Re-Energizing Your Self-Storage Staff: Methods of Coaching and Motivation

By Linnea Appleby Comments
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Finding that perfect team member to operate your self-storage facility is only the beginning of what you hope is a long and profitable relationship. We know that hiring and training is a costly venture, so it’s important to get the right candidate for the job.

But what about years later when you notice your great staff is getting complacent? Maybe the facility isn’t as clean as it used to be, phone skills start to fall off, income isn’t rising but delinquencies are, and things in general have just fallen into a ho-hum routine. Maybe you've also become a bit complacent. You’ve asked for changes from the staff, but you haven’t been good at enforcing things. It happens. The key is to break out of the rut as soon as you notice it.

You won’t get different results if you keep doing the same things. Drastic results only come from drastic changes. To get a better outcome, you need to turbo charge your staff. Most likely, you have great people who have just wound down over time. Your job is to wind them back up.

Begin with a team meeting. Let employees know things have gotten a little lax and you have some ideas to re-energize the business. Let them know that you, too, have fallen into a routine and are committed to breaking the cycle.

It’s perfectly OK to say, “We need to step it up a notch.” Set the tone that you’re the coach. Express your confidence in their ability to make the necessary changes. Make the meeting fun and lively. Brainstorm and talk about ways to raise energy and enthusiasm. Encourage a free flow of ideas and creativity. Get fired up! Talk about what can be done to move the needle.

Use this as an opportunity to talk about everything from income and expense goals to how the phone is answered, to uniforms and cleanliness. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Make an Action Plan

Make a list of what’s going to get done, by whom and when. In addition to things the staff will work on, include items to which you are personally committed. Get a pledge from employees to follow through with the tasks assigned to them. Additionally, ask them to hold you accountable for your action items.

Set a date for follow-up meetings to review your progress. These should be short and positively focused. Make it fun by using a poster or whiteboard where everyone can track the progress.

Make It Sparkle

A clean environment is a vital part of self-storage services. If the office hasn’t had a deep clean in a while, it may be overdue. Built-up dirt and dust can have a negative effect on your business. You may not even see it because it's been there so long. (Go look behind your computer or printer, and you’ll see what I mean.) It’s time for it to go. Hire a service or hold a staff cleaning and pizza party. However you do it, address everything inside and out. Employees will do a better job when the facility is clean, and tenants will love the fresh look and smell.

Get Back on Track

As you empty all the office cabinets and drawers, you’ll come across stuff you haven’t seen for years. These might include lead-tracking sheets, marketing reports, tenant-referral cards, vacate notices and such. Most of these items were a good idea then and are still a good idea now. Rummaging through the office can unearth some priceless tools that can help you and your team track progress.

Now’s a good time to get back to basics. Require the use of these tools and audit the staff to make sure it’s getting done. As their coach, they expect you to keep them on track. It’s your responsibility to help them perform their best.

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