Staff training comes first
Report by Kenneth Ko
Grooming staff to give quality service is an ongoing exercise
IN A SERVICE-ORIENTED business such as property management, the quality of staff can make the difference between success and failure.
Training programmes are an integral part of operations for property managers who demand the best from their employees.
Sino Group associate director Sunny Yeung said good customer service was the key to success.
He said the company emphasised training to enhance customer service. The group hired an external consultant in 2002 to train its property management staff and further enhance service standards, and the second round in the training programme, designed for all frontline staff, was under way.
'Quality service and expanding service scope will be the industry trend,' Mr Yeung said. 'After all, quality staff are important to the success of the business.'
The group's Sino Property Management Academy provides a comprehensive training for employees joining the industry.
Jones Lang LaSalle's in-house training programmes emphasise interpersonal learning and knowledge-sharing.
Experienced and service-oriented employees follow a one-week intensive training course to become trainers and pass on what they have learnt to other employees.
Eric Lee, head of management solutions for Hong Kong and regional director at Jones Lang LaSalle, said it was becoming increasingly difficult to find suitable staff in Hong Kong's highly competitive working environment.
Investing in people was essential, he said, and this meant allocating more resources to training. 'We are in the service industry. Our people are the key component, so we must put in resources to develop our talent,' he said.
The training programme, designed by the customer service and training committee, is conducted at two levels: in the classroom, where trainees are trained to be what the company calls 'angels' or trainers; and on-site, where they share their knowledge with their peers.
Jones Lang LaSalle has 3,000 staff in the property management business. They work as cleaners, technicians and security guards, and have different educational backgrounds and experience levels. 'It's difficult to decide how to take the different backgrounds into consideration,' Mr Lee said. 'The angels must use what they learn in the classroom to train others.'
Rosa Ng, executive director of property management services at ISS EastPoint Facility Services, said property management was a 'people business', and that staff performance affected the quality of service and the degree of customer satisfaction.
Ms Ng said ISS EastPoint had a comprehensive training programme for its employees. This covered communication skills, crisis handling, and security and regulatory controls, among other things.
'We also have a mentor system, so that senior staff can share their experience to help other employees improve the standard of their service,' she said.
Alkin Kwong, vice-chairman and chief executive of Hong Yip Service, said the company was committed to staff training.
'Offering different professional training courses for employees ensures the continuous enhancement of staff and service quality,' he said.
Hong Yip's training centre provides a minimum of 16 hours of security training for newcomers. Other training courses cover ways to handle emergencies, managing a crisis, fire drills and occupational safety.