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Wanted: Unicorn Wranglers & Cloud Shape Creators

August 2018

LIVEbe strives to make the cubicle mentality a thing of the past.

Apartment owners regularly implement creative tactics to reach prospective residents. They adjust and re-adjust campaigns to acquire a slice of a competitive market. LIVEbe Communities is taking the same approach toward reaching potential employees.

The Maryland-based apartment operator, launched in 2016, is ambitious about breaking the industry mold in virtually everything it does. Recruiting employees is no exception.

“We want to make the cubicle mentality a thing of the past,” says Elaine De Lude, Vice President of LIVEbe. “We’re not targeting someone who simply wants a job as a leasing associate or maintenance tech. We want creative, driven individuals who aren’t afraid to think outside the box to solve problems and make life more comfortable and fulfilling for our residents.”

LIVEbe recently unveiled an unconventional, bold “Unicorn Wrangler” campaign, which seeks motivated individuals with unique problem-solving skills and a passion for creating connected communities. The literature surrounding the campaign is what makes it unique. The flyers are dreamy and sometimes whimsical in nature, prodding those who consider themselves unicorn wranglers, all-knowing oracles, time machine operators and cloud-shape creators to apply.

Flyers ask prospective employees whether they “have what it takes” to become any of the four magic-inspired team members. A tabletop sign at job fairs encourages job prospects to apply in an unconventional manner — by relaying a 10-second job resume through Snapchat utilizing the LIVEbe Communities filter. Those who make the cut aren’t simply employees. The company dubs its team members LIVEbe Ambassadors.

“We’re seeking employees who genuinely envision themselves as part of the brand,” says Jennifer Rucker, Vice President of Operations for LIVEbe. “The community directors have much more flexibility at our communities than they do at many others where the procedures are black and white. The idea is to build customer service levels that exceed anything else in the industry.”

Industry veterans De Lude and Rucker run the show at LIVEbe, the multifamily division of Berman Enterprises. LIVEbe currently oversees four apartment communities — two developments, two acquisitions — and will add many more to the portfolio in the coming years. The tandem isn’t shy about professing their belief that the apartment industry is predictable in many ways, and that LIVEbe is out to provide a positive disruption to standard practices.

Hence the Unicorn Wrangler recruiting campaign, which LIVEbe officially kicked off May 30 at a job fair at Thomas Edison High School of Technology in Silver Spring, Md. The internal kickoff began June 14, when team members took a dream job quiz. Included on the quiz are questions such as “I Would Love to Live in a World of…” with possible answers of Marvel Superheroes, Narnia, Star Trek and Lord of The Rings. Others pertain more directly to job traits, asking whether the employee most likely leads, puts the plan together, adds creativity or solves problems.

In July and August, all team members will have their email signatures updated to their dream job title (unicorn wrangler, cloud-shape creator, etc.) as determined by the quiz. Community directors will post photos of team members as unicorns, oracles and others. Special unicorn hand sanitizer will be distributed, and LIVEbe will make certain to document the entire process on social media, as well. That includes unicorn Snapchat filters.

While it might seem unorthodox to some, it’s all part of an attempt to acquire ambitious talent and provide them with the non-corporate wiggle room needed to succeed and develop innovative solutions to common apartment challenges.

“Before you can genuinely take care of your residents, you have to take care of your employees,” says Shannon Taylor, Director of Human Resources for LIVEbe. “When your team members, Ambassadors in our case, are empowered to create solutions at their respective communities, resident satisfaction will surely follow. Like employees, residents never want to feel like they’re bound by the constraints of a manual.”

LIVEbe insists that hiring practices have been this way since the beginning. It’s just that now, the process is being marketed and promoted visually. Existing team members love the idea, De Lude says, because it attracts like-minded individuals to LIVEbe’s communities. The company currently oversees developments 2Hopkins (Baltimore) and The Remy (Lanham, Md.), and acquisitions Glen Oaks (Greenbelt, Md.) and The Bowen (Bowie, Md.).

“We need this campaign because we’re not a huge company in our space, and we have to do something that will generate some attention,” De Lude says. “We want people to remember us when they’re at a career fair or searching online for a job. We need something to set us apart because we’re new and don’t have a reputation.”