by Adriana Soto-Campos / Published April 2015
People are incredibly critical to the success of any business, but even more so in service industries such as property management. The ability to attract and retain employees can be directly tied to the success of a business. At Castle Group, our team members are provided an opportunity to seek personal growth through our Castle Career Plan (CCP) initiative. This plan helps each team member chart the roadmap of his/her career—where he/she is today, where he/she would like to go, and what skills he/she needs to get there.
The screening process assists in identifying those candidates that fit Castle’s culture and possess the skills to perform the duties of the job. Property manager candidates go through a series of screenings and testing. Once the manager joins the Castle Family, they complete a property manager training program. It is a strongly held belief that training is essential for the employees’ development, which in turn contributes to the company’s growth and success.
Carmen Rodriguez, Castle Group’s Selection Manager, receives 50–75 applications every week. The candidates that meet the qualifications for the position are selected for a preliminary interview at the home office or via Skype. These candidates are also tested on skills such as computer literacy, writing, and communication. A personality assessment test is also used as a tool to assist in identifying an individual’s potential strengths and weaknesses. A property manager at Castle Group must possess intermediate to advanced computer skills and excellent writing and communication skills. With that being said, the most important trait that is required in a manager is his/her ability to provide an extremely high level of customer service, which we call Royal Service.
In order for a manager to run the operations at their site smoothly and efficiently, he/she must have all the skills mentioned. Continuous training is provided for existing managers to ensure that they are all performing at the same level, and that they are exceeding the expectations of clients.
Castle Group has focused on developing a training program for new and existing managers that includes general areas such as property management operations, human resources, safety, accounting, and website administration. In addition, a number of unique programs are offered that include leadership, lean initiatives, and Royal Service.
Property management operations training assists in coaching managers on effective processes and detailed reporting. It is essential that managers understand the importance of these processes and how to execute them successfully. This ensures consistency in the Royal Service delivery in each of the communities.
Managers are also trained in human resources, which covers items such as recruiting and selection, coaching, performance reviews, benefits, and policies such as sexual harassment, payroll and timekeeping, and terminations. A successful manager not only knows how to manage the operations of their property but also knows how to lead a team. Managers are expected to understand the importance of leading their team and contribute to their development and growth. Managers must also know how to assist in recruiting and selecting the best candidates for their team.
Accounting is an essential part of the manager training program. It provides managers with the tools to understand how to submit invoices for payment, how to have residents sign up for auto pay, and how to read and interpret a financial statement. Having these tools in their toolbelts assists the manager in making sure that accurate, timely, and meaningful financial information is provided to the board and the residents of the community, which contributes to the smooth and efficient operation of their property.
Almost all of Castle’s associations have a website administrated through the on-site teams. In this technology-driven era, information is expected to be accessible at any time. Having an updated website for his/her community is very important for the manager to ensure that the residents are receiving accurate and timely communication. In the website administration training, managers are trained on how to access and edit their property website.
Safety is another major area of training. Not only is it mandated by Federal Law that employees receive safety training every year, but more importantly, it is essential for managers to understand how to keep themselves and their employees safe while on the job. Without a doubt, safety training will contribute to a smooth operation at the property and much focus will be in providing Royal Service to every resident in every interaction at every time.
The goal of manager training is to create opportunities to continue to develop employees and contribute to their growth. It starts off by making sure that the managers receive the proper training so that they may successfully lead their team. How do we make sure that all of our managers receive such important training? There are a few tools that are utilized. The main tool is Castle University, which is an e-learning or virtual learning tool, accessible online at any time and gives managers the opportunity to complete their mandatory courses from wherever they have Internet access and a computer. In addition, trainings are also conducted via WebEx for those managers who are not local and cannot come in to the home office. Regardless of whether the manager is down in Key Largo or up in Jacksonville, there is a solution to fit their needs.
There is no escaping training. Candidates are sought out that want to grow, and Castle Group sees it as our job to ensure that they do. Such a culture cultivates continuous and never-ending improvement (CANI) and challenges each team member to maximize his/her potential.