Regardless of the plans we have for people, it’s inevitable that some team members will leave your organisation, and many will do so sooner than we’d like; but there are ways that we can make their decision just that little bit harder.
More often than not, when someone leaves an agency, you’ll hear them reel off one or more of these reasons for them resigning:
- Unhappiness with management
- Inadequate salary and benefits
- Feeling overworked and/or unsupported
- Limited career opportunities
- Better work-life balance
- Lack of recognition
- Dissatisfaction with the company culture
- The desire to make a change
- More desirable opportunities at other companies
Retention strategies for job satisfaction
When the market favours employers, candidates with in-demand skills likely won’t have to wait long to find a new opportunity but when the scales are tipped the other way, we need to have strategies in place to keep our good staff and ensure that we’re providing the workplace that will support their long-term goals, as well as our own – this is the phase we’re currently in from a Property Management perspective, and it’s been coming for quite a while. I remember having the same discussion years ago with recruiters when looking for good team members.
We are all at risk of losing top talent, and we need to move fast to shore up retention strategies. Here are a few areas where we can take action to boost our teams’ and their level of job satisfaction and increase our chances of keeping our valued PMs on board:
- Effective change management
After the pandemic and its disruption, every agency I know of is going to deal with change, good and bad. Your team will be looking to the leadership group for insight and reassurance during these times. If your agency is going through a big shift such as the purchase of another rent roll, keeping your team as informed as possible helps ease anxieties and manage the rumour mill. Make the big announcements either individually or in a group call or meeting and allow time for questions.
- Induction and Onboarding
The old method of “there’s the desk, there’s the phone – best of luck you’re on your own” just doesn’t cut it anymore. Every new team member must be set up for success from the start, and onboarding processes should teach new Property Management staff not only about the job but also about company culture and how they can contribute to and thrive in it. The training and support you provide from day one, whether in person or virtually, will set the tone for their time at the agency so it’s critical that effort is put into the process.
Pairing a new team member with a mentor is a great component to add to your extended induction process, particularly in a remote work environment. Mentors can welcome newcomers into the company, offer guidance and be a sounding board. It’s a win-win: new team members learn the ropes from experienced team members and, in return, they offer a fresh viewpoint to their mentors.
And extend the mentorship opportunities to existing staff; they can also greatly benefit from mentor-mentee relationships from a skill and satisfaction point of view.
The pandemic helped underscore the importance of good workplace communication. Your teams should feel they can come to you with ideas, questions and concerns at any time. And as the principal and leader, you need to make sure you’re doing your part to help promote timely, constructive and positive communication across the entire team, including on-site and remote employees. Make sure you proactively connect with each team member on a regular basis, too, to get a sense of their workload and job satisfaction.
- Continuous feedback on performance
A lot of principals are moving away from the old style monthly KPI or performance review in favour of more frequent one on one meetings with their Property Management teams. In these one-on-one meetings, we get to talk about their short- and long-term professional goals and help them visualise their future with the company. This provides both sides very useful feedback on progress and how the individual PM is While you should never make promises you can’t keep, talk through potential career advancement scenarios together and lay out a realistic plan for reaching those goals.
- Work-life balance
What message is your time management sending to employees? Do you expect staff to be available outside of office hours? While this has become an expectation from clients, healthy work-life balance is essential to job satisfaction. People need to know their principals understand they have lives outside of work — and recognise that maintaining balance can be even more challenging when working from home. Encourage employees to set boundaries and take their leave, and having their work phone on silent once they leave the “office” for the day will help ease the pressure on families.
- Flexible work arrangements
As agencies reopen their offices after the pandemic closures, many of them are preparing for the fact that some of their employees will still want to work remotely, at least part time. From what I’m seeing, over ¼ of Property Managers working from home would look for a new job if they were required to return to the office full time and there is a plethora of roles being advertised with at least part of the week as WFH.
This is an exercise in trust, your team want to (and can…) be trusted to continue to work remotely and with the tools currently available, a principal or department head will still have oversight on activity and productivity, and attempts at micromanagement will kill off any desire on their part to do better.
- An emphasis on teamwork and collaboration
All your team members, not just senior staff, should be encouraged to contribute ideas and solutions. Create opportunities for collaboration, which respect each individuals’ work styles and give everyone the confidence to make decisions and course-corrections, if needed.
And if those Property Managers leave your firm knowing they were valued and supported, they’ll likely say good things about your business and, perhaps, they might even come back to work for you one day.