In preparation of a talk that Eva delivered at the 2019 PPM Conference, we interviewed key industry influencers – Sadhana Smiles (CEO of Property Management, Harcourts International), Michelle Williams (Managing Director, Home Property Management), Michelle Rigg (General Manager, Rentwest Solutions) and Amy Sanderson (Head of Property Management, LJ Hooker) around the future of Property Management.
They discussed the big areas of change they believe are going to impact the industry around people, technology and outside influences.
What was really powerful was the coming together of independent agencies combined with corporate brands that share the same vision for the future of the industry.
This is a very insightful interview and really highlights the overall direction and change of the industry.
Full Interview Transcription below:
Sadhana Smiles: The most challenging thing at the moment is good people. On the one hand, we need good people who are going to be able to drive the business forward and be really open to changes that our industry is going through. On the flip side is the affordability for businesses, right? Because what’s happening at the moment is property managers’ wages are going higher and higher.
Michelle Williams: Look, I think recruitment – and everyone will agree – is the most challenging part of running any business.
Michelle Rigg: We’re looking – for now – more people that are probably a little bit more extroverted and are willing to build those customer relationships and experiences, rather than the traditional property managers being strong at their tasks and managing processes.
Amy Sanderson: Some of the challenges around recruitment are definitely around finding the right people for the role. So if we look back 20 years ago, the type of person that we employed for property management was very different.
Sadhana Smiles: Right now as an industry, we are going through more changes than ever before. It’s the fastest pace of change we have ever experienced, and one of the biggest issues that we have at the moment in our industry is that: as the pace of change gets faster and faster, the expectations on property managers is they need to learn new skills all the time. People that we’re hiring at the moment, we’ve got to make sure that they either have the skillsets that we’re looking for, that they have the mindset change, and they are able to work in a business that is moving with the pace of change and not hold it back.
Amy Sanderson: The 9-5 have sort of gone out of the window these days if you’re running a performance-based business. And what I mean by that is having a look at what key benchmarks are for specific activities, and as long as those activities are being achieved, and we’re not dealing with complaints from unhappy tenants and property owners – 9-5 shouldn’t be a thing.
Michelle Rigg: We should give more flexible work options to our team because I think nowadays people work in different ways. Somebody might be able to work long hours and a shorter week but in anything that you do, it is how we maintain that customer experience. Because as far as property management going forward, it is about the customer experience that we provide.
Amy Sanderson: If there are things that can be automated through technology, then there are also some other things that still require the human touch. That’s where outsourcing can kick in.
Michelle Rigg: More focus is on building those relationships now than the tasks because of the automation. So the automation is a combination of the change in the software programs, obviously the outsourcing that’s available, and the different structures of property management businesses now. So I think that’s number one, is where we have to focus. We’re looking at a whole different personality for property managers now.
Amy Sanderson: People are attracted by things that will simplify life. And again, that will help in the recruitment process because if we’ve got something there that will make life easier for someone, that’s pretty cool.
Michelle Williams: We have an incredibly high focus on customer service, and that’s how our business has grown organically.