Best Practices for Evaluating Self-Storage Staff: Facility Owners Get Value From Manager Assessment

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By Cory Parrow

Do you regularly evaluate your self-storage staff to ensure you have top-quality people managing your product and customers? Or do you hear yourself making these comments:

  • “My manager has increased our occupancy and maintained a low delinquency, so I know he’s doing a good job.”
  • “Our facility is always clean and all the customers I talk to are very happy with my manager. She must be doing the right things.”
  • “Occupancy is dropping and the facility is very dirty. What am I paying him for?”

Are these measurable tools for determining the value of your managers? Do you use this type of intuition to reward or reprimand staff, or do you take the time to evaluate employees based on specific criteria?

It’s so much easier to base your rating on facility reports and conversations with customers, but the position of facility manager has far more depth than simply renting units, collecting money, maintaining the site, and making friends with tenants. The success of a good, progressive manager won’t always show up on a report. A formal evaluation process keeps everyone on point.

Building the Tool

The idea is to design an evaluation that covers the specific areas in which you want your company to excel. For example, if you want staff to demonstrate industry knowledge, rate their performance on how often they read self-storage articles, if they offer storage tips to customers, and how well they understand their competition. A manager who’s confident about his products and services and can offer advice will make prospective customers comfortable with their choice. Likewise, if your manager can educate customers on how your operation is better than competitors, it will reinforce yours as the facility to trust.

Plan evaluations around the qualities you want to groom in employees. This will produce the results you desire. Devise an assessment that covers general qualities any good employee should possess such as promptness, teamwork, attitude, hygiene and enthusiasm. The evaluation should also include an understandable grading scale, such as a numeric scale from one to 10. Separate it into categories that will allow you and your employee to determine strengths and weaknesses.

Who Does the Evaluation?

As the boss, you’re expected to complete the assessment, but asking your staff to first write a self-evaluation opens communication. Ask each employee to provide you a copy of his evaluation at least a day before you plan to meet. This allows you to review his ratings and compare them to your own.

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