For Apartment Chat #22, we discussed Employee Retention. There were a LOT of great ideas that came out of this chat … make sure you read through the full transcript here. Here’s our recap of the questions and highlights from this week’s chat:

Question 1: What is THE most important thing in retaining talent? Money or recognition?

  • Heather Blume: Hands down 100% recognition.
  • Christian: Go hand in hand. if you recognize someone but pay them poorly, same as paying someone well and never recognizing.
  • Claire Collins: Neither money nor recognition this year — it’s stability and benefits.
  • Joe Foster: I think recognition affects job performance, but in terms of retention? Gotta get paid, Sal.
  • Heather Blume: Key Carrot Manager series quote for me: People don’t leave jobs, People Leave Managers.
  • Charity Hisle: Maybe it isn’t either/or? What if it is fulfillment as a whole?
  • Lisa Trosien: Money may not always motivate, but lack of money is a huge de-motivator!
  • Jonathan Saar: Make sure the ladder to climb is clear (compensation for achievement).
  • Claire Collins: Building trust: a quarterly conference call with CEO answering anonymously submitted questions re: state of the company.
  • Rory Ellis: Take some time to study Mazlow’s heirarchy of needs and Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory on job satisfaction. Very insightful.

As part of this discussion, many people suggested specific ways to recognize and reward employees for a job well done. Here are a few of the ideas suggested:

  • Claire Collins: Our recognition is more subtle — emailing a stellar CallSource call audio around, vs. giving an award.
  • Mike Whaling: Could a reward be that you get to be the person who works on your company’s social media channels?
  • Heather Blume: To go to NAA or brainstorming when you’re a site employee who is passionate a/b the industry…big reward.
  • Patrick Kantrim: We teach managers to speak more financially and pay them like CEOs. After all, they manage multi-million dollar portfolios.
  • Nessel Development: Studies show “if-then rewards” work when there is a simple set of rules and a clear destination because they narrow focus.
  • Elysa Rice: We post recognition company wide via memo and we also post who is going to tradeshows on our intranet, along with awards.
  • Duncan Alney: In a world where there is no time for family, give employees time with their family as a reward.

Question 2: How do you keep leasing professionals happy when there is no ‘career path’ for leasing?

  • Rory Ellis: Employee empowerment creates loyal and driven partners instead of just workers!
  • Mike Brewer: I think people want to know that they are part of something bigger than themselves.
  • Laura at GABP: New challenges, ideas, have an open dialogue on what else they see for opportunities.
  • Gary Katz: Who says there is no career path for leasing pros? They can go into training, marketing, management, etc.
  • Jen Piccotti: I’ve seen recognition of ‘levels’ of leasing experience work well. Level 1 are the mentors; Level 2 seasoned professionals, etc.
  • Lisa Trosien: I started out in part time leasing! There sure IS a career path; often, you have to make it yourself though.
  • Rory Ellis: Not everyone wants to be a manager, but everyone should want to better themselves. If they don’t strive to succeed, why employ them?
  • Kristi Faris Fickert: Sometimes for a leasing consultant, a “career path” can be created … Example: From Leasing Consulant to Senior Leasing Consultant.

Question 3: Does community make a difference? Do leasing professionals and property managers like their job more if they have better relationships with residents and neighbors?

  • Kim Cory: Absolutely! They take more interest in wanting to be involved with events and interact with residents on a daily basis. It becomes their home.
  • Mike Whaling: I think, if done well, social media channels will improve employee retention as well as resident retention.
  • Kim Cory: I have two college students who have worked 4 for me 3.5 years now! I truly believe besides the money, it’s the culture, learning and connection.

Toward the end of the conversation, Elysa Rice asked if anyone would be attending the upcoming Multifamily Brainstorming conference in Houston. A number of people responded that they would be there … Heather Blume summed it up best with this:

“This many people at Brainstorming requires that we have a tweetup! :)”

(If you’ll be there, make sure to connect with your fellow AptChatters face to face — there are some great minds here who are always willing to share their knowledge and experience. Both Lisa and Mike will be there, too, so feel free to track us down if you have topic suggestions or other ideas to improve #AptChat.)

Back to the subject at hand, what are you doing to retain your top talent? Is there something that your company has done that has had a significant impact on employee retention? As an industry, what can we be doing better to attract and keep great people? How would you answer the questions highlighted above? Make your voice heard … let us know what you think in the comments!