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The Learning & Development Nerd

Consistently exploring ways to improve performance in the workplace through employee and organizational development.




So, it’s Sunday morning and I’m getting my church on when the collection plate comes around. Some parishioners place nothing in the plate at all, some place a few folded up bills in the plate, some confidentially place an unmarked envelope or folded check… and then there’s those that place a check face-up with their name on it and the amount they’ve given written bold for all to see (accompanied by a smug little grin). No judgment, but it reminds me of a concept I enjoy sharing called “conspicuous consumption and conspicuous conservation.”



The concept of conspicuous consumption was something I read about a couple years back and refers to the need for people to show other people that they are spending a lot of money on their things in an effort to enhance their social prestige. The handbag has to have the right pattern and/or tag, the car has to have the right hood ornament, the watch has to be the right brand. Example – I would never spend the money that I spend on a certain brand of shoes if the red soles didn’t SCREAM to others exactly what brand they are.


Yes, I am guilty.


But when I read the article about conspicuous consumption, I immediately came up with my own term (it may have been coined

by someone else in the past, but on that day I made it up) – Conspicuous Conservation. You see – just as much as (some) humans like others to know how much they are spending, humans like other humans to know how much they are saving.


This concept became abundantly clear to me on my morning commute when I found myself behind a Toyota Prius with vanity plates that read “BATCAR” and had stickers on it professing its low gas consumption and oh-so-non-existent-carbon footprint. After I nearly puked, I had to giggle and admit that what the Prius owner was doing wasn’t any different than my name-brand obsession.


So here is the question to you as property management professionals… What opportunities can you provide to your residents to allow for their conspicuous conservation? If your humans want other humans to know that they are saving the earth, how can you make it abundantly obvious?


Some communities are providing recycling opportunities, but I say give your residents a sign to put on their door that says “I recycled today.” Some communities are providing free parking for low-emission vehicles, but I say give your residents a reserved parking spot for doing so and make it clear that it’s because of their low-e choice. If your community has a newsletter, praise the conservationists openly and encourage the behavior in others. Pose conservation questions to your residents on the community Facebook page and allow them to share their good habits publicly.


Not all residents will take the opportunity to brag – but for those who want the (“Oh it’s the least I can do”) attention, then you may just increase your resident retention a bit.


What other opportunities can you provide to boost your residents’ ego?

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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Love the ideas! I remember reading that people who choose hybrids wanted the cars themselves to look different; which is one reason why the Prius sold more than other "conventional" looking cars. I think using what motivates people to encourage the type of behavior that we want is smart...and it works!

  Rommel Anacan
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

How about a big banner.. "I paid my rent on time!" HA! No seriously, love this and my brains a spinning for ideas!!

  Stephanie Graves
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Don't forget. "I am a good resident and I never complain....BUT..."

  Rommel Anacan

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