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6711 Forest Lawn Dr., Suite 107
Los Angeles, CA 90068

(323) 882-6606


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Motivating Employees, Managers and Maintenance Personnel

“Ask Kari” is a monthly, Question & Answer feature from Kari Negri.  Kari has two decades of property management experience, is a featured speaker at many industry trade shows, such as AAGLA’s annual trade show, and is the CEO of SKY Properties, Inc. in Los Angeles.

Motivating Employees, Managers and Maintenance Personnel

This month’s question comes from Ben in Long Beach:

“Hi Kari, what are your tips for motivating employees, managers and maintenance personnel?”

Hi Ben! What a great question! There are many management styles when it comes to motivation, but let me share a few key ones from my own style. As building owners, we are in a position to keep our on-site managers and maintenance personnel motivated. Motivation is important for many reasons, one of which is that they are our key contacts with our primary customers, our residents.

When it comes to motivation, here are some tips to keep in mind:

Tip 1: Self Improvement and education.

One of the ways to keep someone motivated is to help him or her improve their skill set. As we learn, we remain engaged in our activities and responsibilities, which helps fight lethargy. In our industry, one of the primary areas of education is Fair Housing. All management personnel needs to have a thorough understanding of Fair Housing laws. Providing access to Fair Housing classes is a great way to help a manager improve their skill set. For maintenance personnel, Home Depot is a great place for them to attend specialty classes to expand various skills. Additionally, your local Apartment Association always offers great classes for all types of property management personnel.

Tip 2: Recognition amongst peers.

It always helps to recognize employees for their accomplishments and unique skills. Depending on the size of your organization, you might try an employee of the month program or something just as consistent, but less formal, such as keeping a stack of gas cards to hand out when you want to recognize an employee. I make sure to always acknowledge each employee when we’re all together at our holiday party each year when I hand out bonuses. It gives me an opportunity to speak about each employee about their unique accomplishments while their peers are present.

Tip 3: Grow responsibility.

Sometimes people may be at risk to falling into a rut when they are so closely bound to a routine. In addition to providing educational opportunities to grow their skill set, I have found that recognition through increased responsibility is a great tool to motivate. For managers, you might consider offering the oversight of a smaller, nearby building, in addition to the larger one they manage on-site. For maintenance personnel, you might encourage their getting certified in a new area to expand their skills. Lead certification or mold is extremely useful for older buildings.

Tip 4: Financial motivation.

Everyone can use a little extra something. In addition to holiday bonuses, you might consider offering pre-leasing bonuses to managers, running a contest such as a weight loss or car pool, challenge, or a new technology challenge such as getting managers to convert their residents to submit maintenance requests online.

Tip 5: One-on-One positive feedback.

When it’s not convenient to recognize an employee amongst their peers, simply giving one-on-one positive feedback and accolades can go a long way. It lets them know you appreciate what they are doing and how they contribute to the overall vision of your enterprise.

As always, please remember, I am not an attorney. Seek clarification through your attorney. All articles are simply an opinion. Stay in touch at

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