For most multifamily properties, maintenance is a pillar for long-term success. Proper maintenance will positively affect nearly everyone’s experience with your community. Most apartment reviews—positive or negative—center around management and maintenance, especially the timeliness, effectiveness, and emotional impression of each interaction. Reputation management relies on positive experiences at each touchpoint. So, to improve your reputation and ensure long-term success, creating a great work environment for the maintenance staff on your property should be a top priority.
1. Invite Feedback and Opinions
The maintenance staff knows more than you do about maintenance. This is just a fact. Firsthand experiences allow them to have so much more insight into their responsibilities than anyone else. Just like only you know what you go through at your job every day, recognizing this perspective is the first step of empowering your staff to take ownership of their roles and be proud of their work. This experience also means they will see the flaws and inefficiencies of each job first—your staff knows where procedures are necessary and where the process only slows down productivity. They can see where you are over- and under-staffed and how to make improvements. So, to show appreciation for your staff, they must feel they have control and that their voice matters. Since they understand what each job needs best, communication of these needs is how you can make sure your property and residents are being well taken care of while showing your trust in your maintenance team.
2. Show Empathy
Your maintenance staff has contacts in all aspects of your property, which means their happiness will influence all aspects of the property. While it may seem like a behind-the-scenes type of job, paying attention to this department will make a noticeable difference. Providing reasonable work hours, providing growth opportunities, and listening to their needs will make all the difference in the health and happiness of your business. Every act of empathy builds trust. And trusting your maintenance team is imperative to creating smooth and efficient procedures that maximize your business while appreciating those who make it run. It can be as small as asking them how their day is going, or as big as asking them to give you honest feedback on your community’s opportunities.
3. Celebrate the Small Victories
Show them you care about their careers outside of a simple checklist; give them space and resources to grow and improve and watch them take ownership of their work. It is important to make them feel seen and heard on a personal level as well so you can know when to push them and when to back off. Remember: managing people also means understanding how their personal lives affect their professional lives. Finally, set attainable goals and make sure to celebrate when they are completed. A little recognition can go a long way towards establishing a great work environment and encouraging great outcomes.
4. Be Transparent
Transparency is another great way to build trust. You can do this easily by sharing upcoming plans, including changes and goals, that are relevant to your staff. These plans often offer the chance to give clear expectations. When your maintenance staff knows exactly what you expect from them, you can trust them to fulfill these expectations because there is no room for guessing or doubt. Transparency also shows respect for your staff and is another opportunity to foster ownership. Each of these things helps establish a two-way street for communication that builds mutual trust and respect which are key ingredients for proper appreciation.
5. Develop a Personal Relationship
Your maintenance staff are people too. You should try to get to know at least one thing about each employee that makes them feel noticed and appreciated for their contributions. This can be anything from their favorite movie or their favorite foods to the names of their family members or pets. Let them know they are valued beyond their work and that their presence is meaningful to the team. Another way to build this relationship is to be an approachable and helpful resource. Being available and open to communicating through issues, needs and observations is a great way to let your team know you are advocating for them and are committed to their best interests. Each of these methods will help you understand their individual needs in order to foster a great work environment and show just how much you appreciate your maintenance team.
Looking to expand your maintenance team or even just for an extra set of hands to help out? Call BG Multifamily or BG Talent to book in your temporary or direct hire maintenance help!