CartoonDo you only review your portfolio’s financial statements once a year?

It’s a silly question, of course. Every multifamily leader knows it’s critically important to constantly monitor your results, identify trends, build on strengths, and proactively address any issues impacting the company’s success.

Given that, why would you not also regularly monitor the assets that drive your multifamily company’s employee performance?

The “assets” I’m talking about are your people. Failing to gather feedback from your most important assets on a continual basis makes as little sense as only reviewing your financial statements annually.

Just as market conditions and results are constantly changing and impacting your portfolio, your employees’ work experience—and their resulting level of engagement—is constantly changing. Here are just some of the many factors that may impact team members’ level of engagement:

  • Vacant positions lead to extra effort to recruit, hire, and onboard—not to mention the extra work others must shoulder until the team is fully staffed again.
  • Transitions in people such as gaining a new supervisor or coworker can alter the work dynamic.
  • Changing market conditions can make the job more challenging and stressful, such as a brand new community opening right across the street, offering huge leasing concessions, and signing bonuses for employees.
  • Growth in the portfolio may lead to excitement—and/or extra work and stress while property dispositions may lead to fear and uncertainty.
  • Seasonality can also impact workloads and stress levels. Consider a student housing property during the move-in crush, for example, or the pressure teams feel during the busy leasing season
  • Weather events such as tornadoes and hurricanes can dramatically disrupt business as usual.
  • The rollout of new initiatives such as implementing a new property management software can add temporary chaos and confusion—before improving processes.

Employee Performance Changes With Stressors and Trends.

As you can see by these examples, the work life of a property management professional is always changing. It’s one of the things many people love about our business. It’s also why leaders need a steady stream of feedback from employees, month in and month out, and not just once a year. The perfect employee feedback cadence, then, is one of constant dialogue. Leaders must always be listening to the feedback of their team members in order to manage employee engagement, monitor employee performance and, ultimately, employee retention.

Why does keeping a read on the employees’ pulse matter? When employees are engaged, they are both high-performing and more likely to stay. Gathering year-round feedback from employees allows a leadership team to manage the bottom-line impact of employee turnover on performance. Swift Bunny estimates the cost of each departing employee is 34% of their annual compensation; the financial impact of reducing turnover, then, is significant. Furthermore, engaged employees deliver superior service. This reduces costly resident dissatisfaction and turnover, enhances the business reputation, increases referrals and rentals, and improves new employee recruitment. All of this improves a portfolio’s profitability.

It is unthinkable to only check financial statements once a year. Similarly, only obtaining employee feedback once a year—or worse yet, semi-annually, as many companies do—exposes your company to unnecessary and controllable risk. In today’s exceptionally difficult labor market, leaders need to pull out all the stops to minimize employee turnover. Soliciting your team’s feedback throughout the year at critical moments in the employee lifecycle can help you to identify evolving issues, monitor trends, and see where action is needed in order to boost engagement and performance. When you have more and better data, you can make better decisions to impact your team’s satisfaction and tenure. Finally, acting on the information that your employees share can help you demonstrate your commitment to your team’s satisfaction, earn their continued loyalty, and drive successful portfolio employee performance.