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Retaining Leasing Associates in a Booming Job Market

Retaining Leasing Associates in a Booming Job Market

When you get down to it, an apartment management company faces few tasks more important than assembling and retaining strong leasing teams.

A property may have an unbeatable array of amenities and a much-desired location, but if it has trouble retaining high-performing leasing associates, it could struggle to attract prospects and keep current residents in the fold.

The challenge to retain the right associates is made even tougher by today's booming job market. With the national unemployment rate at a 50-year low, leasing associates have plenty of opportunities to move on to another job if they're unsatisfied with their current one.

So how can you motivate and retain top-notch leasing associates? Below are some suggestions.

  • Cover the basics. To start with, apartment operators have to make sure they're paying a competitive salary and offering good benefits. Medical insurance, personal time off, paid holidays, retirement plans, housing discounts and bonus programs are all components of a benefits package that will encourage team members to stick around.

  • Support them with the right technology. Great leasing agents are relationship-minded people. They thrive while interacting and connecting with others, and building a real rapport with prospects and current residents. This is what makes them love their jobs. 

    So to keep them around, operators should make sure leasing agents are able to focus their time on these personal interactions and are not tied to their desks with a ton of cumbersome data entry and lonely administrative tasks. The right technology can make these tasks remarkably efficient and can even allow agents to fill out guest cards while giving prospect tours or otherwise interacting with leads while away from their desks. Minimizing the amount of time your extroverted, active leasing agents have to sit in front of their desktops can be an important way to boost their job satisfaction.

  • Build a forward-thinking company culture. Millennials and Gen Z'ers, who make up such a high percentage of today's leasing agents, have grown up in a world of innovation. And they want to work for companies that embrace technology and are dedicated to being on the cutting edge. 

    To attract and retain today's leasing associates, your company should commit itself to being at the forefront of technology and innovation. Strive to be an organization that isn’t about doing things a certain way because that’s the way things have always been done. Show your potential hires and your current associates that your company is committed to being a leader in the multifamily industry and to enhancing the experience of its leasing agents.
  • Show them the path forward. An apartment operator should be clear from the very start of an employee's tenure about the opportunities for advancement and what the associate needs to do to earn promotions. Knowing they will have the chance to grow and move up the corporate ladder will make leasing agents more inclined to stay with your company for the long haul. And today's technology allows operators to more closely track a leasing associate's performance and communicate to them in a clear and transparent way how they are doing and what they need to improve on. 

  • Communicate, don't isolate. If your company is lackadaisical about communication, it's all too easy for leasing agents to feel isolated from the corporate office and company leadership. This in turn can chip away at the satisfaction and bond they feel with their employer.  

    In this day and age, communication is paramount. Regular company-wide conference calls, e-newsletters and a robust internal communication platform are a couple of ways to keep leasing associates in the loop about corporate plans and make them feel a part of something bigger. Company executives should also make a point of regularly visiting their properties and meeting with their onsite teams.  

    And communication absolutely cannot be a one-way street. Listening to the feedback of leasing associates is critical; it helps them feel invested in the company to know that their voices are heard, and their input can often be the springboard to operational improvements.

In the end, keeping good leasing associates around doesn't just happen. It takes commitment and a multi-pronged approach. By taking the steps outlined above, operators can significantly improve their chances of retaining high-performing leasing agents.

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  • Great tips here, and I would add the importance of a non-boring vision. People want to work for a purpose - they want to be able to tell their friends that their company is doing exciting things. Giving them a sense of purpose and a company mission can keep the excitement level and job satisfaction.

  • Anne Sadovsky

    Great article Ian. In many decades of property management, I still have a dilemma. There are too few positions for a fabulous 'sales' leasing person to 'move up the ladder.' I find it rare that a super sales personality adapts well to a management position. Once in a while, it works, but too often that 'people' person feels stifled, bored, unstimulated. What we need is more 'leasing director' Senior leasing positions, titles, and salaries. Perhaps it will help us keep the the round pegs out the square holes.

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