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Fresh solutions for staffing challenges.

The development of a comprehensive plan for hiring and training the right apartment professionals--and then keeping them for the long haul--is on every management company's "must-do" list. But as many apartment companies have discovered, hiring away from the competition or offering a quick-fix incentive plan is not the answer.

To ensure a healthy bottom line, the industry must continue to invest in its most important asset: its employees. From finding high-quality hires to implementing staff training and education programs, this issue of UNITS offers strategies for solving myriad staffing challenges.

On page 22 in Warding Off the 'Toxic Boss,' Mike Beirne describes how the office environment can breed managers who deal with human relations issues in a way that brings staff motivation to nil--in a hurry. He illustrates reasons to remove "toxic" managers as soon as they are identified.

Simpson Housing's five-step staff retention plan has helped reduce turnover in the leasing office from 85 percent to an impressive 25 percent. Find out how Simpson has broken the industry mold in Finders, Keepers, page 26.

Christopher Lee explains how talent is the key to success. Hiring, retaining, rewarding and recognizing employee contributions and accomplishments is essential. See page 28, Creating a Best-In-Class Workplace.

When maintenance staff turnover was in the danger zone, one AIMCO employee created a training program that developed the "best of the best." Read Top Gun: Training Maintenance Mavericks, page 34.

In How to Predict Employee Fit, page 37, David Alagno shows how AvalonBay's Predictive Index, or PI, has helped the company's hiring managers get past a candidate's enthusiasm and delve into more core issues.

Mid-America's training program builds human capital and helps new managers learn company culture. On page 42, Manager Training Gives Reasons to Stay, Janice Myers outlines the program that has managers hooked.

On page 46, Shirley A. Robertson, CPM, lists 12 Ways to Bring Fair Housing to Team Meetings. By incorporating fair housing education into regular staff meetings, apartment professionals can ensure that the courtroom will not be their classroom.

This issue of UNITS also highlights some pressing environmental issues facing the industry. In 2001, the U.S. Department of Energy amended energy conservation standards for central air conditioners and heat pumps, raising the minimum Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) value by 30 percent. Read answers to frequently asked questions on page 50, Conservation Standards for HVAC to Change in January 2006.

In Trimming Lawn Cuts Costs, page 56, Lori McGreal explains how xeriscaping--replacing water-thirsty grass with indigenous plants--has helped her Arizona apartment community save on water, sewer and maintenance costs while updating its look.

Infrared cameras are becoming more popular as a non-invasive, cost-effective way to pinpoint moisture leaks, faulty wiring, construction defects and termite infestation. See page 60, Infrared: Hot Technology for Diagnosing Building Ills, by Dick Price.

In its deal with Archstone-Smith, Oakwood Worldwide transferred real estate assets while increasing its leased portfolio. Howard E Ruby details the transaction on page 64, Oakwood Worldwide: The Corporate Housing Pioneer Continues to Chart New Territory.

More than 4,200 attendees spent three days learning and networking at the 2005 NAA Education Conference & Exposition: You Can Have It All, in Orlando, Fla. Read the highlights on page 66.

It is not too soon to register for the 2006 NAA Conference & Exposition. For information, visit or mail in the registration form on page 78.
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Title Annotation:OBSERVATIONS
Author:Day, Tom
Date:Jul 1, 2005
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