People, Processes, and Tools: A 3-Step Approach to Staffing and Training

Last modified on March 11th, 2021

The fact that the property management industry has changed tremendously in recent times is clear, but the ways in which organizations have responded to this evolution continue to vary widely. 

Some have responded by choosing to stay the same, which (more often than not) has stalled their performance, employee stability, and growth. However, I’ve also seen first-hand how other multifamily businesses have pivoted and flourished by embracing all aspects of staffing. This is especially true when they tackle the three most critical components that can make or break a company’s performance, employee retention, and brand leverage:

  1. People – Hiring, developing and engaging a strong team
  2. Processes – Streamlining tasks and establishing more efficient workflows
  3. Tools – Obtaining deeper insights to better accomplish business goals

This blog post will cover the basics on how senior leaders — including Owners, CEOs, COOs, and Operations VPs — can help their organization identify areas of opportunity at each step to succeed, even in the most uncertain times.

For more in-depth insights, staffing and training advice, and actionable how-tos, download the guide that I created with the AppFolio team: How to maximize your staffing and training results.

Step One: People

Because the property management industry is, at its core, a service industry that depends on satisfying customers (your residents), it is essential that internal teams are prioritized from the very start. 

As former Campbell Soup Company CEO Doug Conant once said, To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.” That means Instead of just focusing on the bottom line, the property management industry needs to invest in the individuals responsible for the bottom line, in ways that make the greatest impact:

  • Modernize your workforce: Moving forward means continuously updating the existing workforce while attracting new talent that leans into the future.
  • Develop employee engagement and intrinsic skills: Employees who feel their talents and skills are recognized and rewarded will be the most engaged. Therefore, it’s in a business’s best interest to help their personnel develop intrinsic skills that directly contribute to their individual performance, which ultimately impacts business performance.
  • Find the right fit: Your multifamily organization will be more successful when you have high-functioning employees that understand both the “business” and “people” aspects of property management. Hire individuals with industry skills (or who can be trained for them) as well as the heart for customer service.

Step Two: Processes

Changes in the world and in our industry have reinforced the need for defined roles and responsibilities, better organizational workflows, and more detailed business documentation. Ultimately, your entire goal should be to identify where your processes today succeed and where they fail to help the right individuals feel like they’re in the right place:

  • Formalize processes: Take a deep look at the ways in which your organization actually gets work done. Then, document and share that process for everyone to see.
  • Make the digital switch: Analog systems are still alive and well, but they actually require more overhead to manage than digital systems.
  • Identify tasks and workflows: When everyone knows who does what (or, of nearly equal value, who can do what), tasks can be better delegated.

Step Three: Tools

However obvious this sounds, it’s actually a critical infrastructure decision that can’t be taken lightly. Putting new technology in your office does not automatically create efficiency, but finding the right tool and implementing it properly can:

  • Calm fears: Change doesn’t have to be scary. Anticipate and remove roadblocks that cause the most challenges for your team when it comes to implementing more cohesive solutions for your business.
  • Maximize technology: A good tool specifically designed for the property management industry can give business-critical answers at a glance.


Adaptability is at the heart of business longevity. Download the guide I created with AppFolio, How to maximize your staffing and training results, now to help future-proof your organization through the right approaches to staffing and training.


About the Author

Jackie Ramstedt, CAM, CAPS, CAS is a nationally renowned, requested repeat Motivational Keynote Speaker, National Trainer, Consultant, and Performance Coach who has 35 years’ experience in the multi-housing industry. She has spoken to thousands of industry professionals on a national level for the National Apartment Association, Texas Apartment Association, Multifamily Pro Annual Brainstorming Events, the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM), National Affordable Housing conferences, and numerous state and local Associations, including various management and investment companies throughout the United States and Canada.

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