Why Multifamily Staff Won’t Go Extinct

Tiffany Days, founder of The Communal Group, explains why multifamily staff must be influencers, storytellers and people with effortless ingenuity.
Tiffany Days

Tiffany Days

Atlanta—Times change, and in the era of smartphones and smart homes, the industry has new recruitment techniques. Real estate companies are not just looking for professionals with industry experience, but are searching for creative influencers who know how to tell—and sell—a story. That’s because shoppers are interested in a lifestyle.

We talked to Tiffany Days, founder of Atlanta-based The Communal Group, a company that trains and refers talent, about the trends and challenges regarding staff in the multifamily sector.

MHN: How have the needs of the multifamily market changed over the past few years when it comes to staff?

Days: Multifamily has evolved into way more than selling a space with windows. Apartment shoppers are searching for lifestyle, and they are basing those purchases on experiences their peers have, convenience and services. The industry has had to shift its hiring and recruitment technique. It’s more than administrative now. We have had to hire influencers, storytellers and professionals with effortless ingenuity. These are the professionals that can sell and who we employ at The Communal Group.

MHN: Which do you think are the main values a person working in the multifamily sector should own? What does The Communal Group try to teach its trainees?

Days: To work in multifamily, you have to possess a certain finesse that enables you to service both your internal and external customer. A true entrepreneurial spirit will enable associates to properly care for the assets they serve. As it relates to multifamily leadership, you have to have the heart of a servant leader and stay true to leading by example.

At The Communal Group, it is important for our associates to understand they are valued. We try to teach them how they make a difference each day at the communities they serve. Painting this picture for an employee increases productivity and dedication to your company.

MHN: What are the main challenges in the multifamily sector at the moment? Is finding well-prepared or well-trained staff one of them?

Days: At this moment, I believe one of the main challenges in the multifamily sector is our talent pool in comparison to new product. We’ve got to be innovative in our approach to attract a fresh wave of talent, especially if targeting Millennial talent. Other challenges include the saturation of new product and how it affects ROI, but that’s when a community has to develop an unparalleled customer experience. We can help with that, too.

MHN: There are numerous technology products built for the multifamily sector, and property management in particular. Do you think technology will eventually lead to elimination of all property management staff?

Days: I’ve thought about this. What if keyless entry takes over? Would I sign my lease on an app? I’d have to say this is where things are headed, but we won’t completely eliminate onsite staff. Who would replenish the coffee stations and pick up the grounds? Certainly not the residents. They choose apartment living because they are purchasing a lifestyle of convenience, and sometimes that means someone else taking out your trash.

MHN: Tell us the story of The Communal Group. How did it all start?

Days: I have always had a passion for developing and empowering associates. Shortly after joining the multifamily industry, I realized I was an influencer in my own right. Associates would come to me for resume review, career decisions, training—almost anything. I loved helping and didn’t mind doing it.

As a community manager, I’ve had my share of temporary help, and it wasn’t always the best experience. If I am investing the company’s money in a temporary agent, I want them to be able to sell my product and understand my clientele with very little hand holding. I’m paying for the assistance, not to train them.

Luckily, The Communal Group is a safe place for aspiring professionals to learn prior to assignments, so they are empowered to shine and hopefully score a permanent role.

MHN: What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome as founder of TCG?

Days: The biggest challenge for me has been realizing that this is happening, that people are depending on me to be successful. It’s not about me anymore. I just always remind myself that I believed I could do it. I created a blueprint and now it is happening.

I was in onsite mode for quite some time, and now I am a vendor for our amazing industry. The reward in all of it is that I am still working within an industry that I love very much and I get to build people up to help them achieve their career goals.

MHN: What are your long-term goals for the company?

Days: The long-term goal is to have The Communal Group expand to markets where we will serve as a layer of bench strength and a viable resource for recruitment needs. I believe next up will be my hometown of South Florida.

Image courtesy of Kelley Raye