Four Ways Technology Can Keep Onsite Multifamily Staff Happier During the Great Resignation

by Jaime Lackey

The Great Resignation. The Big Quit. Call it what you will. The widespread trend of employees leaving their jobs in 2021 and 2022 has placed a burden on onsite property management staff at multifamily communities.

Like other industries nationwide, the multifamily industry has been hit hard by this period where record numbers of employees are leaving their current positions.

According to the National Apartment Association (NAA), rental owners and operators have reported up to 70 percent of their workforce resigning during this period. Historically, employee turnover ranges from 30 to 50 percent annually. In roles that often require wearing many hats to keep up with prospective renters and resident requests, leasing teams are feeling added pressure.

With technology solutions that alleviate daunting tasks for onsite staff, you can save your staff valuable time and unnecessary manual effort. Your leasing team can simplify tour scheduling, automate routine communications, and set up seamless multifamily marketing campaigns that free up time for staff to better connect with renters. Here are four steps operators can take to maximize efficiencies and achieve better outcomes.

1. Automate Apartment Tour Scheduling

The first step to helping your team thrive during a spike in renter demand is understanding where your team can easily automate communication in the early stages of a renter’s search. By including online tour scheduling options on your apartment listings and property website, you can take the back-and-forth out of finding the perfect time to showcase your available units.

Instead of the leasing agent having to reach the prospect directly and coordinate meeting times, find options that allow the renters to automatically schedule an appointment while they browse. Many internet listing service (ILS) sites like Apartment Guide offer the option for renters to request a tour, select the most opportune times or even tour the apartment virtually.

2. Quickly Qualify New Leads with Online Applications and Forms

Give renters the option to complete online applications early on in their evaluation of your property. This approach will allow your team to quickly screen new tenants and focus on quality leads that are most likely to become new residents. Tenant-screening services like RentSpree automate the process of credit and background checks, so leasing staff can focus on critical tasks like apartment tours, resident requests and answering in-depth questions from renters.

Online applications can often be completed by residents when they request a tour via an ILS site as well, so onsite staff can identify tenants that are most interested before they even show the unit.

For onsite teams that could use extra support, there are also options that fully support leasing teams in communicating with renters and qualifying leads. Virtual leasing centers such as Contact Center offer services to book in-person or virtual appointments and even qualify leads that can be sent directly to the leasing team’s property management system. These services are often available 24/7 to communicate with prospects via call centers, chat and email.

3. Advertise Without Duplicating Efforts

Your team spends time gathering quality photos, descriptions, 3D videos and other content to showcase your vacant listings. Once all the assets are ready, it can be daunting to duplicate efforts when it comes time to create the advertisements. That’s where integrated marketing solutions can help property marketers, or leasing staff, avoid unnecessary busy work.
Automated advertising solutions integrate with your property’s ILS listings to source graphics and descriptions. So ads are created without your team having to slog through countless revisions and come up with campaigns on the fly.

Tech tools such as Search Ads Express and Social Ads Express offer turn-key advertising services that target in-market renters based on ILS data, so your budget goes toward those who are actively looking for an apartment in your area. Finding a Fair Housing-compliant advertising tool allows teams to reach a specific audience that is most likely to take action while alleviating risk from federal and local housing advertising regulations.

4. Effortlessly Communicate With Renters

From your property’s voice mailbox to the inbox, inquiries can stack up while the team juggles multiple tasks. Training employees to keep up with these tasks can also be costly. According to Bersin by Deloitte, a firm specializing in HR services and research, the average cost of onboarding a new employee is close to $4,000. For multifamily specifically, property management firms can also spend $2,500 to $3,500 a month on salary for each staff member that manages onsite communication.

Brainstorm ways that your team can cut down on manual communication and automate the most common requests that come through. An easy way to do this is through renter communication platforms that integrate with your property management system and allow you to monitor and respond to email and texts in one place. Leasing teams use renter communication platforms to automatically send a video tour, survey residents’ satisfaction, generate new reviews and opt renters into marketing communications.

Is it Worth the Investment?

Recent resignations have created challenges for onsite staff, but removing repetitive and monotonous tasks can free up time for your best talent to focus on the most rewarding aspects of their jobs. It also frees up extra budget. Although adding technology tools comes with an upfront cost, leasing teams can quickly recoup that spend by saving money on what would otherwise go toward rushed recruiting and hiring efforts as well as salary expenses to fill vacant positions.

For example, a bundled virtual leasing center service from multifamily technology solutions provider, RentPath, starts at less than $500 per month. That’s an investment of less than $6,000 per year compared to the average leasing agent salary, which can range from $32,000 to $99,000 per year according to Glassdoor. Including live chat and chatbots, emergency maintenance, and 24/7 call center support, these services give teams comprehensive support so they can dedicate more time and resources to hiring best-fit staff for their teams.

Without the burden of these simple and time-consuming tasks, your team’s skills can be better served, not to mention the staff will be happier. With more efficient processes, owners and operators can get more done while saving valuable dollars that can be invested in sustaining a strong, satisfied onsite team.

— By Rachel Richardson, a demand generation specialist for RentPath, an Atlanta-based digital marketing company that serves the multifamily industry.

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