Property management executives carry a heavy weight on their shoulders; they must not only ensure their organization is working efficiently, but they have to create and maintain a positive company culture as well.

Fostering a positive workplace environment requires more than offering a few company perks and incentives. According to new research, 51% of current employees will consider leaving their company due to negative leadership in the workplace.

As mentioned in our previous blog, employee engagement is essential to minimizing turnover, and an ongoing opportunity for NOI growth lies in reducing turnover. With the right team (and engaged employees) in place, property management executives can meet and exceed NOI goals and ultimately provide more value for clients with unprecedented ease.

So how can executives keep employees engaged and motivated? The answer lies in their overall leadership strategy. To foster a positive company culture, property management executives should consider the following strategies:

1. Implement Consistent Performance Assessments

Assessing a team’s performance on a quarterly or biannual basis offers a great opportunity for two-way communication. Performance reviews allow staff to discuss their career goals and obtain input for continued growth in their role.

According to a study by Achievers, 9 out of 10 employees do not feel appreciated or recognized at work, and over a third of employees admit they would quit a job if they do not feel that their efforts are appreciated. Performance reviews serve an integral role in the open line of communication between supervisors and employees.

Consider asking your team to conduct self-assessments to provide them the opportunity to highlight any concerns, challenges, or successes. In turn, supervisors can also provide a review to assess issues, offer constructive feedback, and — most importantly — give recognition for exceptional performance or exceeded goals.

For many property managers, the goal is to advance into a regional manager and eventually area/regional vice president role. While certifications and learning new skills are important when it comes to securing a promotion, exceptional performance is key for advancement in the property management industry. The process of a performance review can help multifamily leaders and staff share responsibility, set specific goals, and work toward the next promotion.

2. Offer Robust Employee Benefits

It is important for property management executives to manage issues that challenge their team’s ability to complete work, such as covering costs associated with transportation, healthcare, and childcare.

According to a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review, 88% of U.S. respondents said they would give better health, dental, and vision insurance “heavy consideration” when deciding between a high-paying job and lower-paying job.

The next most-valued benefits include flexible work hours, more vacation time, and work-from-home options. For many multifamily professionals, establishing a healthy work-life balance is of utmost importance.

While offering work-from-home options or flexible hours is not always feasible for onsite staff, property management executives can implement new technology to allow their broader team to tackle on-the-go tasks more effectively. For example, they can offer a reliable platform with real-time access to data, enabling team members to be proactively engaged in their roles and work remotely when necessary.

3. Invest in Leadership Training

Leadership cannot be learned overnight; it requires consistent work and investment to be a good manager. By investing in a reputable leadership training program, executives can help hone their team’s supervisory skills and better connect with subordinates to ensure a happier and more efficient workforce.

There are several online and in-person training programs available for property management executives, such as those offered by the Institute for Real Estate Management. Course topics range from managing staff requirements, understanding the differences between leading and managing, how to give performance reviews, and successful ways to develop a strong staff. While it’s important for executives to focus on their continual training, they should also set up or invest in programs to let their team hone their skills and improve their leadership as well. The Institute also offers courses and resources for all roles and levels to continue learning and help lead the property management company to success.

Additionally, industry conferences — like those offered by Bisnow, NAA, and NMHC — are excellent venues for your company’s rising leadership to network with other professionals while enhancing management skills through informative sessions.

4. Show Employee Appreciation

Perhaps one of the most important ways to foster a positive company culture is to recognize employee accomplishments. Recognition does not have to be a prize or generous gift card; a handwritten note or verbal appreciation shows a team member that their hard work was noticed. And public appreciation goes even farther.

There are also ways property management executives can gamify this initiative to further motivate and engage employees. Executives can track their team’s performance and offer regular recognition for the top performing properties, or run monthly contests and reward those who meet or exceed goals.

Software can streamline the process of tracking these initiatives. Executives can hold their team more accountable through access to real-time dashboards through a business intelligence solution. BH Management Services, for example, uses Rentlytics to boost employee engagement and manage its team and properties more effectively.

“We create scorecards, run contests on resolving delinquencies, and are able to do things like reward our top 10 properties to get people excited,” said Joanna Zabriskie, President of BH Management. “It’s really helped us inspire change at all levels of our business.”

Empower Your Multifamily Team to Success

Property management companies invest significant resources in improving resident retention, but it’s also important that they dedicate time and resources focused on employee retention. Property management executives need to encourage two-way communication in order to build trust that ensures an optimal working environment. From performance recognition to leadership training opportunities, property management executives can create an environment with satisfied employees and improved workplace engagement.