The difficulty of finding and keeping help hasn’t passed by the multifamily sector. “It’s very, very difficult,” says Amanda Henderson, marketing specialist at Minnesota-based real estate investment and management company Halverson and Blaiser Group. In between “our properties” and “contact us” at the top of the company’s website is the “careers” option.
“I feel more than ever it’s a more competitive market” since the onset of the pandemic, Henderson says. “People are looking for competitive pay, for competitive benefits.” And those are the table stakes.
But it’s also getting a fit with hiring because people want to work someplace where they’ll feel welcome as well as needed and effective. Many have their choices of jobs. “We have had a difficult time filling out our maintenance team,” Henderson mentions as an example. “I think it’s because the number of jobs available is a lot and everyone is feeling out every company.”
Part of recruitment and then retention is understanding the extras people want. “You want people who want to join your company,” she adds. It might be something unusual, like dog or cat benefits for pet owners. “People are looking at these kinds of things more than ever now.”
Multifamily operators need to create a “happy community,” as Henderson puts it. “Are you recognizing them enough? Making sure you’re on top of your employees and you are congratulating them enough when they do something right? We just implemented it as a reward structure.”
On a previous customer relationship management (CRM) system, HBG wasn’t able to make such necessary programs possible. “In that prior system, there wasn’t a clear way to manage everything,” says Henderson. “Follow-ups were being missed. The overall organization was missing for our managers. It was because the system wasn’t helping them.”
Henderson notes that this changed when the firm adopted software from Knock. She says now employees at HBG can do what they need with the tools and infrastructure provided, and HBG can recognize them easier.
“They have amazing analytics,” Henderson says. “We send out a report once a week and mention the top five people. Every quarter, we put together a reward system for the top five people.”
Property managers have access to the information they need. “You see all the numbers on the side so they can hold themselves accountable. You can have the best person, but if you don’t have the best process or easy and helpful tools for them to be successful, they’re going to be frustrated.” That frustration can quickly push the person out the door.
Knock also enables a look beyond what each individual does and helps tie together the teams that make multifamily work.
“We are hoping by giving more positive feedback and implementing reward programs, our leasing team will feel more valued, appreciated, and comfortable in their workplace,” Henderson says. “We are looking forward to celebrating and rewarding our next round of Leasing Knockstars in April with the new quarter.”