By Larry Bellack
Multifamily operators are taking unprecedented steps to combat the hiring and employee-retention challenges currently facing the industry. From wage increases to bolstered benefit packages, flexible hours and signing bonuses, employers are going above and beyond to attract and retain onsite associates.
But how many property management companies are not only taking a closer look at overall associate satisfaction, but also working to identify and eliminate specific employee pain points?
When it comes to onsite associates, one of the biggest mistakes employers can make is asking them to tackle responsibilities that are contradictory to providing an exceptional resident experience. Onsite associates want to engage with residents in positive ways. They applied for their jobs based on the opportunity to nurture relationships, instill trust and cultivate a welcoming environment.
Asking those same associates to manage evictions and rent collection is not only contradictory, but also counterproductive. Onsite associate and eviction manager are two separate jobs. They require different skill sets and different approaches, and the positions attract distinctly different candidates.
Applications will dwindle for leasing jobs that include “Must enjoy eviction management and rent collection” in the job description. If you want to watch employees walk out the door, just require associates who accepted a job helping people find homes to engage in the process of removing people from their homes.
It is impossible to develop and sustain an optimal associate-resident dynamic when conversations turn to late payment or eviction. Such exchanges can be awkward, uncomfortable and often contentious. Navigating those interactions is not something onsite associates want to do, nor is it something they are typically well-equipped to do. Assigning eviction duties to leasing associates compromises their relationships with residents and makes them less effective at their primary job responsibilities. Less effective associates are less satisfied associates.
In contrast, operators can increase job satisfaction and recruitment success, as well as productivity and conversion rates, by removing eviction and collection responsibilities from onsite teams. When they are able to solely focus on leasing and customer service, they are happier in their jobs and less likely to look elsewhere. When associates can spend all their time optimizing the prospect and resident experience, leasing teams convert more leads to leases and land more resident renewals.
Third-party eviction management services completely lift the eviction burden from onsite teams so they can concentrate on the jobs they were hired to do and optimize property performance. By turning over evictions and rent collection to a supplier/partner that specializes in such matters, operators expedite evictions and maximize debt recovery, further improving net operating income (NOI).
No one wants to look like the bad guy, and leasing associates shouldn’t be put in that position by being forced to manage evictions. Onsite associates are more satisfied with their jobs, and residents are more satisfied with their onsite teams, when eviction and collection is managed by a third party. In the current climate, those two satisfaction levels should be top priority for every multifamily operator.