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One Size Does Not Fit All When It Comes to Employee Turnover

Pay increases. Referral incentives. Expanded benefits. Apprentice programs. Signing bonuses. Our managers and human resources teams have been working so hard to find, entice, and secure applicants and new hires. The labor shortage is being felt in every market, and short-staffed teams are doing their best to carry on. While it’s important to continue to be creative and support the hiring process, it’s equally important to be mindful of your current team and all that they are doing to manage your business. According to the Q2 2021 Swift Bunny Turnover Report, the average overall employee turnover was 47%, with some maintenance and leasing positions exceeding 50%. While all employee categories represented by the Swift Bunny Index agreed they would like to see improvement in compensation, incentives, and advancement opportunities, there were some differences in what mattered most to Maintenance Team Members and Leasing Team Members. Maintenance: What Matters Most Service team members shared that they generally enjoy good relationships with their co-workers and feel like they know who to reach out to when and if they need assistance. However, a consistent source of frustration is a sense that their contributions are taken for granted and are not recognized or appreciated. This lack of perceived value is reinforced when they are left out of internal company communication or when they have to wait days or weeks for a response to a question or request. What you can do: Say thank you. Acknowledge the critical contribution the maintenance team provides in their serv......
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Keep Talking. Employees are Listening.

       As we look toward entering a new phase of management during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have continued to survey multifamily employees to see how they are feeling about the ever-evolving situation. Data from the Swift Bunny COVID-19 Employee Check-In Survey shows that employees' feeling of safety in carrying out their responsibilities tracks with the level of communication and leadership visibility they are experiencing. In other words, the more leaders communicate directly with their teams, the greater the employees' feeling of safety in completing their work.  In speaking with leaders of 30 property management companies, there is a universal perception that it's time to take the foot off the gas pedal regarding company communication, now that we're through the initial tidal wave of change that arose due to the pandemic.  "We're turning into Zoombies!" commented one employee, which perfectly represents the fatigue many team members are feeling in regard to the volume of meetings we all seem to be having. However, while I may agree that the quantity of meetings may need to be toned down, the quality of communication is still critically important. Polling conducted with hundreds of multifamily employees during webinars over the past few weeks shows a shift from general feelings of uncertainty to concerns about how their communities are addressing or planning to address re-opening. In addition, beginning on May 18th, the data from the Swift Bunny COVID-19 Employee Check-In Survey has shown the rating trending downward on the topic of, "I feel well-informed ......
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How to Empower and Keep Good Employees

How to Empower and Keep Good Employees
In the crazy world of property management many of us struggle with keeping and empowering our team members. Throughout my years in property management I been asked how I am able to keep long term employees. After sitting down with team members and really looking into myself I have come up with eight key factors that many of us have either overlooked or simply forgotten about.   Think Positive Everyone should understand the power of positive psychology, look at every situation as a learning opportunity. Your outlook in business and life is shaped by your thought process playing a heavy hand in the way you approach every situation. Negative thoughts breed a pessimistic attitude influencing not only your behavior but also that your team. Everything starts with you, think positive! Often this can be accomplished by shaping your thoughts with your personal “self talk”.  These are those endless thoughts, words and phrases that you say to yourself throughout the day. These come from applying logic and reason, while others come from your bias, perceptions, judgments, and interpretations of information or sometimes more importantly the lack of information. Positive thinking will lead to optimism for yourself and in turn your team.   Honesty, Transparency and Trust Being honest and transparent with employees is essential to building trust. When your team trusts you, they will go the extra mile for you and the company. At times it can be uncomfortable communicating with your team, be honest and as transparent as possible. Transparency can be ......
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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......
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The Importance of Putting Your Customers Second

 You’ve heard it. I’ve heard it. It seems to be the motto of all service industries: “The customer is always right.” What if I told you that this directive was given to his employees by Harry Gordon Selfridge. Of Selfridge Department Store. In London, England. In 1909. I don’t know about you, but I’d say it’s time to reboot our approach. And I don’t mind stealing concepts from England again. In fact, IMHO, Sir Richard Branson has delivered the best motto for service industries for our time: “The way you treat your employees is the way they’ll treat your customers.” Consider this: resident turnover has consistently fluctuated between 51% and 59% for over a decade, according to NAA’s Annual Income and Expense Report. As a result, many property management companies have developed finely tuned resident retention programs that may include service guarantees, additional amenities, unique resident events, and more. Property management companies have been showing their residents the love! ... by expecting their employees to go above and beyond: Response times to calls and emails, service with a smile, online reputation management, mental gymnastics to reinvent the pool party, and on and on.  The result? Resident turnover remains between 51% and 59%. My friends, we are living the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Focus on resident retention has not moved the needle the way we expected it to. Yes, there are success stories out there, but not consistently and not in great volume. It’s time t......
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Is That the Pilot?? Creating a Culture of Success Part Three

