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?
Driving around many major metropolitan areas poses any number of road hazards. Most drivers have experienced the shock and chagrin of hitting an unseen (or seen too late) pothole while traveling at a clip. Or accidentally curbing a tire in a tight space. Both situations are startling, embarrassing – and quickly forgotten in the hustle and bustle of daily life. Sometime later, the car starts to pull to the right or left or the tires begin to squeal, and you realize the car is out of alignment. It may not be an emergency but letting it go for long means that the tires will wear very quickly or unevenly. The steering wheel might even shake and vibrate making it uncomfortable to drive.
Proper alignment is necessary for a vehicle to handle well. The same can be said when sourcing for talent in your organization. Too often, the talent acquisition process centers on just the specific job skills needed for a particular assignment and neglects the intrinsic importance of cultural alignment.
There is a lot of news about the high number of open jobs in the US creating concerns over a labor shortage. The pressure to fill vacant positions quickly can lead to cultural misalignment. On the day a newly hired employee starts work, the company attempts to assign its core values to that team member without considering or understanding if its values align with the personal core values of the new hire. In that case, the talent acquisition process may be flawed. When organizational and personal values are in conflict – are out of alignment – you may begin to see signs of wear and tear within the individual and on the workgroup as a whole.
When sourcing for new talent, consider that alignment is better than assignment. Alignment is born out of shared core values. It is important to note that shared values are not related to age, race, religion, or any of the other equal employment opportunity protections. For example, one of our core values is Caring. All applicants are capable of caring and very few people will state that they don’t care in a job interview. In this case, learning what caring means to an applicant and how much value they personally place on it is an integral part of the talent acquisition practice.
If we agree that organizational culture matters when building a high-performance company, then it increases the importance of finding and correcting culture gaps. Failing to do so erodes employee faith in the organization and can lead to team member disengagement. Don’t wait until the tires wear out before you assess and repair anything that is out of alignment in your organization.
In this episode, we discuss skill v. a college degree.
Episode 46 | ApartmentHacker | Mindset
Episode 47 | ApartmentHacker | Lost Productivity
Episode 48 | ApartmentHacker | The Space Between
Episode 49 | ApartmentHacker | Dirty Socks and Apple Pie
Episode 50 | ApartmentHacker | Playing Below the Line
In ApartmentHacker episodes 21-25, I discuss my thoughts on everything from education to my desire to be enriched in the multifamily space. Buckle up and enjoy. And, push back where you see fit in the comment section below.
Episode 21 | ApartmentHacker | Education
Episode 22 | ApartmentHacker | Effort
Episode 23 | ApartmentHacker | You read What?
Episode 24 | ApartmentHacker | Serve the Customer
Episode 25 | ApartmentHacker | I Want to be Enriched