The war for talent is more than a headline. It’s a conversation found in board rooms, daily huddles, and on just about every social media platform as hiring managers lament the challenges in sourcing and retaining new team members. Many factors contribute to the challenging job market. Unemployment claims are at the lowest point in decades, baby boomers are aging out of the market, and in a movement dubbed “The Great Resignation” hundreds of thousands voluntarily left jobs this year. Meanwhile, the rise in gig work gave many workers freedoms rarely offered in traditional job roles. Many job openings are the result of existing team members who left for greener pastures such as more money, better benefits, improved quality of life, or from unhappiness in their role or the overall organization.
Inc., Forbes, Fortune, and dozens of other publications have published articles on this topic, some even positing that the war for talent will continue through 2031. While some may disagree with a point or conclusion in one of these articles, it seems clear that employers must revisit and rethink how to attract, retain, and motivate new team members.
Every multifamily operator understands the fundamentals of supply and demand in terms of apartments, market comparables, rent rates, resident satisfaction and retention, amenities, and other desirable factors. No operator worth their salt would attempt to lease up a property without knowing their competitive market and understanding what sets them apart from all the other options a renter has – because success is measured by the consumer, the one with the ability to choose.
The war for talent is in many ways similar to a lease-up – albeit one where five other new construction properties came on the market at the exact same time with similar cutting-edge amenities and sky-high rents. The job market competitors are a little harder to define – you could lose a candidate to a company in another time zone not just down the street. In any case, it’s time to pull out all the stops, define your competitive edge, and reimagine your marketing strategy.
Culture as a Differentiator
If your pay rates are competitive with the market, benefits are top-notch, and your practice of work-life balance is more than just a worn-out phrase, then you may be closer to a level playing field, but that doesn’t close the deal. Ultimately, culture is the differentiator. If this is war, then now is the time to make radical changes in your battle plan and lead the charge with an authentic culture that places importance on the things that matter to employees.
As leaders, if you haven’t done the work of doing a deep evaluation of your company’s culture then get to it. I encourage you to examine your mission statements and core values and honestly analyze your culture. Where is organizational behavior aligned with your promised culture and what needs to be recalibrated? Culture is your organization’s DNA and should form your operational common language. Does everyone in your company understand its core values? Where are the pain points – the places where corporate and leadership actions diverge from your stated values? Those disconnects become the fertile soil of disillusionment for current employees and can lead to dissatisfaction and turnover.
Shot Gun Hiring
The rush to hire as quickly as possible can lead to a potential culture killer. As companies become desperate to fill empty seats, both to get the necessary work done and to relieve the pressure on existing overburdened staff, it is possible, even probable, that alignment with cultural values will be downgraded on the list of hiring criteria. This type of shotgun hiring is a short-term solution that requires a strategy to encourage cultural cohesion. Consider employees’ introduction to the company and support their internal job path with education, peer-to-peer connections, and frequent touchpoints to provide feedback and encouragement – something even more important when new hires work remotely and miss out on the experience of informal connectivity. In the end, the goal is to transition all new hires into engaged team members and fans of the organization while keeping the core values of your company intact.
Has your company developed a winning battle plan for the war on talent? Share your thoughts with us here or on our social media pages.
Never miss another Multifamily Collective moment. Sign up to Catch the Weekly Rundown to see all our weekly content plus bonus material for our subscribers. It’s FREE, easy, and we promise not to spam your inbox!