Is That the Pilot?? Creating a Culture of Success Part Three
Remember the video of an airline forcibly removing a passenger from a flight that had been overbooked? In the aftermath of that public relations debacle many passengers who fly that airline (like me) were left wondering, "Hmmm....could that happen to me??" In other words, am I safe with this airline? Can I trust that they will honor the ticket I've purchased from them? Then, there was another situation that occurred when a pilot from this airline showed up to her flight dressed in civilian clothing and not in her pilot uniform. I can imagine the thoughts in the mind of the passengers and crew as they saw someone who looked like a passenger enter the cockpit. I know what my thoughts would be! BUT, IT GETS BETTER! This pilot then started what was described as a "long, bizarre speech" on the aircraft's PA system that referenced Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and a comment directed towards an interracial couple seated near her. Here is what one passenger Tweeted while this was happening... Randy Reiss @undeadsinatra So, y'all. I'm shaking right now. I just left my ----- flight 455 'cos the captain demonstrated that she was not mentally in a safe space. The passengers on that flight did not feel safe with her being the pilot because they did not trust her ability to fly the plane. The foundation of a high-performance team, your department, your community, your region, your portfolio, your company are based on the same things that made passengers want to get off that flight; the......
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Identifying Threats from Within: Annual Screening of Employees

Identifying Threats from Within: Annual Screening of Employees

Managing a successful business is no easy feat when you factor in risks such as competition, inventory and staffing. What many businesses don’t take into account is the liabilities they may face from current staff who may have been involved in illicit activities outside of work. Employees with inclinations towards activities that violate company policy rely upon the fact that their job will stop looking into their background once they are hired. Annual updates of personnel records that include the same background check you perform upon hiring is something that many companies overlook, but can have a significant positive impact on overall operations.

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Use It or Lose It, People!

Use it or lose it. If you have 10 PTO days each year and only use 2, then at the end of the year, you have lost 8 precious days. If the line item expense in your budget is never touched, then the next year, it generally is dropped. If the leftovers sitting wrapped in Saran wrap never are reheated and spoil, then the chance to skip a night of cooking is gone. If you squirreled away several hundreds of tax-deferred dollars in your Health Savings Account and December 31st comes and goes without expending them, then they are lost – poof! Just like that. If your company has monies available but are never invested, then you must pay taxes on them. What does this mean? It means you have wasted opportunities! Use it or lose it is a very tangible result of having wasted opportunities throughout the year. As this year winds down and we prepare for the new one to start, hold a few coffees or breaks with your “people”, your Managers, your Assistants, your Maintenance Supervisors, your Leasing Specialists and find out where you can use it before it is lost: those opportunities to better your customer service, to better your work product and turnovers, your residents’ move in and move out experiences, where your dollars should really be going. Find out those opportunities to make a difference for the people in your organization: an extra Bonus Day off, more recognition of someone’s efforts, time off to give back to t......
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A Christmas Message From Mr. Potter

A Christmas Message From Mr. Potter
As I sit here dictating this letter to you, I must admit to having some mixed feelings. On the one hand, I want to congratulate you on choosing to do business the way I would. I love it when you raise prices prior to a "sale," so that the customer thinks he is getting a bargain. I think it is terrific business when you coerce a customer to tell you what she wants to spend, under the guide of "helping her", only to then raise the price of the good or service to what she told you she wanted to spend.   I have spoken with your sales employees who have been taught by you to lie and cheat to push products and services on your customers. I have visited your real estate developments, driven your cars, eaten your food and worn clothing that was made as cheaply as possible to increase your profits.I am amazed that you have invested more of your resources in something known as "search engine optimization" (quite frankly, I am not sure what that means) while you seemingly reduce or eliminate investing in your employees and customers. It is fantastic to see you get more excited about a new software upgrade, computer system, building method, and/or marketing campaign than you do about your very own people. I enjoy seeing your people stuck in an endless trap of non-advancement, while still instilling in them a sense that they should feel privileged and honored to work for your......
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Would Your Company Hire Richard Branson?

Would Your Company Hire Richard Branson?
Have you heard of Richard Branson? My guess is that you have. Because you know, he is only one of the most successful businesspeople in the world.    How many people do you know that started their own record store, recording label, airline, space tourism company, and other ventures? He is estimated to be worth almost five billion dollars … and oh, by the way, he is also a knight in the United Kingdom for his contributions to entrepreneurship; so he is technically, “Sir” Richard Branson.    Not bad for someone without a college degree.    That’s right, one of the most successful entrepreneurs and humanitarians today does not have a college degree. Which means that for some of you, Richard Branson would not qualify to be a high level leader, manager or executive in your company.    There is a company that I know of that is moving towards requiring their community managers to have college degrees; which means that Richard Branson, he of the “I spoke to NAA a few years ago because I built a business empire worth billions of dollars!”, would not be eligible to manage a 150 unit community for this company.   Does this make sense to you? It doesn’t to me.    #SMH   Listen, I’m not criticizing a college education or minimizing it’s importance or value in today’s world. What I am criticizing though, and challenging ,is the belief held by some companies that ONLY employees with formal education are eligible to move on and up; while th......
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