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Employee training: an ongoing commitment.

Employee training: an ongoing commitment

It is a critical time for American businesses. Consumers today simply will not accept inferior goods, regardless of whether the product is an automobile or a service such as property management. Companies that succeed in the current marketplace are the ones that skip the lip service and truly stand behind their promises.

In an environment where customer service is the name of the game, a well trained, enthusiastic, and loyal corps of employees is a company's best asset. In the past, many companies implemented employee training and customer service programs, but today more and more firms are scrambling to position themselves as service-oriented and responsive to consumers' needs.

Lee Iacocca brought Chrysler out of the red and began an advertising revolution by emphasizing customer service. Federal Express is another outstanding example of a company that succeeded because it literally delivered what it promised. Such companies made clear promises to their customers and then focused the energy of their employees on fulfilling their promises.

True dedication to customer service, however, cannot be treated as a fad, nor as a sporadic activity without a defined framework. It must be a company-wide goal.

Balcor Property Management (BPM), The Balcor Company's largest division, exhibits its commitment to corporate customer service goals through ongoing property management training programs, fostering management team spirit and pride on the property level, and continually striving to be the best in the eyes of our residents.

Team spirit

Team spirit is the backbone of the company's philosophy. Teamwork and cooperation build strong crews of people working together.

Commitment to the team must begin at the executive level and include every member of the staff, from property manager to housekeeper. Each team member plays an integral role in problem solving and operations.

To reinforce the critical importance of each member of the management team, our company has implemented property-level programs that allow for regular input, suggestions, and subsequent action from each staffer.


The company launched its current training program in 1985 as growth of the company's management portfolio accelerated. While our commitment to training and service has always been strong, the need to enhance our training process was underscored by the growing volume of tenants, changes in the marketplace, and rapidly changing technology.

Balcor's training process goes beyond the traditional one-time event for new employees. New employees are trained in job skills and standard company procedures. Veteran employees are given opportunities to advance their skills through seminars and hands-on sessions at training centers in Atlanta, Dallas, and Phoenix.

However, the training process was not formulated just to establish a new set of rules. The seminars are designed to create stronger all-around managers, not just better clerks.

Three full-time trainers and their staffs conduct half-day, full-day, and two-day sessions ranging from an introduction to leasing techniques to skills for closing the sale. Two introductory level programs for new office personnel encompass basic leasing and management techniques and functions of the on-site computer system.

In the Leasing I seminar, new employees build skills through discussion and realistic role-playing. Objectives are set for each training class that include mastering the competency of each position and reflect the evaluation of participants by their managers.

After employees return to the properties and put into action what they learned in the seminar, trainers visit the properties to review their newly acquired skills. The rating tools used not only measure employee competence and improvement, but also provide valuable information for evaluating the format of the programs. Based upon this information, the seminars are kept lively and current.

In the monitoring phase, Balcor trainers serve as coaches, teaching their students, watching them play the game, and pointing out where improvements are needed. On every level employees develop new skills and put them to work under the tutelage of experienced personnel.


The program works. Although completing the step-by-step development process may take some time, it is excellent for fostering career growth. As employees progress through the program, beginning at any level, they grow by taking on new responsibilities.

Exemplifying the success of this training program are two Balcor employees who joined the company five years ago as housekeepers. Today, Sonita Lovelady manages Countryside Village in Denver, and Bernice Wright runs Atlanta's Balcor Suites corporate apartments.

Balcor training and customer service programs are oriented around property management personnel becoming enthusiastically involved in their jobs, which benefits both themselves and the residents they serve.

Van L. Pell of The Balcor Company is responsible for the operations of the company's development and corporate development services, commercial and residential property management, and construction groups. He also directs the firm's administration, legal, and finance functions, including interiors that lease. Mr. Pell is a member of the company's investment and executive committees.

Balcor Property Management is the largest division of The Balcor Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Shearson Lehman Hutton Inc. An international investment management firm with more than $8 billion in assets under management. The Balcor Company has businesses based on mortgage lending, property management, syndication and property development, and serves as advisor to institutional and international investors.

PHOTO : A systematic employee training program enables all levels of staff to learn not only specific job skills, but also general business-related abilities.
COPYRIGHT 1989 National Association of Realtors
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:management training
Author:Pell, Van L.
Publication:Journal of Property Management
Date:Jan 1, 1989
Next Article:Learning to be a great communicator.

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