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Why are Employee Turnover and Resident Turnover So Closely Linked?

Why are Employee Turnover and Resident Turnover So Closely Linked?

Seasoned multifamily leaders know from experience when an apartment community suffers employee turnover in one or more key positions, such as the Manager or Maintenance Supervisor, increased resident turnover will likely follow.

Why the connection?

It boils down to these three factors: focus, competence, and familiarity.

Focus 
When an apartment community is plagued with high employee turnover, the focus of the remaining staff shifts from delivering dependably good service to putting out fires. A team that is short-staffed is by necessity operating in survival mode. They’re like physicians in an emergency room forced to give their attention only to the highest priority crises. They don’t have the luxury of concentrating on things like improving the resident experience; they simply have to make choices based on the fundamental question, “What do we need to do to get through the day?”

This is a vicious cycle that is hard to break. Operating in survival mode is so exhausting and tough on morale that it can easily cause the remaining team members to burn out. And the employee turnover continues.

Competence
By definition, a high-turnover workforce is a less experienced workforce. Newly-hired employees may be highly qualified and terrific people, but they lack the expertise and experience of more seasoned staff. While newly hired associates may be well-meaning, smart, and friendly, they don’t have the depth of knowledge that can more quickly lead to good service outcomes for your residents. As a result, your team’s overall ability to effectively serve your residents is compromised.

If you’ve ever worked alongside a Maintenance Supervisor or Technician who’s been at their community longer than most of the residents have, you know exactly what I’m talking about. There is immeasurable value in that history and experience, and that is lost when employees quit. Resident service suffers because of it.

Familiarity
Customers in any business prefer working with people they know. They like service providers who know their story. This is especially true in apartment community management because a person’s home is so much more personal to them than their auto insurance, for example. Ours is a relationship business, and residents prefer to work with a familiar face in the leasing office and especially on the maintenance team. They hate it when they have to “start over” with new people on the team.

Residents find it especially uncomfortable and unpleasant when they are forced to deal with new team members again and again. High employee turnover among apartment community staff shakes their confidence and causes them to feel less comfortable in their own home. This can lead to resident turnover.    

The post-pandemic world is shifting as we speak. Market conditions are changing, and some residents may be considering leaving their lock-down residences behind for a fresh start. If your goals for the remainder of the year include minimizing resident turnover, concentrate on keeping your community team in place. An experienced, well-trained, and reliable apartment community team is your best resident retention tool.  

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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I wonder how many companies have a transition plan in place for when a leasing consultant leaves. Looking back when I was living in apartments regularly, when I went into the office, I would want to speak to "my" leasing consultant on my issue! ...

I wonder how many companies have a transition plan in place for when a leasing consultant leaves. Looking back when I was living in apartments regularly, when I went into the office, I would want to speak to "my" leasing consultant on my issue! I didn't really want to talk to someone else in the office, frankly. And if I went into the office, and my leasing consultant had left, it definitely had a disconnecting effect on me with the community. We always say that people lease because of the leasing consultant just as much as the community itself, so if that relationship is so important, why aren't we actively addressing how that relationship needs to be adjusted if they leave! Love the post, Kara - thanks for getting the conversation started!

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  Brent Williams
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Hi Brent! I totally relate to your story about looking for "my" leasing consultant. That's exactly how it was when I worked on-site. Each of us in the office had "our" residents that we'd always work with because we had a history. Often, the...

Hi Brent! I totally relate to your story about looking for "my" leasing consultant. That's exactly how it was when I worked on-site. Each of us in the office had "our" residents that we'd always work with because we had a history. Often, the person who leased to them would maintain that relationship through their tenure. It was disruptive when that team member left! In a perfect world, team members would stay forever...but barring that, a transition plan makes good sense.

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

Excellent article in so many ways! Years ago when I was the lead recruiter for a large MFH owner, I asked a Regional Manager what percentage of the issues residents had, did they feel had something to do with a maintenance challenge. Fully 80%...

Excellent article in so many ways! Years ago when I was the lead recruiter for a large MFH owner, I asked a Regional Manager what percentage of the issues residents had, did they feel had something to do with a maintenance challenge. Fully 80% was their answer. From that point on, we worked very hard together to make sure retention of excellent maintenance technicians was forefront in our plan!

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  STEVEN A JENKINS

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