Its Not Slow if the Completion Date is a Secret, Communicating Expectations

imageIt’s the end of the work week, the maintenance supervisor reports to the property manager, “the new guy isn’t going to make it. He’s too slow! It took him three days to paint an apartment.”

The pace for the maintenance workflow is critical. Repairs must be timely, a customer guarantee usually insures most service requests will be completed in 24 hours. The apartment turnover process needs to be completed in three to five days. Emergencies are often lurking in the shadows to create havoc with the maintenance schedule.

Training and communication with new employees is essential for them to develop the work performance skills required in the multi-family industry. Partnering with a mentor can demonstrate “how -to’s” and set the pace;

“since there are two of us, we’ll get this apartment painted in four or five hours, if you’re working by yourself a one bedroom apartment will probably take between six to eight hours to paint.”

imageWith this information the new employee clearly knows the work schedule and pace for the current day, as well as what will be expected when he’s working independently. So much clearer, than…”new guy, we’ll start you out painting this one bedroom.”

Mentoring the training for a new employee offers an example of how to organize a task, how much time it should take and the appearance of the finished product.

The selection process for maintenance staffing can be challenging. This is the opportunity to determine if the individual can work with schedules and completion dates. Unless the candidate has a year or two of multifamily experience, most interview questions attempt to determine if the individual possess basic handyman, general construction or home maintenance skills. The time component is critical and not easily identified in an interview.

imageThe team meeting is the best time to outline the work expectations for the upcoming week. Potential move in appointments, preventive maintenance service appointments and who will be responding to the service requests that are received each day. The previous week can be reviewed for work that was completed and any miscellaneous details that should be added to the current work week agenda. Feedback and commitment from the staff will confirm the completion dates.

-how much additional time is needed to complete Apartment A?
-are additional supplies needed to complete Apartment B?
-Based on the move out inspection in Apartment C, does carpet need to be ordered?

Knowing the potential move in information, supporting pride and ownership in the completion of work orders in 24 hours with 100% resident satisfaction will assist the maintenance team in establishing a work pace to meet the demanding schedule for move ins. Without an understanding of the workflow, an individual is only focusing on the current task and wondering about the next assignment.

Lori Hammond
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