'Silo' is one of those management buzzwords that always seems to have a seat at the table—and for a good reason. A business plagued by silos is usually an inefficient business, one that has a shortage of trust, morale—and actively works to reduce productivity.
If you're new to the term, a 'siloed workplace' is one in which departments or sectors don't share information with each other. By not sharing information, you truly can't be sure that everyone is rowing together. This can lead to departments working on competing goals—or even employees in the same department not working on a common goal.
Departmental silos are a growing pain faced by businesses of all types—and property management companies are no exception.
- For example, if your leasing team and makeready team don't communicate well, you could have a problem with properties not showing well.
- Sales and marketing need to work hand in hand to ensure that messaging is on point. Property management needs to work with everyone.
- The business owner, when working in a siloed company, becomes the quarterback for all this interdepartmental communication, which means you start working in your business too much instead of on it.
Of course, you don't want to work in silos and have your productivity reduced. More visibility, collaboration, trust, and accountability are always a good thing, right? So, what causes silos? Generally, as a business grows, it can be hard for leadership to give up old systems and structures—and the control and comfort that comes with them. That fear can lead to silos.
You don't have to give up all of your processes to combat silos. Sometimes it's as easy as creating a unified vision, setting SMART goals, engineering incentives, measuring performance, and continuing to work as a team through these steps to continue to grow and improve.
We think that using a Property Management Operating System (PMOS) or other property management ecosystem to run your business makes all of this easier, so we'll set some examples of how it can help as we work through what all of this means for your company.
Defining Your Vision
It is no surprise that EOS is popular among property management companies, HubSpot agencies, and businesses of all sizes. This is because it works. Knowing your core values and core focus makes it easier for you to set that big, hairy, audacious goal that actually makes sense for your business.
When you take the time to figure out these elements and then share them with your organization, it gives everyone a road map. Employees at every level of the business will now not only understand what the goal is but why it is important—and ultimately how meeting it can benefit them.
If you want everyone to row together, then as a leader, you have to be good at steering the boat—and sharing that vision with everyone. Adding these plans to a company handbook or knowledge base is a great way to keep them accessible to your employees—so they can get a refresher whenever they're interested.
Set SMART Goals
- SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.
- SMART goals are used in EOS, and we think they should be used everywhere because they make goal-setting an activity that is actually productive.
- Sure, your goal might be to become the biggest property management company in the country—but just telling that to your team isn't going to help you get anywhere.
- On the other hand, if you set a giant goal like that and then break it down into specific, actionable, and measurable pieces, you'll be able to get traction toward that goal.
Work past the silo mentality by showing each department of the company how the goals you set for them translate to meeting the larger goal. Show your teams how working together will help reach the vision, and you'll see how much more willing your team members are to collaborate and share information—both with you and each other.
Using a platform where everyone can work together in one property management ecosystem is a great way to encourage this.
- At the end of the day, your employees work for you so they can provide for their own needs.
- Sure, you might want to be the biggest property management company in the nation—but they might only see the increased workload that is going to give them. They can't see at this stage how helping you reach this goal will benefit them as employees.
- To get past the 'not my job' mentality that can come from this, you might consider adding incentives that will help bring you closer to your goal.
- If your Google review score is a two, and your goal is to get it to a four by the end of the year, placing an incentive for team members who get five-star reviews will help motivate them to take actions that will help you meet your goal.
- Remember that motivation is needs-based: Knowing your employees and what drives them (words of affirmation, public recognition, time off, financial incentives) will help you incentivize things.
- Incentives need to be tied to actions, so using transparent platforms and systems will make it easier for you to track when an incentive is due to an employee.
What Gets Measured Gets Managed
We keep saying it because it's true.
We've had a lot of marketing clients come to us and start to worry when their actual leads and performance ratios are measured in HubSpot: 'It can't possibly be that low!' When your BizDev team is only reporting the leads that they're winning, it can seem like they're doing a killer job. When you see that number drop because all leads are measured—not just the ones that close—you'll start to see pretty quickly where some coaching needs to come into play.
- That isn't to say that rep needs to be shown the door. They might not have realized the extent to what they were doing.
- Measuring performance gives you areas to coach your employees to get better.
- Coaching will increase trust, collaboration, and build up your company culture.
Continue to Collaborate and Refine
- Departmental meetings are great, but be sure to get the whole group together for team building and information sharing somewhat regularly.
- This will keep the lines of communication open and celebrate the achievements of the company as a whole.
- Ensure you have interdepartmental training and team building.
- Listen to constructive advice from outside departments.
- Keep tracking your KPIs that lead to your goals through your reporting.
Enhanced reporting that gives you a bird's eye view of what is happening in your business can give you the transparency you need to see and fix the silos in your business. We have to show you this kind of epic functionality 'in person,' so book a meeting and let us give you the bird's eye view of what PMOS can do!