I haven’t walked into a business that hasn’t acknowledged the importance of having a documented policy and procedures guide. A large percentage even has one that they bought from a conference once or stumbled upon somewhere. The intent is there, but this is where the wheels fall off. Most of these offices have them stacked on a shelf, hidden in a drawer or in more creative offices, they are holding the fire door open.
A procedure guide offers team alignment and endorses culture into the business. It will offer the business a more consistent service to its clients and a framework that the team can operate within. How can you measure and improve your customer service and team performance, if you have no benchmark to which to measure it against?
The procedure guide is a backbone to any high performing business.
The joy of entering the industry at the lowest level, and building a career in property management, is that you understand how a property manager thinks. When it comes to introducing new processes or reinforcing existing ones, property managers tend to push back, unless it solves a problem for them today. You need to give them a tool that makes their job easier, not create more work for them. Giving them a 300-page procedure guide that you purchased off the shelf is not a great start - they will never open it.
I would encourage that you use an off the shelf guide as just that, a guide only. Instead, you should create your own. Building your own procedure guide will take time, don’t force it out. What I encourage you to do is build it in 30 minute blocks each week in a team meeting. The team must be part of the process as it is their guide. If you have 26 procedures, this may take 26 weeks to do. Use the first 10 minutes of the meeting to brainstorm, as a team, everything about a procedure onto a whiteboard. Once you have done this, use the next 10 minutes to organise them into a sensible order for a guide. Cull off anything that may be too low level. Think of it more like a checklist and keep it to about 1-2 pages. Use the final 10 minutes to review the guide and ensure the team all agrees on the format.
Once you get to the end of the 26 weeks, start back with the first one you and your team created, and review it. I’d be very surprised if nothing had changed in the procedure in 6 months. It will definitely need tweaking. Keep this cycle going. It ensures a few things things: 1) the team is engaging with the procedure guide, 2) they are all aligned with it and 3) it is kept up to date and always relevant.
When implementing the guide, the team needs to be empowered to endorse the guide and pull up other team members that are venturing off track. In an open and creative culture, nobody will be offended if they receive a nudge from their colleagues when they don’t follow the guide. This encourages the team to take ownership of the guide, their work, and the business' procedures.