Multifamily has transformed from a paper-and-pen leasing process to an industry always looking for new technologies and ways to innovate. In the last five years, we have seen the industry adapt smart-home technology, marketing automation and test products designed to streamline communications on the myriad of platforms available to prospects, residents and leasing teams.
This transformation has been a relatively quick one, thanks to the help of ambitious onsite teams. Without their time, energy, patience and overall support, the technology evolution would not have happened. As an industry, we need their feedback in order to test, pilot and implement technology effectively. At Laramar, we believe the way technology will have the most impact is to make it a part of our culture.
As concepts like online leasing and intuitive resident portals become more commonplace, we've partnered with a technology fund that tests and validates new tech-related products and concepts specific to the industry. The fund measures the potential impact of each new concept, which provides the company with a more accurate roadmap of which technologies to adopt.
No matter how you go about vetting technologies, there are a few concepts to keep in mind when working to make technology a part of your overall culture.
Excite your teams about testing new platforms
Let's be honest: It can be exhausting for team members to constantly learn new platforms and carve out time in a hectic schedule to do so. It can be more exasperating if those changes come with little or no notice.
If you can communicate the reasons for the change in advance, along with the positive potential impact, employees will be more receptive. They might even be excited about how the new platform will save them time, enhance their capabilities and otherwise assist with their daily duties.
Strategically space out tech adoptions and updates
Even if you provide ample notice for any tech-related changes, having too many changes can weigh on the team just as heavily as short notice. Constantly updating or altering platforms can create a hectic work environment, particularly when team members are just mastering one new platform and have to shift to another.
It can be a balancing act. Sometimes new tech concepts are more pressing than others, and adoption can't wait simply for the sake of spacing out the timeframe. But as a general practice, team members should be allowed to breathe between tech adoptions and platform updates.
Make certain employee feedback is heard
The idea is that any tech-related update will enhance the jobs of onsite associates. Those who utilize the new platforms will serve as the most relevant form of feedback, so make certain that the voices of team members are heard and not ignored.
In addition, any significant tech needs should be brought to the attention of the key stakeholders of the organization. Their feedback matters and should be taken seriously, and they should be made aware of any employee feedback, as well.
Technology and multifamily are no longer mutually exclusive concepts. As such, apartment operators can enhance the daily lives of their associates by infusing technology into their culture. But it is a mission that should be done carefully and not haphazardly.
By Scott McMillan - President Laramar Group