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Going global to stay on top

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with Colin Rodgers

It’s time to outsource. Many people believe that outsourcing is a dirty word and that outsourcing is in fact, outsourcing the problem. Not according to Colin Rodgers, the Property Management expert.

In the property management game for 25 years, Colin Rodgers is the General Manager of McGrath Property Management Sutherland Shire and he and his team at McGrath monopolise property management in the Sutherland Shire in Sydney. Three years ago, Colin and his team had 900 properties under management and now they have 3,300 properties spread over four locations in two countries – Australia and The Philippines.

This extraordinary acceleration of business has come from Colin’s willingness to think outside the box and to outsource. He says, “Just because it's being done this way today, doesn't mean it has to be done that way tomorrow.”

About 18 months ago, thinking about the kind of business he wanted in five years time, Colin took a step back, reviewed his operations and really thought what he wanted the ideal property management department to look like and what he wanted his property managers to focus on.

He concluded that he really wanted his property managers to be able to focus on what made them unique and profitable – ie. their ability to form and foster solid business relationships with customers. However, he could see that they were hampered because they were buried under mountains of paperwork and menial administration tasks. He says, “I wanted them to be managing relationships rather than managing paperwork.”

Colin realised that extending the business and taking some of the non-core activities away from his frontline property management staff, could in fact help him deliver his desired outcomes. He wasn’t interested in reducing his current staff load; rather he wanted additional staff that could externally complement his existing staff and work practices.
He continues, “We wanted to get ourselves to the stage where we could attract and retain the right staff, because we wanted our property managers to go out there and say to other people, ‘Look, I don't have to do my arrears’, or ‘My reviews are done for me’, or ‘My routine inspections, all the front end and back ends are done for me. My lease renewal calls are done for me. My registers are all updated, and my KPIs are updated for me’."
He decided to outsource these routine tasks to staff in the Philippines. Colin and his team then developed true performance metrics and made the invisible visible. He says, “We created a procedure that is the reasons why we do things, and then the work instructions on how we actually go about doing it, and a flow chart on everything that we do, including the scripts that go along with it.”

Once that was done and after some investigation, Colin found the right business to partner with. He says, “Our outsourcing partner isn't based in Manila. They're based in place called Clark, but you do need to do your homework. It's like interviewing a team member. You've got to interview your HR operator. What, in terms of service, what support, what IT backup do they provide? Where are they located? Whether it's in Manila or Clark or another area of the Philippines, for example. Is that close or in close proximity for the team to work?”
Colin says, “We commenced in May of 2015. In 2015, I spent two months in the Philippines in turn, setting up. To give you an idea, I had staff over there, and within a week, we had them all operational in task. You've got to have the work instructions, your flow charts, and the scripts and dialogues in place. You've got to sit there and coach them.”
The results speak for themselves, There has been an increase in productivity and profitability and staff in Sydney can now focus on more interesting work.  There’s been another unexpected benefit. Colin says, “We're in a bit of position to be an employer of choice plus we will retain staff, and we want our team to be paid more and the way that they can do that is to manage more properties. If we can take away that traditional property management admin work from them, we're on the way of servicing better, not only the business, but the customers and the team as well.”

With the increasing globalisation of the work force and the changing space in the Australian property management market, Colin believes that in the very near future, outsourcing, “…will be a necessary tool to your business. It's something that isn't the latest play thing because you’ve got to invest the time, you've got to invest the passion to get it all done.”

At The Complete Leaders Conference 2016, Colin will take you through the steps necessary to incorporate a global element into your business mix. He will lead you through the process of successfully incorporating outsourcing into your day-to-day operations.

1.    Change your mindset
2.    Review existing operations
3.    Identify tasks that could be outsourced
4.    Develop true performance metrics
5.    Make the invisible visible
6.    Find the right partner
7.    Lay the groundwork – coach and educate here & abroad
8.    Educate in the local language and dialect
9.    See outsourced workers as part of your team
10.    Review, reflect and change.



The Complete Leader Conference



The Complete Leader Conference is Real Estate Academy’s exclusive annual two day conference designed to help leaders to re-assess their business, challenge their vision and be empowered to deliver strategies for greater success.


 

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