Find a Few Good Men (and Women)
Former military members and their spouses can be great assets onsite.
Want to fill your labor void and help those who serve? Jonathan Nix, Senior Regional Human Resources Manager with Balfour Beatty Companies, has a solution—hire members of the military and their spouses.
“Military veterans are used to working in a team,” Nix said at Apartmentalize in San Diego.
He suggests reaching out to service members through job fairs. This method has helped corporations, such as Disney, Kelly Services, Ryder and Lockheed Martin, effectively recruit and integrate former service members into their workforces.
Disney CEO Bob Iger recently challenged his human resources department to hire 1,000 new employees with military services background. “Disney ended up hiring 5,000,” Nix says.
The spouses of active-duty service members also are well qualified to work in property management.
“Military spouses have lived in many places and have seen diverse groups of people work together,” Nix says. “They are also very adaptable and flexible because they have had to relocate so often.”
Those multiple moves mean military spouses have often worked in a wide range of organizations, which also is a resume booster. Having experience with the challenges a family faces during relocation can be particularly helpful when working site-level jobs.
“Service members know how to be supportive and understand how important that is for military families,” he says. “They understand the move-in and move-out process and are able to help residents cope with that,” Nix says.
Nix does not consider military spouses’ desire to work part-time to be an obstacle. Tom Adams, Vice President of WinnResidential Military Housing Services, agrees.
“Because these spouses know our processes and procedures from living with us, we can use them on a temporary or part-time basis to help fill in our administrative gaps,” Adams says.
Nix says that the fact that military spouses may only live at the community for a short time is not a deterrent to hiring them.
“Stop looking for people who will be in your organization forever,” Nix says. “Military hires, Millennials and younger Generation X members may not want to work for you for more than two or three years. [While working for you], you might be helping them to learn skills that they can take someplace else—maybe to another one of your communities.”
Nix suggests reaching out to them through Facebook groups set up for military spouses in a specific branch of the Armed Forces.
Regardless of whether the community is trying to recruit military members, their spouses or the public, apartment firms need to compete on all job-listing platforms and tailor the message to the group they are courting. One-size-fits-all hiring campaigns no longer work.
“To best compete, you need to actively engage with candidates in every step of the process,” says Latoya Forde, Manager of Talent Acquisition with WinnCompanies.