Training property managers and leasing agents in Fair Housing compliance issues continues to be a top issue in the multifamily housing industry, according to a new annual study.
Compliance with Fair Housing to reduce risk is the main way property management measures training success today, according to 66 percent of those in the study. The study was the annual Multifamily Training Benchmark Report from Grace Hill, a leader in online training for the property management industry.
“Compliance with Fair Housing is what keeps our entire industry up at night,” Dru Armstrong, CEO of Grace Hill, told Rental Housing Journal in an interview.
“When you talk to CEOS and property management companies, it does not really matter the size of the operation,” she said. “Compliance with Fair Housing and being able to keep pace with the evolving federal, state and local Fair Housing laws is of most importance to them in their business performance,”
Top 3 training needs for property managers and leasing agents
- Fast, easy, effective on-boarding training
- Content specifically tailored to employees’ needs
- Engaging, compelling and relevant content
The report states, “Given employees’ varying training needs, companies are looking for more tailored and relevant training content that specifically matches the needs of employee groups. They want the training to be both compelling and engaging, and are looking for new, innovative platforms to deliver that content.
“Most companies use a mix of electronic and face-to-face training, but are still reluctant to increase mobile training due to a disbelief in efficacy and potential expenses (over-time, device costs),” according to the report.
How management evaluates training
“You can see in the report that compliance remains the top way a lot of our clients evaluate the effectiveness of their training programs,” Armstrong said. “One of the things we have done at Grace Hill is to be the gold standard in compliance training for the past two decades.”
She said with high turnover in the industry, hiring new leasing managers and property managers is an on-going issue. She said a frequent comment that property managers have told Grace Hill is, “I am constantly on-boarding people. How do I make sure the minute they start out actually leasing my units they are not a liability, but they are an asset?“
Armstrong said the report “really speaks to that as one of the core metrics for success for any training program and frankly for any property manager in our industry. “
Staying on top of ever-changing laws
“We view it as our job to stay on top of the federal laws which are evolving every day and being implemented across the country in different ways and in interpreted in different ways by different courts,” Armstrong said. “So we launched our compliance plus program where we do monthly updates for all of our clients and actually write questions based on real case law. Then their students are learning how courts are actually deciding some of these issues.”
“For every business there is going to be the law, and then there is going to be their own policies and procedures, and how they interpret that law. What we have done in our Vision X platform is giving them the opportunity to take our core courses and incorporate their own training that captures that.
“We don’t claim to be the expert on local Fair Housing laws in Seattle, or Portland or San Francisco – instead what we do is we give our clients a course that allows them to incorporate those local laws and train really consistently on those laws.”
Mobile enabled training for property managers is a growing need
“Mobile is really interesting because if you think about who a leasing professional is today, in general they are in their 20s and they are at work on site, they are active in the community there. They are moving around the property and mobile is a perfect vehicle for training.
“You want them to be able to answer questions as they come up. Do training when they have a spare moment. On the flip side, we know that there are real business barriers to having as much mobile training as our clients would like.
“There is the cost of providing those devices. So what we see ourselves doing is really enabling mobile access. All of our courseware is mobile friendly, our platform is mobile accessible and we see ourselves starting to help our clients solve how to really have a mobile training solution.
“One of the things we are looking to solve is how you measure the risk around overtime. How do you make the content so good that people want to access it from their mobile devices and it is dynamic.
“We know it’s really important. And we know we need to help some of our clients solve their business challenges around it,” she said.
3 issues to consider in budgeting training cost
No. 1 – Risk management: “A lot of our clients view us as a necessity and not an option. Regardless of the economic climate they still have to make sure all of their employees and all of their properties are in compliance with the federal Fair Housing laws, drug free workplace,. So we make sure our clients understand how essential having great training is to protect their business from risk.
No. 2 – Showing cost effective and scalable way to grow their business: “So much of what the digital transformation is about is realizing cost efficiency. So a lot of what we help our clients do is put in place really cost-effective, scalable training programs. So when you are looking at ‘where do I economize,’ the fact that you have a technology-enabled course that you have trained every employee across the country in a cost-effective way is really compelling. So our system does provide efficiency and cost savings for our clients vs. doing on-site training, off-site training or in-person training.
No. 3 – Helping them connect the dots between training and business performance: “We are in a people-driven industry. We talk about how a great training program really does help you out perform your competitors. So much of it is giving people the right training at the right time. Our clients will tell you the number one factor in minimizing employee churn is having the right on-boarding program which is all built around training,” Armstrong said.
About Dru Armstrong:
Dru Armstrong, Chief Executive Officer of Grace Hill, joined Grace Hill in 2015 after consulting on major strategic initiatives in partnership with the company’s CTO Robert Gettys and the leadership team. Her ability to quickly identify opportunities and execute strategically with its people, partners, and products has positioned Grace Hill for unprecedented growth and success.
Grace Hill is the leader in eLearning for the multifamily industry. Combining property management’s best-in-class professional skills and compliance courseware with an industry-leading learning management system and renowned level of customer service, Grace Hill paves the way for innovative, engaging, and performance-driven education for every level of the business. For more information, call toll free (866) GRACEHILL (866-472-2344) or visit www.gracehill.com
Photo credit Daviles via istockphoto.com