Just over a decade ago, I wrote this post about the need for savvy operators to build brand loyalty with their residents because of the impact the great recession would have on apartment occupancy. Today’s battle for market share is all about talent. Companies are fighting to fill the holes in their teams with the best available people. Facing a tight employment market where recruiting is becoming more difficult, it is time to fine-tune your culture. When everything else is the same – wages, benefits, etc. – culture is the tiebreaker. Smart job seekers know this, and it is critical that your culture stands out. Be vigilant about course-correcting any cultural dissonance. Your existing team and your future team are holding you accountable for it.
Swipe Right for Culture
Now is the time for innovations in recruitment and hiring. Potential candidates speed date through the endless options for employment and if you want to be the company that causes them to swipe right, you need to think in terms of the team member experience and how you ensure that your company lives up to the hype.
Zero to Ten – Where is your pain level?
Every company has some form of financial review process. It is an important measure of business health. I encourage you to add a cultural review to your routine. Ask good questions. Listen thoughtfully to responses. What is the story behind the story? Where are the cultural pain points and what can you do to relieve them? What is the temperature of your current team members? How connected are they to your culture?
The current employment market is not a call to hire whoever you can get. Top talent is still available and those are the people you want to attract. Avoid the panic hire – the one that you knew in your gut wasn’t the right fit for the position or the company. That path leads to an inevitable painful exit which further tarnishes the opportunity for brand loyalty. It isn’t fair to anyone and shakes the confidence of your team.
I don’t have a magic wand to produce key talent in this unusual market. But I do know that it is my job to ensure that our culture is healthy. It is the sort of work that is harder to quantify but it pays the biggest dividends in the end. My parents’ generation favored the stability of lifelong careers at one company. Workers today are less afraid of uncertainty and want to do work that feeds their spirits and their bank accounts. Passion is the name of the game. You don’t have to change everything about your culture, but you do need your company to be who you say you are.
What are you doing to ensure your culture delivers on your brand promises?
About Mike Brewer
My mission is to tease out the human potential in the multifamily space.