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November 7, 2018
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Tiffany Houkom

Change Management for Residents

Change management is an important strategy property management companies must deploy when introducing significant changes, such as new community management software, to their employees. When implementing something like new software, don’t forget about how this will impact your residents! To improve adoption, reduce confusion, and set all involved parties up for success, change management strategies can, and should, be develop for residents as well. Here are tips to get started with developing a change management plan for residents.

1). Give residents ample time

When introducing new tool, like FRONTSTEPS, make sure to give residents enough time to prepare for the change. If you simply announce via email that you’re implementing a new way for them to make payments, book amenities, and submit work orders a week before you expect people to start using it, you’re setting the tool up for failure. Give people ample time to learn about the tool, and how it will impact them. With each email, be sure to note if residents need to take a certain action, or if no action is needed at that point in time. This will help reduce phone calls, and slowly prepare people for the change.

2).  Focus on the benefits

If you’re spending money on a tool like community management software, you need to do everything possible to ensure residents will actually use it. Let’s face it, people are busy, and need a compelling reason to take the time to learn how to use a new tool. That’s why it’s important to always focus on the benefits the tool provides, rather than the fact they'll be required to use it. Focus on the ways this tool will:

  • Save time
  • Keep residents in the loop on all happenings in the community
  • Bring convenience to tasks like reserving amenities and paying dues and fees
  • Increase community engagement and help build them build relationships with one another
  • Reduce the number of tools they need to use to stay updated

3). Over-Communicate

Have you ever sent an email to a community about an upcoming event, only to hear several residents say they never heard about it? That can be frustrating, which is why you need to over-communicate to residents to ensure they’ll hear the message, and that they’ll take the necessary actions. Be sure to communicate in a variety of different ways, such as email, text, phone calls, flyers, direct mailers, and community meetings.

4). Provide Training

When rolling out new technology to your community, you’ll likely have three different groups of residents:

  • Group 1: those who are excited about it and will learn how to use it on their own.
  • Group 2: those who are willing to do some research to get the tool setup.
  • Group 3: residents who will avoid using it until someone reaches out and shows them exactly what they need to do to get setup.

That’s why it’s important that you cater training to each of these groups. Make sure you’re sending out communications promoting the why (i.e. features and benefits) to the first group. Share online documentation and help videos for those who prefer self-learning. For the last group, offer to host in-person training sessions at the community that will walk residents through everything from setting up your account and logging in to making payments and requesting amenities.

5). Offer Prizes

Want people to start using the tool? Incentivize them. Offer random prizes throughout the implementation and adoption phase to encourage usage. Ideas include:

  • Movie tickets to the first five residents who accept their invitations and create an account
  • Gift cards to the first 10 residents to make online dues and fees payments
  • Party allowance to a random resident who booked an amenity online
  • Coffee gift cards for random residents who setup recurring payments

Be sure to promote the winners so residents know that by actively using the tool, they too can be eligible for awesome prizes. Find ways to offer cheap prizes consistently throughout the first several months to keep your costs down, and your residents incentivized to use the tool.

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