The Key to Satisfactory Results, Inspect What You Expect

Assignments are given.  Training is provided.   No one reports any deiciencies at the end of the day. No one reports work orders have not been completed.  The turnover prep scheduled to be complete, isn’t quite finished. The manager and supervisors end the day with the perception that all scheduled work is complete.  The disconnected mindset continues on the parallel, railroad track thinking:

  • Management; “No One Reported Anything Wrong.”
  • Maintenance/Administrative Team, “Whew, they didn’t ask about the project so I didn’t have to acknowledge that it wasn’t completed.  Hopefully, I’ll get it done tomorrow. “

The perpetuating philosophy if no one reports a problem, everything must be okay, has undermined many workplaces.

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Ask any team member, why didn’t we know this wasn’t done?  “No one asked” will be the hesitant reply.

For projects not completed in the day they are assigned, the hopeful environment exists, “oh I’ll finish this task tomorrow.”

Arriving the next day,  at the property they are greeted with a new stack of work orders and assignments for the day.  The unfinished task from the previous day is lost in the flow of the New TO DO List.

The Weak Link

Any chain is only as strong as its weakest link.   Without establishing a check and balance to inspect work that’s completed, a link in the management chain is weakened. There is a select percentage of the work force striving to finish all work assigned, or asking the question, “is this expected to be completed today?”  Lack of communication regarding assigned work and future assignments results in a lack of understanding toward the big picture.  Realizing how each project contributes toward the property’s goals.

If supervisors initiated an end of the day check in, ”

  • was  everything completed?
  • Were there any problems?
  •  Do we need to finish any details with this assignment tomorrow?”

Even with this follow up at the end of the day, or the beginning on a new day, the need to randomly inspect the work product is necessary.  With new employees, checking procedure and progress insures satisfaction with the end result, this is part of the training structure as well as quality control.
imageSo, a little time is scheduled at the end of the day, or possibly the suggestion is offered “before you leave the apartment why don’t you give me a call and we’ll take  a lot at the work that has been completed.”  Or for the administrative team, “when you have the lease documents prepared let’s review,them to  make sure you understand each one and they are prepared correctly.”

Inspect Often

Time must be scheduled every week, if not daily to inspect work product.  The lack of inspection will create an impression that there is no expectation for the end product.  It is not a matter of trust in the people that work on the team, if the work is assigned it should be inspected.  Residents are asked for their feedback on work orders, so this provides the confirmation and satisfaction of the service provided.  In the multi-family industry, the remaining work involves care of common areas and apartment turnover preparation for maintenance.  Spot checking lease preparation and listening to leasing calls gives insight into the management team.

The woes and frustration of scheduling a move in, then being faced with a mad rush to finish an apartment that was reported to be ready, because it doesn’t meet standards.  is only partially a fault of the maintenance or housekeeping team.  Timely response of incomplete work will prevent the same short comings in the work completed in the subsequent apartments assigned for completion.

Too many supervisors experience failures by reporting work as complete, because they were told it was finished.  In cases, where the weekly recap happens via phone or email; the question of “is this task complete?”  will almost certainly be answered in the affirmative.  Possibly the task is complete, but more likely, the mental note is being made to get this assignment completed.  Unfortunately, the commitment to complete, will probably be forgotten before the phone call is ended.

Open Ended Questions

Asking open ended questions, might offer a better evaluation of the status of the repair.  Attaching a picture if the work in a vacant can’t be inspected until a later date or assigning another team member to inspect will confirm the completion of the work.  When team members know that others will be checking the work generally creates a stronger commitment to a quality result.

Recognition of the inspection and satisfactory results, creates pride in the ownership of the effort.  Inspect what you expect will set the standard for dependable results.

Lori Hammond
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2 thoughts on “The Key to Satisfactory Results, Inspect What You Expect

  1. Good stuff in here, but I want to take it a step further. We left out a key piece about the importance of managers checking work; it’s not just about the completion of the work being done, it’s showing to the resident that we care.

    If a resident has an issue with a major appliance, or a roof leak or any other higher priority item, how can we speak to the resident with any real knowledge of the situation, if we aren’t going to their home ourselves? At the end of the day, taking 5 minutes to walk an apartment with a resident to understand their frustration goes along way, and that kind of care helps us retain residents. So basically 5 minutes spent on showing we care, means hours of less work down the line having to turn a unit and rent a vacant apartment.