3 Biggest Challenges in Property Management in 2022 | Joel Davis Conference Speech Review

challenges in property management

3 Biggest Challenges in Property Management in 2022 | Joel Davis Conference Speech Review

Joel Davis, CIO of STAFFLINK, took to the stage on the opening day of the  conference with a powerful diagnosis of the 3 biggest challenges in Property Management in 2022. But he didn’t just outline the problems, he examined the opportunities that these provide.

He acknowledged the historically difficult environment that the industry, and indeed the world, has gone through recently.

“It’s been the most challenging 14 months that I have ever had in the business.”

But those who know Joel best, know that he is at his best when faced with an immense challenge. Despite the economic environment, he has overseen extraordinary growth at STAFFLINK and his views on the challenges in Property Management (and opportunities facing the industry) were highly-anticipated by those in attendance.

As he speaks, Joel paces back and forth across the stage, speaking entirely without notes. He knows his stuff, and lives and breathes real estate. He is not someone who minces his words, or hides his dissatisfaction at the status quo.

Here are his 3 biggest challenges in Property Management in 2022.

1) Recruitment and Retention

A record low unemployment rate has contributed to an already extremely difficult job climate, with many businesses finding recruiting and retaining staff a major challenge. This has occupied much of Joel’s focus and attention over the last year or so. And he is not alone. Increasingly, businesses are realising that having a good work culture is absolutely vital when it comes to recruiting staff and avoiding ‘the great resignation’ of talent from their companies.

There are many definitions of culture, but for Joel, “culture is what you DON’T accept.” And he will not accept that it is okay for property managers to feel overworked, burnt out, and stressed as a normal part of their job.

Unlike some business owners, Joel refuses to accept that the role of property manager can’t be improved.

“I spend a huge amount of time actively thinking about how I can make the role of property manager better.”
He is scathing of business owners who take the time to be emotionally supportive of their staff, but don’t try to fix the underlying problems. (see video below)

“How about you spend some time..and refine the process that led to them crying?”

Culture can now be a competitive advantage more than ever before. In a job that can be as stressful and overwhelming as property management, what type of boss would you prefer? The really emotionally supportive one who gives you 5 minutes to ‘have a cry’ everyday? Or the boss who relentlessly focuses on how to make your job less stressful in the first place?

2) Everything’s getting more expensive

“We’ve had fuel nearly double, we’ve had wages go up, we’ve had the cost of pretty much our entire supply chain go up, but our fees really didn’t move.”
“And in terms of operating expenses, does anybody think that we’ve capped out?”
“From everything we read, and everything we see…it’s just getting started.”

Let’s face the facts, everything becoming more expensive is NOT a good thing. But the silver lining that Joel is referring to is that everyone will be affected. The businesses that adapt the best are the ones who can gain a competitive advantage.

“The next one to two years is going to be a pretty tough period.”

“But to be perfectly honest…I love that. Because typically what it does, is get rid of the cowboys.”

To thrive in this tough economic environment, businesses will have to have a laser-like focus on wastage. In particular, making sure that talent is not wasted.

“Making sure that we’ve got our best people working on what is the best use of their time”

“Not just doing it because that’s the way we’ve always done it.”

“Not just doing it because that’s the way we’ve always done it.”

3) Increase in compliance/regulation

“The government, in all its infinite wisdom, thought that now would be a good time to radically increase the compliance requirements around what we do.”

Sarcasm may be the lowest form of wit, but for many property management businesses, it is no laughing matter.

The ever-increasing compliance and regulation requirements on property management businesses is another major challenge that Joel highlighted in his speech. There are now more hoops to jump through than ever before, and although on their own the added burden may seem insignificant, taken as a whole, they add up.

“A process that might only take 1 or 2 minutes is often not seen as a problem, but there are processes like that in our businesses that we do 50 times a day…it adds up!”

“It’s not one big solution, it’s solving lots and lots of little problems”

The burden of legislative and compliance requirements underlines how important it is to automate and streamline your processes so that your talent is not being wasted doing repetitive, menial tasks. The opportunity to free up your staff from time-consuming tasks that add little value to the business should not be missed.

If you could streamline your processes so that your Head of Department had another 20 hours per month, how could they best spend their time? What value could they add to the business? Training and mentoring younger members of the team? Building relationships with clients?

That sounds like a far better use of their time, but giving them that opportunity can only occur by getting hands on as a leader and solving “lots of little problems.”

Joel is up for these challenges in Property Management – are you?

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