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EMPLOYEE TURNOVER: The Epidemic Can Be Your Opportunity

The pain of employee turnover is real!  You already know the costs of recruiting, interviewing, and training.  But, did you know that in the multifamily industry,  every 10% of employee turnover results in 3% resident turnover?  Consider our industry’s average turnover is over 30% and…do the math.  Got your attention?    Turnover is not an “HR Problem” – it’s our problem.  Consider:


  • 20% of turnover happens in the first 45 days.
  • 33% of new hires look for a new job within their first six months.
  • Average cost to replace an employee approaches 20% of salary.


I recently heard a statistic that 50% of hiring decisions are hiring mistakes. The past ten years of my career have been in training and I can spot these mistakes over the course of a training class.  I know – you’re short staffed and the labor market is tight.  We can’t afford to hire mistakes.  Hire for the long haul.  Don’t “settle” to fill a position.


70% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experience great onboarding. Imagine the stability for your residents if employees stayed three years…then, imagine if they stay beyond three years. Let’s come back to reality and talk about how we can solve the epidemic:




  • Create an intern program for college/trade school students.
  • Host a Career Fair at your property. Could your favorite resident be a great addition to the team?
  • Adjacent industries– Your favorite restaurant server could be a fantastic Leasing Consultant!




  • Don’t be quick to screen! Coach-ability and a hunger to learn often count far more than experience. Give non-industry candidates a shot! Host an Open House so you can meet casually.
  • Court top candidates to spend time on site as part of the recruiting process– they will better understand the role and future co-workers can provide feedback.




I had a Manager in orientation who told me that she cried three times on her first day on the job.  Tom Hanks said “There’s no crying in baseball” and there should be no crying on your first day on the job.  (In this industry, we all cry at some point, but let’s hope it’s much later!).  Avoid first-day tears with great onboarding.


Great onboarding starts with PRE-BOARDING –things you do before their first day. Your new hire was probably interviewing for other jobs – strengthen their decision to join your team by doing simple things like sending a welcome card signed by the team or sending their new hire paperwork in advance.  Meet to discuss their first week:  dress code, where to park, what training will look like.   


The actual onboarding process is much more strategic and has more layers. It is so important that it deserves its own blog post (stay tuned!).  Onboarding is more than having your new rockstar shadow a co-worker and take Fair Housing.  Good onboarding programs span (at least) the 90 days.  Your program needs to go beyond “training” to include:


  • Orientation to your company/culture
  • Their position (and opportunities for advancement)
  • The property and sub-market
  • Opportunities for them to ask questions and receive feedback
  • Opportunities for them to ask questions and receive feedback*


*Hint: I said this twice because it is that important! I’ve seen too many new hires leave because of lack of communication. Make the time and you’ll see the rewards.


Rethinking how you interview and onboard employees is your opportunity to cure the turnover crisis!

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

YES to all of this, Shawn!

Also, I laughed out loud at "find new fishing holes!"

Great post; I look forward to the others in the series. Thanks for sharing!

  Kara Rice
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I just posted this article on our Faebook page Shawn! These stats are really incredible and the finding new fishing holes section had me chuckle too (but it's great info)!

  Lilah Poltz
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Great article. I agree the industry needs to start thinking outside of the box as they are missing valuable candidates. Though you didn't dismiss training, I really think it should be emphasized a little more. Training should be embedded in onboarding and not just one class, but an ongoing structure. If you are going to recruit from outside, you need to have solid training, mentoring, and coaching program. If you have an amazing culture, these should already be present. We need to think of onboarding as a longer-term strategy with management benchmarks of 45, 60, 90, and 6 months at least. The more an employee feels they are growing and succeeding (not just as an individual, but as a part of something bigger), the more likely they are to stay. Thank you for your article!


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