The Great Resignation—employees leaving their positions in search of companies with more flexible policies in light of the pandemic, is impacting industries across the U.S., including property management and multifamily communities. According to the National Apartment Association, the employee turnover rate in property management is 33%, as opposed to the lower national average of 22%. Property managers on the front lines of communities, who are contending with multiple stressors, are crucial to the success of a multifamily portfolio or property. Kent Elliott, Principal, and Erika Daniel, a Recruiter with RETS Associates, a talent search firm for the commercial real estate industry, discuss how multifamily owners and property managers can retain team members throughout this crisis and what this trend means for the industry.
1. How is the Great Resignation impacting hiring and staffing in property management and multifamily?
Property management and multifamily housing companies are being impacted by the Great Resignation just like virtually every other industry. Above all else, these stakeholders are recognizing that flexibility is a key component in maintaining a happy and satisfied workforce. To meet this challenge, multifamily employers are working to attract talent by offering more perks and more flexibility than ever before.
Over the course of the pandemic, we all learned that numerous jobs, particularly the mid-level positions that RETS Associates recruits for in this sector, could be successfully conducted remotely. This led to multifamily owners and operators finding creative solutions, such as providing prospective residents with virtual tours of apartment homes and common areas. The longer we deal with these challenges, the more likely this trend will become standard operating procedure.
It is also essential to point out that working in the multifamily sector has become increasingly stressful since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Employers need to be sensitive to the extra burden this has placed on multifamily employees and provide more incentives for them to stay rather than look for work elsewhere.
2. What can multifamily owners and property managers do to attract and retain talent in the current environment?
In conjunction with traditional perks and remote work flexibility, employers must make their employees feel listened to and valued. In addition, it is critical to provide a supportive work culture given the increased amount of stress multifamily owners and stakeholders have been experiencing during the pandemic. At our own company, we have learned how important a personal connection and collaborative environment are to the success of our team—the same is true for the multifamily sector.
Throughout the pandemic, many multifamily employees have worked effectively from home. Companies understand that remote work will continue to exist going forward; therefore, different functions within the sector must adapt to thrive in a post-pandemic world or risk going extinct. In contrast, companies with more traditional policies, that are unwilling to adapt, will struggle to retain and attract talent.
3. What should these stakeholders avoid when it comes to attracting and retaining multifamily talent at this time?
Multifamily stakeholders should accept that the world has shifted in response to the pandemic. Employers cannot rigidly uphold traditional pre-COVID practices that no longer work for their teams. In fact, in many cases, remote work policies are impacting candidates’ decisions to join particular companies.
By and large, employers realize that in-person work is not only an inflexible policy to enact, but it also makes the employer less desirable in an ultra-competitive job market. If candidates find flexible work policies elsewhere, they are more likely to accept those opportunities over companies instituting strict in-person measures. Stakeholders must adapt and accommodate employees’ evolving needs, whether they be remote work, a hybrid work schedule or another area where workers need flexibility.
4. Where do you see this trend heading?
The multifamily hiring arena is not likely to return to the old normal. Rather, the pandemic has forever altered the job market landscape for property management and multifamily companies. Also, employees in this sector will continue to deal with increasing work stresses as long as COVID remains a concern. As a result, employers who make a concerted effort to provide adequate benefits and flexibility will find it easier to attract and retain the top multifamily talent that is crucial to their success.