Hannah Gill (the other half of the dynamic duo that makes up Gill & Hooper, assuming you read our last article, Grace’s take on nailing property management) – is our resident specialist in leadership, culture and innovation. Reigning ACT Telstra Business Women of the Year (medium and large business), Hannah’s passion is driving growth and progress in the property management space.
Bringing her unique and varied background in virtually all elements of the property management business as well as her critical insights on people management with a team of over 60 people, Hannah shares her top tips on business. Be it real estate or other, focusing on these three pillars of good business encourage sustainable growth and a positive working culture.
1. Engage your employees
There’s increasing talk around the importance of the employee experience nowadays, but what does creating a positive experience for your people actually look like? For me, it means engaging employees in three critical areas; onboarding, day-to-day flexibility and training and pathways.
When onboarding new starters, we need to focus on engaging people in a cultural sense as much as in an operational sense. For me, this means establishing and championing a culture playbook that outlines expectations around behaviours and values. When we properly engage our team in the design and implementation of the culture that they want to be a part of at work, the living of that culture and the induction of new team members becomes self-driven and self-moderated.
Equally as important as onboarding is having flexibility as a feature of your employees’ day-to-day work life. While this doesn’t necessarily mean a formal flexible working policy, ensuring your team understand there is flexibility in the way they can conduct their work; be it in relation to location or hours, builds a relationship of trust and engagement among team members.
The final point in relation to employee engagement is arguably the most important: encouraging your team to access training opportunities. Employees with an always-learning mindset are invested in their own development, which is central to a fulfilling career, regardless of the industry or field. I encourage my team to identify their niche and passion within property management and real estate and pursue education and training in that space.
2. innovate and be prepared to fail
Innovation is a popular buzzword, but to our industry it is crucial for us to not only survive, but to thrive. For the value of property management to be realised by our clients and potential clients, we need to be pushing the boundaries of what’s always been done, and testing new ways to solve our clients’ problems.
Whether it’s exploring different technology to try and alleviate pain points, streamlining or automating process or considering completely new service offerings or exploring ancillaries, we need to be constantly and consistently seeking to improve the lives of our people; our team, landlords and tenants alike.
When we think innovation, though, we have to be prepared to fail in pursuit of new approaches and a disruption of traditional ways of working. If we don’t ever fail, quite simply, we aren’t pushing the boundaries enough.
…we need to be constantly and consistently seeking to improve the lives of our people; our team, landlords and tenants alike.
If there’s one area of our business that 2020 has made sure we’re sharper than ever in, it’s our agility and our ability to respond efficiently and effectively to evolving environments.
The bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic have challenged the industry to its core, but by pivoting, innovating and keeping our people at the centre of our approach, we have responded and provided continuity of service to our clients.
The agility in our response has manifested in a variety of ways; from switching promptly to virtual inspections, enabling tenants to sign leases remotely to contactless key collections, conducting listing presentations via Zoom and pre-qualifying and approving tenants.
These steps, while individually relatively small, amount to a wholesale shift in some of the most fundamental and traditional ways the property management industry does business. I’ve thought to myself; can you imagine implementing virtual inspections prior to COVID-19, and landlords accepting the shift? Our ability to respond to unprecedented situations has necessitated positive change for the industry that we will hopefully continue to see into the future.