3 Tips to Attract and Maintain Quality Property Managers
How to stand out amongst the competition from Kim Webb of Wendover Housing Partners.
It is no secret that nearly every industry has experienced a competitive labor market amid “The Great Resignation” following the pandemic. It was recently reported that in January 2022 alone, over 4.3 million people quit their jobs according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLT) report. Additionally, there were 11.3 million job openings in January 2022, which was just shy of December’s record.
With such a competitive labor market, companies are having to think smart and get innovative when it comes to attracting and maintaining quality talent. For most companies, that means offering unique benefits such as work-from-home options or flexible hybrid office options. But for industries who don’t have this option, how do companies stay competitive?
Management companies are no exception when it comes the great resignation, and one of the most important roles they need to continue to hire for are property managers. With these roles being on-site and not an option for remote work, it is essential that they attract quality candidates to manage properties.
Typical responsibilities of a property manager include leading and directing the leasing and service teams, providing training and mentoring to teams, contributing to the budgeting process, coordinating vendor relationships and more.
Attracting property managers can vastly differ when it comes to market rate communities versus affordable communities. For market rate, management companies should be looking for property managers who have a passion for selling and attracting residents. These types of property managers should be proactively reaching out to attract potential residents and highlighting community amenities and benefits to try and get units filled. Additionally, it is important that they are taking the time to understand the wants and needs of potential residents to ensure the community is meeting their expectations. Typically, hiring property managers for market rate communities allow for a more competitive salary, which makes that role easier to recruit for.
Affordable communities, on the other hand, require more attention to the talent pool. Unlike market rate, affordable communities are not focused around sales. While all property managers should be providing exceptional service to residents, property managers of affordable communities should be leading with this task every day. They are not only caretakers of the community, but also residents’ lifestyles and their homes. Management companies hiring for communities—especially affordable—should be looking for potential property managers who truly value the caretaking aspect of the job. Because of this, it is essential for companies to emphasize their values when attracting talent.
When management companies properly display their company values on their website or even during the interview process, this will help set the standard for potential employees. A few examples of values that affordable community property managers should hold include being caretakers of lifestyles, acting in the best interest of residents and clients, striving to maintain the highest standards in maintenance as well as administrative efficiency and resident services.
Setting standards for company values will help management companies get a feel for candidates who would be a good fit for the company. Overlooking this, they can cost themselves in the long run if employees don’t wind up working out. A new employee can cost a company over $4,000—this is not including wages, benefits and the employer portion of taxes.
Aside from company values, competitive benefits are also essential in order to give management companies an edge and attract more candidates. 401k, competitive pay, healthcare and even ongoing educational training reimbursement for any course of study are all effective benefits to attract potential candidates. Another strong draw for attracting candidates is offering free housing, especially in such a competitive and challenging housing market. Additionally, there are some management companies who are offering multiple health care plans to employees with offers covering up to 90% or covering close to $700 per employee who is enrolled. Going the extra mile for employees is something candidates will notice and make note of during the job search.
After attracting the right talent to manage a property, management companies need to keep in mind it is an ongoing process in terms of maintaining those relationships with employees. Recurring internal discussions are a great way to remind employees what the company has to offer and take advantage of. For example, some companies have created expanded PTO policies that include sick time and vacation time for employees. If some employees are wanting more vacation time, it is important they know that their PTO is all-encompassing and highly encouraged to take, for whatever reason they need.
Another aspect in maintaining employee relationships comes with transparency and flexibility. For companies who put out company surveys to get honest feedback from employees, they need to be prepared to actually make the changes or accommodate the concerns that are being brought forward. This will show a company’s dedication to its employees when they are willing to put in the work and make a change, if needed. If changes cannot be made, it is important for employers to have that conversation with employees as well. Being honest with employees and showing how the company is making an effort can go a long way.
While it may come as a challenge, there are ways for management companies to differentiate themselves when it comes to attracting potential property managers. By recognizing the different needs for different communities—like market rate versus affordable—emphasizing company values, offering competitive benefits and maintaining employee relationships, companies can give themselves an edge amid the competitive labor market.
Kim Webb is the human resources officer at Wendover Housing Partners. Her responsibilities include strategic planning, development, recruiting, benefits administration, compliance and managing human capital.