When Cindy Clare became CEO of Kettler Management, she assembled the best senior management team she could with people she knew would support her.

“Some of them were here previously,” she says. “Some have been promoted within Kettler and some had worked with me before. “

Although the McLean, Va.–based company tries to promote from within whenever it’s possible, Clare says she’s not opposed to looking outside as well if her best bet isn't an internal hire.

“As we grew very quickly, we needed to bring in people from the outside but a lot of them have been promoted from within,” she says.

Making sure her employees are ready for the challenge is the biggest part of being able to hire internally as the company expands. Helping an employee to develop a career path and giving them the skills to meet their goal is one way the company is able to retain good talent, she says.

“People need to know there are opportunities for them and how to get those opportunities,” Clare says.

Village Green University
While new employees learn the ropes of the company, veteran associates are also able to continue their education with companies through various training programs.

Village Green has developed an entire school, dubbed Village Green University, dedicated to training their employees, both new and old.

The company offers more than 50 online classes and about 75 video and webinars for team members to take advantage of.

Succession planning and career planning are concepts the Farmington Hills, Mich.,-based Village Green team is constantly developing with their employees,COO Diane Batayeh said.

She keeps tabs on all of the people she oversees and frequently asks a critical question: Who would replace them if they were to get a promotion?

“Knowing all your people and who is everybody’s No. 2 is important,” she says. “Grooming that next person who is going to fill my shoes when I get promoted or retire is a way to ensure that VG [Village Green] is never left short.”

Try Something New
Clare, who has more than 28 years of experience, says her eagerness to learn was what took her the furthest in her career.

“I always stress the importance of continuous learning and the willingness to take risks,” she says. “The willingness to try something different is (part of the it factor for job candidates).”

Charleston, S.C.-based Greystar also emphasizes the importance of continuous training of current employees and encourages them to apply internally for open positions, Strategic Staffing and Recruiting Manager Missy Riley noted.

“We want to give every internal employee that opportunity to interview for new positions,” Riley says. “We have a structured interview process. We have a policy that recruiters will reach out and if it’s not a match up at that time, then we encourage the hiring manager to get them into a position where they can grow for the next opportunity.”

Being open to allowing employees to seek new opportunities has proved to be successful, Riley noted.

With such a large company, there is constant movement within the company because people are always trying to learn new things. And as the company grows and acquires more properties to manage, the opportunities grow as well, Riley says.

“If your experience is in student living, you can go into a lease-up opportunity or you could go do something else and you can do that because of the variety and diversity (of properties) that we have (in our portfolio),” Riley says.

Lindsay Machak is an associate editor for Multifamily Executive. Connect with her on Twitter @LMachak.