As our industry reopens, labor shortages are a huge concern for multifamily operators. We see the headlines daily:
“Employers struggling to fill jobs.”
“Sorry, we are short staffed.”
In today’s competitive environment where the “Help Wanted” and “Now Hiring” banners line our communities, even people who are “happy” at work may be considering a change.
Employee turnover can be stressful, expensive, and time consuming. It creates a strain on the workforce, and our customers feel the direct impact. According to figures from the National Apartment Association*, the annual turnover rate of multifamily employees stands at 33 percent—that’s significantly higher than the average national rate of 22 percent across all industries, which raises the questions, “Why are people leaving good jobs?” “Why are we waiting until employees give us notice to figure out how to save them?” and “Are we giving our good employees a reason to stay?”
Being a great leader and finding ways to retain our talent comes down to a few key strategies:
Train for Success
A Glassdoor survey found that an organization with a strong onboarding process improves new hire retention by 82 percent and productivity by 70 percent. On the flip side, only 12 percent of employees strongly agree that their company did a great job onboarding them.
Onboarding and continued training are key to helping your employees feel like they understand their role at your organization, your company culture, and what the company core values are. When an employee feels prepared and supported, they start to feel invested in their property and the company. Invested employees are the best advocates of a company’s culture and core values.
Let Me be Your Mentor
In many organizations the lack of a clear career path for a property management employee is due to a lack of meaningful mentorships. Through your employee check in, you can create opportunities to pair up an individual that may need mentorship to help them achieve their goals. You can also identify when an employee may be ready to be a mentor, themselves. If you do not provide mentorship or provide a path for your employee to become a mentor, you may create a disconnect between their view on growth within the organization. Are you asking these key questions?
- Do you feel like you are meeting your development and career goals?
- How can I help?
Through this line of questions, you can open the discussion about how you can help them reach their goals directly or match them up with a mentor within the organization.
Salary and benefits are a key motivator, but what else is important to your employees? By taking time to know your employees personal and professional goals, you can create meaningful career paths and loyalty. Are you asking these key questions?
- How happy are you about working here?
- What would need to happen for you to stay happy and engaged within the company?
- How can I help?
Sometimes an employee may find that the next step in their path from a Leasing Agent is to be promoted to an Assistant Manager, however, through a deep dive discussion you may realize that their passion is more of the marketing side of the business and the next step in your organization may be a role in the Marketing Department.
We Hear You
Prioritizing regular check-ins in a one-on-one environment, sending regular surveys to gauge what is important to your employees, and having a focus group that helps them feel heard are just a few ways that give employees a voice in your organization. Are you asking these key questions?
- Do you have any concerns about your job I might be able to help with?
- What do you like most about working here?
- How do you feel about the company’s future overall?
This is where “All Employee Meetings” work well. Announcing new implementations and other changes well in advance, giving employees time to work through how changes will affect them, letting them feel like they can communicate their concerns, and being flexible if those concerns are valid and some realignment is needed.
We have all felt it. In our need to be “on it” for our residents, co-workers, and investors, we burn the candle at both ends and soon we simply burn out. Some ways to help avoid burn out is by improving communication about where the true priorities are. Allowing for frequent check-ins to be sure you are providing guidance and the tools needed to help your employee be successful. Being flexible with deadlines whenever possible also allows the employee to know that if unexpected roadblocks interfere with their deadlines, you will be open to discuss a change. Are you asking these key questions?
- How is your work life balance?
- How is your stress level?
- How can I help?
In order to be an industry leader, ask yourself hard questions and be prepared for challenging answers. As Rob Fetzer, President/COO of PEG Companies says, “…leadership is all about people. All too often, we focus on the “doing” part of our lives or jobs. But in reality, if we are to be a leader, we need to focus on the people in our lives. This takes time, patience, listening, genuine concern, and always helping others be the best they can be by helping them succeed.”
*Source: AppFolio “5 Ways to boost employee retention in property management”
** Source: Jhana “Retention question guide for 1 on 1s”