New Data Reveals How Property Management Companies Can Better Attract and Retain Employees

In the summer of 2021, AppFolio sponsored an NAA survey of over 1,000 property management professionals to gain a firmer grasp of their most pressing challenges. More than 50% of respondents put HR, staffing, and recruitment at the top of the list, with 74% citing it as one of their top three challenges. So to understand what actions our industry must take to reverse this trend, AppFolio partnered with IREM® to survey boots-on-the-ground property managers, leasing agents, maintenance technicians, and other staff to find what they truly want. Here's what the research revealed.

1 in 4 survey respondents are thinking about leaving their company and/or the property management industry altogether.

While property management is facing difficulties attracting and retaining talent, we know this to be the case in many other industries as well.

At 25%, property management is slightly above the 23% annual quit rate that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found for the entire real estate and rental and leasing industry in 2021, but well above the 16% reported for finance and insurance, the only other category in the financial activities industry.

The AppFolio survey identified one of the main causes of employee attrition in the property management industry: lack of fulfillment.

Make work less manual and more meaningful

The data found that over 40% of employees’ time is spent on what they believe is busywork. When asked “In a typical week, approximately how many hours do you spend on tasks that you believe could be optimized or streamlined through the use of technology?” respondents answered with an average of 14 hours. That’s nearly 2 days, or 35% of a 40-hour work week.

Eliminating, or reducing as much as possible, the repetitive, time-consuming, unfulfilling aspects of property management can give your employees space to focus on bigger picture, more rewarding tasks that bestow a greater sense of meaning to the job. Indeed, when asked “What changes has your employer made in the last 12 months that have improved your overall job satisfaction?” 25% of respondents answered “Improved processes and workflows.”

Technology’s role in improving processes and workflows

Survey respondents identified numerous aspects of property management that can be improved with technology. The biggest opportunity for automating or streamlining the marketing and leasing process is around processing renewals. Employees involved with managing the building/property told us that coordinating renovations or preventive maintenance, coordinating maintenance work, and conducting inspections are  the top areas that technology can help automate or streamline.

The data also shows that implementing the right technology can bolster your reputation among employees and prospective employees, helping your organization stand out in a competitive labor market. Satisfied employees are more likely to think of their companies as early technology adopters, or at least in the mainstream of tech adoption, whereas workers who are not satisfied are more likely to view their employers as laggards in terms of tech adoption.

These findings are just a taste of what you can expect from the 2022 AppFolio Property Manager Hiring and Retention Report. It’s full of valuable data and insights from thought leaders geared to help property management businesses thrive in the future of work, because the future is now. 

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