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Help Part-Timers See Rental Housing as a Career

Student Housing Career

Many part-time employees do not see a career path in the industry beyond the community where they work. Here is how to change their impression.

One challenge many in the student housing face is motivating their part-time or short-time team members who aren’t as focused on their future as traditional rental housing industry employees.

The session “How to Turn Part-Timers and Short-Timers into High Performers” was led by two former part-timers who now have a combined 37 years in the industry, Kara Rice, Owner of Experiment Learning & Talent Development; and Lindsey Palmer, Regional Manager for Horizon Realty Advisors.

Their message was to focus on the people in a variety of ways, but one of the most important points was to share the career opportunities that exist with part-timers and short-timers.

“Have a conversation with team members—even graduating seniors who you assume are moving on—take the time to talk to them,” Rice said. “Make them aware of all that [the rental housing industry] has to offer, whether it’s your property, company or the industry as a whole.”

Rice shared that neither she nor Palmer ever envisioned that they would be working in the industry for life. 

“I never thought ‘Oh man, I want to be a property manager,’” she said. “Most of your employees are in the same point.”

She went on to say that most part-time employees have never thought of the moving up in the industry beyond the community they first worked in. One way to persuade part-timers that a career path is available to them is to treat conversations with them as a recruiting and marketing campaign for your property, company, and the industry.

Palmer shared insight into how some of the most successful properties approach retaining part-time and short-time workers. One important step is to own the process of training and development.

“We don’t have time to wait for someone else to come in to train them,” she said.

The way to do that is preparation, confidence, and organization. Knowing what, when, and how you’re training, having confidence in your message, and having an organized plan will produce high results.

““Training is not something we can just wing,” Palmer said. “We can’t go in without a plan because it won’t be effective.””