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Multifamily Workplaces that Work

Exploring the issues that matter most to multifamily associates, including workplace satisfaction, performance, and employee engagement.

Yearning for a More Positive and Productive Multifamily Workplace? Try These 3 Communication Strategies

Yearning for a More Positive and Productive Multifamily Workplace? Try These 3 Communication Strategies

Good communication is the hallmark of a respectful and productive workplace. It can also be frustratingly hard to accomplish. Multifamily supervisors are reporting higher than normal levels of incivility in the workplace these days—not surprising, when you consider how stressed out and uncivilized the world at large is today. Here are three strategies for leaders to consider in order to strengthen their workplace relationships.

Stop Talking and Start Listening
As a multifamily supervisor, you likely have to do a lot of talking. Your team members need direction and guidance, and decisions must be made. However, be careful of dominating workplace conversations to the extent that employees’ perspectives aren’t being heard. To be an effective leader, strive to listen at least as much as you speak.

Here are some ways to get your associates talking. Allow team members other than yourself to lead the weekly staff meetings; consider setting up a rotation so everyone who is interested gets a chance to lead. When someone raises a question in a meeting, invite others to weigh in before you. Hold regular one-on-one meetings with everyone you supervise to encourage open communication. Make a point to connect with everyone you lead on a daily basis, even if it’s only for a quick conversation, email, or text exchange. Conduct frequent, confidential surveys so employees can offer candid feedback without fear of reprisal or judgment.

And importantly, empower employees to speak up regularly by acting on the concerns they share. Only then will your team members see the value of offering their honest input.

Improve Civility with an Emphasis on Gratitude

Tensions are running high in many multifamily workplaces these days. The pandemic has been a months-long endurance test for team members, causing many to stress about their health, finances, personal responsibilities, and futures. Team members under stress are more likely to treat their coworkers poorly and put a strain on relationships. One surprisingly simple way to improve civility in the workplace is to cultivate a culture of gratitude. A recent Harvard Business Review article indicates that gratitude improves relationships, enhances feelings of support, and increases prosocial behavior. 

How can you create a culture of gratitude? Here are some tips. Model gratitude by offering your own sincere thanks regularly and publicly. Make appreciation a regular agenda item during your team meetings. Create a space, either physical or virtual, for praise and recognition. Some managers, like Karrie Seufert with Stonewater at the Riverwalk, a Flaherty & Collins Properties community in Elkhart, Indiana, use a Compliment Wall in a back office to post resident thank you notes, five-star reviews, and coworkers’ notes of encouragement. She says her team members love adding contributions to the wall of praise.

Emphasize the importance of expressing thanks and appreciation, and all employees will enjoy the resulting boost to workplace civility and well-being.

 

Facilitate Healthy Conversations around Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity

Events of 2020 sparked national public outrage and an ongoing dialogue about racism. These conversations don’t necessarily stop at the office door. As a result, many business leaders are welcoming what some call “courageous conversations” around diversity, equity, and inclusion. Johnny C. Taylor Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), acknowledges that such dialogues aren’t easy. “If you are over 35, you were taught that you don’t speak about politics, race and religion at work.” Taylor said. But, he adds, “if you don’t talk about it, you can’t fix it.”

The formerly taboo topics are starting to be more openly discussed at companies in all industries, including multifamily. Swift Bunny conducted the Multifamily Diversity and Inclusion Survey to gather employee perceptions on their employers’ commitment to diversity, respect of differences, and equal treatment. 14 companies and more than 2,100 multifamily employees participated, and their responses are compiled into the Multifamily Diversity and Inclusion Study, now available for download. One lesson seems abundantly clear: employees are eager to see their leaders be brave enough to ask for feedback on these important issues.

Listening to employees’ concerns is an excellent way to start the conversation. Consider enlisting the help of your company’s leaders to ensure the dialogue around these sensitive topics is respectful and productive.

 

 

 
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Kara, great tips! I especially like the Compliment Wall! Easy but cool!

  Mary Gwyn

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