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Overcoming Resistance to Implementing PropTech

representation of a manager overcoming resistance to change

Twenty years ago, no one had a smartphone. Ten years ago, most keyless entry systems relied on electronic key cards. Now, most people in the US have a smartphone, and they can use those smartphones as a key for their home, car, and work. Technology continues to grow exponentially, and property managers must keep up to continue running profitable communities.

Even better than keeping up is staying ahead of the curve. The only way to stay ahead is by adopting technology earlier than your competition. However, the multifamily industry traditionally likes traditions. It’s difficult to embrace new technology when facing massive pushback from team members who want to keep doing things the way they’ve always done them.

Understanding the Importance of PropTech

First and foremost, owners and managers in the multifamily industry must understand how essential harnessing technology is to a successful future. The adoption of property management software is no longer a luxury. It’s a necessity. When speaking about maintenance management in particular, you shouldn't underestimate the impact of digital tools.

Studies have shown that embracing technology in property management leads to significant efficiency gains. According to a report by the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC), properties can save up to 10% in overall costs and see a 30% reduction in maintenance response times by implementing technology-driven solutions.

That means the right software will improve the ratio of your operating expenses versus gross income, resulting in a higher NOI. Better yet, this is a win-win-win situation. When technology helps optimize multifamily operations, the owner earns more money (see above), the manager's workload lessens (less busy work, more time helping people), and residents are happier (faster maintenance response times).

Given all the benefits, it seems inexplicable to avoid integrating PropTech into your operations. The problem comes from people resisting change.

Why Do People Resist Change?

According to change management guru Rick Maurer, there are three main reasons for resistance to change in the workplace.

They Don’t Understand It

When people don’t understand what changes the new technology will bring, they will be scared. Their fears come in many shapes and sizes. Some might fear they will lose control of their environment. Another might have a fear of being displaced by the change. For yet another, the lack of certainty feels like going on a hike while blindfolded, that each step of the way can be smooth or disastrous.

They Don’t Like It

People are creatures of habit. Even if technicians understand the change, they will resist if they feel that change will damage their working environment. They might question their own ability to adapt to the change or worry about losing face and looking incompetent. On the other hand, they fear an increase in their workload. No one wants to work more for the same pay.

They Don’t Trust Management

How you have implemented changes in the past will affect how your team reacts to new changes. If a manager has introduced changes suddenly in the past, and enforced it like an autocrat, then their team might be wary of all changes. On the flip side, a manager that includes their team when making the decision and considers their feelings and concerns will have a much easier time with change management.

The solution to all of these problems is clear and open communication. When people understand what’s coming and feel they will benefit from the change, they will not resist it.

Why Do People in the Multifamily Industry Resist Change?

When it comes to multifamily maintenance and operations, the underlying reasons for resistance remain the same but surface in specific ways.

They are Scared of the Learning Curve

Hard-to-use software platforms increase that feeling of not understanding. If a new maintenance app feels overwhelming and esoteric, people will not want to touch it with a ten-foot pole.

Alleviate this concern by choosing an easy-to-use multifamily maintenance software that prioritizes user-friendliness. With the right design, technicians can understand interfaces intuitively.

Even if the software is easy to understand, it’s still important for an app to offer clear documentation and comprehensive training resources. Additionally, the ideal provider will offer free and unlimited support to address any questions or concerns that may arise during the implementation process.

They Don’t Want Another App

“I have to install another app on my phone?” “I have to remember another username and password?” “I hate technology.”

Some people are technophobes but have good reasons for being that way. Managing multiple usernames and passwords can be a hassle. Especially if the app logs out automatically after a certain amount of downtime. It’s important for multifamily maintenance software to implement Single Sign-On (SSO) capabilities. SSO enables users to access multiple systems and applications with just one login credential.

Besides streamlining the login process, maintenance management software should not log technicians out automatically. When they start working in the morning, they don’t want any new obstacles preventing them from getting down to what they do best: fixing things.

They’ve Had Bad Integration Experiences in the Past

Sometimes property managers have already tried to implement a maintenance management software app. Sometimes apps don’t work well with a primary property management system. This issue leads to fragmented data and inefficient workflows—the exact opposite of what the new software was supposed to do!

When choosing a multifamily maintenance platform, it’s crucial for the software to integrate seamlessly with your primary management system. A seamless integration ensures that all relevant data syncs in real time. With real-time data, managers will have a holistic view of their operations and be able to make data-driven decisions.

Staying Ahead of the Curve

No one doubts the importance of implementing PropTech into multifamily maintenance and operations. The benefits are manifest and multiple. It’s the resistance to change that will keep your properties from growing. To stay ahead, owners and managers must communicate the benefits of the new technology clearly, be open to feedback, and, most importantly, choose the right software!