A workflow may sound like something you already do! After all, your team begins projects, takes turns completing their tasks, and eventually concludes the work.
Where the issue comes in is in the middle of the project:
- Who should review a plan first?
- Whose final say is the last word?
- Who carries out the decision?
- Who double-checks that work has been completed on time?
Many property management companies see work progress more slowly than they'd prefer. Often, each team member isn't sure exactly what they should be doing at a given time. Workflows are flow charts of assigned tasks that show:
- In what order a given set of responsibilities should be completed.
- Who is responsible at each stage.
- How urgently each stage should be completed.
Using a workflow allows workers to accurately understand which items on their to-do list are the most significant priority. For instance, if one project workflow is waiting on your approval and coming close to a deadline, that's going to be a higher priority. Compare that to a task that is two weeks ahead of schedule! Only with a well-documented workflow can your team make these organizational decisions with confidence.
Here is a handy guide for building workflows for your property management company. These steps will help you to increase productivity, efficiency, and be replicable when your team gets new members.
Isolate a Project or Workflow Task
The first step is to figure out a particular part of the work done at your company that is an isolated project. For instance, you may have a standard way that you complete the process of advertising for a new tenant for a particular property. Decide where the process begins (for instance, an employee reaches out to learn whether someone is renewing their lease or not). It would be best if you also determined where it ends (when the tenant has successfully occupied the property). This way, you don't end up with intertwined and entangled workflows.
Of course, your work is connected to everyone else, but giving each small step a place in a single workflow is ideal for not confusing your team.
Assemble All Decision Makers and Implementers
If possible, hold a meeting that involves everyone from a given workflow, such as the above example about finding new tenants. Create the workflow by asking the group what happens first, who does that action, and how they communicate to the next person that the step is complete. Every part of this chain is essential: any steps that remain unassigned are often slow to progress. Most people understandably assume someone else (possibly someone with more free time) will accomplish that task. Similarly, there must be a mechanism for "handing off the project" to the next person in the chain.
This meeting should establish two things: one is the typical way the project goes, but the other is how the typical roadblocks in the process will be solved. If there was a bottleneck at a particular stage in the process before, give that task to a particular person. Whomever you assign it to should have the authority to delegate it if they have a hectic day.
Evaluate the Optimal and Alternative Order of Operation
This strategy of assigning one person to each task and giving them the option of delegating the process is one way to create "optimal" and "plan B" scenarios. Your workflow needs to be clear so that it can be used over and over, but it also requires some built-in flexibility. For instance, you may decide that if Sue doesn't hear back from Roger about the property descriptions for advertising within "x" number of hours, she is to proceed. There is some amount of time after which it is better to proceed with a project because a supervisor is busy with other tasks; implement these alternative choices at all bottlenecks.
Use a Workflow Management Tool to Stay Informed
It is possible to manage workflow through a documented flow chart and to use email or phone calls to move from one step to the next. However, it can be easier to use an actual workflow management tool. These tools allow you to document the path of a project, as well as check off each step as it is completed. Proper tools are beneficial for supervisors as they check in on multiple workflows to make sure they are progressing. They can see which steps have concluded and who is currently working on the next phase.
Review, Revise, and Revisit Workflows
A key component of creating effective workflows is to re-evaluate them periodically. Maybe five people are looking over a document when three would catch all the errors or confusing wording just fine. Having the workflow established isn't an excuse to be rigid in the future! It's a way to show what the current process is to make a case for the next change in its development.
As a HubSpot Platinum Partner, we know how to craft optimal, agile, and automated workflows for any size property management company. Ready to start creating efficient workflows for your property management business? Contact Rent Bridge today!