages are on the rise, our workforce is young, etc.) but as a result employees aren’t loyal because unemployment is low and they are frequently experiencing burnout.
Why does this burnout happen? A Gallup Poll states that only 29% of people are engaged when they go to work every day. That is a huge problem! So why don’t we do anything about it? It takes time and it’s not a priority. Andrew’s session covers how you can make your employees a priority which will lead to higher satisfaction, higher sales, higher profit, etc.
To master company engagement, you need to define the company culture. If you don’t have it defined the lowest common denominator becomes the definition. For this reason, culture is not just an important thing – it’s the only thing that matters.
How does Andrew define his culture?
His employees memorize the company’s statements
- Purpose Statement
- Value Statement
- Mission Statement
- Vision Statement
These are repeated at all the morning meetings to encourage engagement every day. Participation is easy if everyone can buy in to the statements.
Important things when building a world class culture – Buying Suits!
At one time, Andrew just bought whatever suit fit. As he got older, he realized it was how many suits you had but the quality of suits you had. Andrew found the better the suit fit, the more he wore it. What does this mean?
The best and worst decisions of Andrew’s career came down to this:
- Who he hired
- Who he fired
If these are the best and worst decisions, it’s definitely investing the time in your employees.
Staffing needs: Come to a point in the spring/ summer that you feel like you need to hire more people.
Budget is a great planning tool to help you meet your goals
Most of the time it’s easy to grow your business – it’s just hard to manage it.
- A solid hiring procedure is key
- Instead of a job description, create a “scorecard” to let people know the specifics you are looking for in a candidate.
- Group Interviews
- Try to get 12-15 people coming in a week to do a group interview.
- The interview questions are more about culture than their skills.
- Figure out a way to get the candidates out of their interview element.
- Get specific with your questions and find the proof
“You are organized? Great, how do you do that?”
- Do your research!
Dive into social media sites, Google, etc. and find something factual about the candidate. Then, throw this fact out early in the interview so they will be truthful. They don’t know exactly what you know about them, so they won’t want to risk it.
The best thing you can do for my employees is surround them with great employees. Drama levels die down and problems go away if you have a first rate staff.
Cultivation of Culture
- Day 1: onboard them and make it great.
- Fun video to start the day
- Give them a great introduction: roles, goals, lunch.
- Start their work schedule. Andrew’s company includes a work schedule that goes for 40 years. Confirms they have made a good decision
- Start people on Friday and Fire on Monday
- Fridays are the best day of the week and Mondays are the worst. Plus, Mondays give someone more time to look for a job.
It’s been shown that if you incentivize for problems that require more thought, rewards do more damage than good. So, when do you incentivize:
- When tasks are simple
- When there is a narrow focus to the task
How do you motivate for the more complicated tasks – Intrinsic rewards:
- Healthy work relationship
- Meaningful purpose: have a clear why.
- Competence: always train your people
- Progress: facilitate your employees ability to make head way.
Providing your employees with honest, direct, factual feedback is key!
Things to track:
- Workflow, peer to peer review, listen to phone calls, checking project completes, etc.
These areas help you avoid drama because you have the proof to back up critiques.
- Daily huddle
- Go over kudos and issues
- Daily survey on how was their day
- Tracks the moral. A question as simple as “How was your day? Rank 1-5” can tell you a lot.
- Plus 1 Card: a card given to someone that goes above and beyond the company’s service standard. This gives them recognition during the daily huddle and can be turned into “cash” at the company store!
- Failure to recognize performance
- Failure to deal with performance problems
- Unfair treatment
- Unnecessary policies
- Fostering an unhealthy work climate
- Poor feedback
- 15five.com: 15 questions that takes 5 minutes to complete. Through anonymous feedback, this survey helps build engagement with your employees.
- Tiny Pulse: automatically sends your employees one random question on a weekly basis that will compare how your employees respond vs. other companies.
- LeadSimple: great way to track your employees and their engagement. Also helps you document and set reminders to engage.
Firing – When it all goes bad you have to protect your culture:
- Hire slow, Fire Fast
- Review your employees: if you knew what you know now, when you hire them – would you still hire them? If not, fire them!
- Top reason for management failure is the inability to council or replace underperforming employees for fear of hurting feelings.
At the end of the day, this is a very High touch, high relationship industry. The relationships you have with your employees, customers, etc. are the most important part of your culture.
If you set aside time (even 1 to 2 hours a week) to help engage your employees, they are going to stick around. If you take care of them, they will always take care you.
About Andy Propst:
About Andrew Propst: Andy is the CEO of HomeRiver Group and Founder of Park Place Property Management (CRMC®), which manages over 3,500 properties in Boise, Idaho .
Industry knowledge and a keen focus on technology has been a major priority for Andy. He has obtained three of the leading industry designations: Certified Property Manager® (CPM®) from the Institute of Real Estate Management, Master Property Manager ® (MPM®) and Residential Management Professional ® (RMP®), both from the National Association of Residential Property Managers ®. Andy is currently a Candidate for the designation of Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM®) from the CCIM Institute.
Volunteerism has been a major focus for Andy, from service on the National Board of Directors of NARPM® for six years as a Regional Vice President, to National Treasurer, National President-Elect, and then his election as President of NARPM® in 2015. Currently, Andy serves as immediate Past President for NARPM® and continues to offer ongoing counsel and insight to the Board of Directors of NARPM®, using his extensive knowledge and experience within the industry.