What Employees Really Want from a Property Management Company
The multifamily industry has become very good at asking residents and prospects about what keeps them at a particular apartment community or entices them to another one. While we’re good at asking for this feedback, we often overlook requesting feedback from a very critical group of people: the property management company’s employees.
Two of the top five factors in resident satisfaction are “sense of community between the residents and staff” and “responsiveness and dependability of the team.” Residents and employers have high expectations from apartment community employees, but how often do we evaluate the expectations employees have of their employers or each other?
The Property Management Team OTTlook
Overall, employees are looking for Opportunity, Trust and Teamwork (OTT) from their property management employers. “More money” is commonly presumed to be the factor that motivates employees the most, however, according to the results of the 2013 Associate Surveys conducted by SatisFacts, the top factors that motivate on-site property management team members are:
- Opportunities to learn new things
- Authority to make decisions
- Management shows faith in their judgment
- Working on a team
- Helping others be successful
On the flip side, the top factors that prevent on-site team members from getting their job done are:
- Issues not addressed promptly
- Budgeting constraints
- Inconsistent direction
- Paperwork requirements
“Show me the money!” doesn’t top the list. In fact, it’s not even in the top five. Sure, it is a factor, just as rent increases are a factor when residents are evaluating renewing their lease. But the key factors are overwhelmingly focused on opportunity, trust, and teamwork.
Three Ways PMCs Can Build TLC
There are three things you can do today as a property management company to nurture dedicated employees and cultivate TLC (which your employees might be starved for):
- Education. At the top of the list is the desire to learn new things, so one of the most impactful investments a company can make is in the education of their staff. Whether it is building an in-house training department or utilizing online learning or tapping into the programs provided by the local apartment association, there is a learning solution for every budget.
- Trust Your Team. There’s a reason you hired the staff you have. Whether it was finding that can-do attitude or discovering someone who had the perfect mix of experience, you had a specific need and you filled it. You did your part, so now let them do theirs. Parameters and guidelines are important, but if you don’t trust your team to make decision there are really only two choices you can make: a) Educate them on the skills they need, or b) Hire a better fit.
- Provide the Tools Needed. Most often this comes in the form of answering questions promptly. Just as property teams are expected to respond to resident questions and concerns same day, supervisors should live by the same expectation. It’s nearly impossible to do your job well if the tools or information you need are not available. And if it’s a matter of not having the answers to the questions that are coming in, it may be time to establish some basic governing policies.
The success of any apartment community relies directly on the employees, and it’s critical to understand what matters most to those employees. If you haven’t taken the time lately to ask what is most important to them in their work, don’t assume you know. Ask. You may be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to gain even more loyalty from your employees and, ultimately, your residents.
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