30 January 2020
Regional Manager, Hayley Harvey, has been working for FirstPort for nearly three and a half years. Last year she won the prestigious London Property Manager of the Year award at the Property Management Awards.
Here, Hayley tells us about her career and how she ensures she’s providing the best service she can for her customers.
Q: Tell us about your career and any highlights?
A: I started my career in Retail and I really enjoyed the customer service side of the job. I then moved into estate agency and fell in love with buildings and wanted to learn more. I completed a self-studying Home Inspection Diploma where I learnt all about how buildings are constructed, the regulations around them etc. – most of which I am still using to this day.
I started my career with FirstPort as a part-time Development Manager and was approached about the Regional Manager role last year. I’m now responsible for six developments across London, including the site I was Development Manager for previously, Jacobs Island.
In terms of career highlights, winning the industry award last year is pretty high up there. I’ve been in the industry for 12 years and the award was amazing recognition for the hard work I’ve put in to being the best Property Manager I can be. It was fantastic to get recognised in this way and, for me, is much more satisfying than any financial reward I could receive.
I feel I am at the peak of my career. I do a job that I love and I am recognised as being good at it – what more could I ask for?
Q: What’s the best thing about working in property management?
A: Definitely being able to mix my passion for properties and people. I also love the diversity of the job. One day I can be on site, the next day a training course, and then the next day meeting developer clients. No two days are ever the same and each day presents new challenges.
Q: What keeps you motivated?
A: When I go to a development and see it looking the best it can be – clean, tidy, and with well-presented staff. This is a reflection of my management and I take great pride in upholding the standards FirstPort expects. My team consistently get comments from residents about how nice their developments look and this makes me really proud.
I’ve lived in a leasehold property and I remember the frustrations with issues such as waste overflowing – often the simple things which are so easy to sort. As Property Managers we should be proactive in preventing these issues instead of being reactive to them.
Q: How have you developed relationships with your residents?
A: I deal with a really broad range of people – clients, residents, contractors and my team. I feel most comfortable when I’m interacting with residents.
In the Regional Manager role, I’m usually talking to residents about really big issues that have been escalated to me and I will always make sure I reassure them that they are being listened to and action is being taken. Only recently I have been dealing with a really bad leak in a property. The resident has understandably been quite anxious about it and I’ve been able to sit down with them and agree a plan of action. It’s so important that, as Property Managers, we show our customers that we care.
Q: How have you developed relationships with your clients?
A: I follow the same customer service principles with clients as customers, but with clients I often have to look at the development as a whole, and that’s where my buildings knowledge is really key. I have a strong technical knowledge that clients respect. They know I know my buildings as well as I know my customers and I think that gives them a lot of confidence in the service I can provide.
Q: Is there anything you’ve been involved in or seen within FirstPort that’s you’ve considered to be really innovative?
A: I’m really impressed by the systems FirstPort has in place to support Property Managers to do their job. For example, the property inspection app means we can do site inspections with a tablet making us much more agile. This also saves time as there’s no paperwork to do. It’s all done there and then and we can update our customers immediately via our online portal, Your Property Online.
FirstPort is a great advocate for colleagues learning from one another and sharing best practice. I am keen to set up more site swaps in my region and beyond, where Property Managers can shadow other high-performing Managers and get practical tips to take back to their developments.
Q: Any advice for someone looking for a career in property management?
A: Absolutely go for it. One of my friend’s sons was taken on as a Concierge at FirstPort and is now working his way up. Hands-on experience is essential in this industry, and even twelve years into my career I am continuously learning.
As Property Managers we should be proactive in preventing issues instead of being reactive to them.