Training Top 125 Best Practice: Gables Residential’s Performance Analytics Training

To ensure successful adoption of its business intelligence benchmarking software platform, the company held ongoing training for managers and developed a plan for sustained training for added groups, new associates, and newly promoted associates.

Gables Residential is a real estate investment trust that specializes in the development, construction, ownership, acquisition, financing, and management of multi-family and mixed-use (apartments and retail) communities. One of the main challenges in the industry is finding accurate methods to measure performance and take focused, meaningful, and sustainable action on those findings.

The company’s Performance Analytics Program is a business intelligence benchmarking software platform that is unique to the multi-family residential world. As an early adopter in the industry, Gables Residential has been able to customize its specific system to help the company drive strategic decision-making and performance and revenue management. Gables Residential introduced its Performance Analytics Program in August 2018, beginning with senior leadership and backed by the heads of Operations and Asset Management. Orientation training for all regional and community managers was the next step, as this program ultimately impacts the entire portfolio. To ensure adoption, the company held ongoing training to build competency and create new habits among the managers and developed a plan for sustained training for added groups, new associates, and newly promoted associates.

Program Details

The intention was to layer thought processes together with decision-making as each learner’s functional competency within the system improved over time. Gables Residential conducted training in four consecutive phases:

  • Orientation
  • Functionality and Terminology Recall
  • Goal Setting
  • Goal Measurement

Training & Development (T&D) partnered with regional VPs and managers to coordinate the workshops and messaging to their respective team members. This positioned leaders as sponsors of the program and increased accountability to attend and engage in the workshops.

T&D held quarterly workshops for each regional group both in-person and via the company’s Live Online Learning platform. Each session was formatted as an interactive workshop, beginning with a Live Online demonstration in Orientation, which included an overview and delivery of learning resources. The next session, framed as a virtual scavenger hunt, focused on recalling functionality and terminology. The third session guided learners through spotting strengths and opportunities and had each team develop a three-month goal based on these findings. The final session had learners evaluate their goal and prove it through the metrics. Sustained training utilizes an on-demand, interactive format and is supported by systems-oriented and individualized coaching sessions as needed.

Contrary to the typical single-point-of-training characteristic of most software rollouts, the Performance Analytics training program reinforces learning over time in an effort to ensure that the skills and their subsequent actions are sustainable for all learners. In each workshop, participants have time to practice and reinforce the skills they are building, while motivating them to continue practicing to prepare for the next workshop session. The approach also builds in the goal of increasing revenue by leading up to the goal-setting and evaluation activities.

Workshops continue both for new employees and newly added assets. Many of these are owned by third-party affiliates, who are beginning to request Performance Analytics for their assets. Gables Residential has leveraged the data from this program for other large-scale business decisions, such as the recent launch of its new Associate Incentive Program.

The SVP of Operations and the Head of Asset Management provided sponsorship and messaging to the VP group, which gave this program the legs it needed to gain attention and momentum. Asset management team members attended all orientation sessions in their respective regions and took the lead as subject matter experts as the program moved forward. The VPs and regional leadership were held accountable for ensuring that all team members attended the workshops, and the SVP of Operations held meetings where she modeled the use of the Performance Analytics tool to evaluate individual VP performance, establishing the importance and relevance of this program to everyday operations.

Results

Performance Analytics now is used on every bi-weekly revenue management call and requires that regional, community, and revenue managers complete their due diligence in Performance Analytics prior to these calls. It originally was introduced for only owned assets, but it has since been added to 11 third-party contracts based on the successful use of the program.

In addition, the platform allowed for evaluation of Gables Residential’s new Associate Incentive Program, where the pilot group’s performance was compared to similar assets in a non-pilot group. Rooted in the positive findings through Performance Analytics, the company now has fully launched the Incentive Program. Through the first half of 2019, it saw an increased revenue comparison of 22.8 percent growth for the pilot group vs. 14.7 percent growth in the non-pilot group. Gables Residential saw an overall revenue increase of 2.6 percent year over year.

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