Operations How to Create Associate Loyalty May 21, 2017

By Lecia Anderson, Vice President of Operations

Make no mistake: Strong onsite sales, service and management teams are the foundation of successful apartment communities.

An apartment community can have an unbeatable location and a glittering array of cutting-edge amenities, but without a top-notch staff in place, its performance potential is limited. Only a knowledgeable, experienced and caring onsite team can attract prospects, delight residents and drive renewals.

How can multifamily companies create associate loyalty and retain high-performing onsite associates for the long-term? Below are some recommendations.

Create a real sense of purpose

Today’s associates, particularly millennials and members of Generation Z, want more than just a paycheck from their jobs. They want to be a part of something bigger than themselves, to feel connected to a larger mission. They need a sense of purpose; when they are empowered to do the right thing, they thrive and remain loyal.

At JVM Realty, we work to create an environment in which our associates are united by a common purpose of caring for our residents and each other with a Midwestern work ethic and values. Our creed is, “Work hard. Have fun. Take care of each other with a warrior spirit, a positive mental attitude and a servant’s heart.”

Foster a healthy workplace culture

A culture of transparency and constant communication is important for creating associate loyalty as well. When associates are kept in the loop and able to voice their concerns and ideas, they will trust their employer and will develop a real loyalty to the company. Regular company-wide conference calls and a robust communication platform are just a couple of ways JVM promotes such a culture.

A multifamily company also needs to look to grow and change. Its leadership should always be asking, “What’s possible?” and “How might we be doing things differently?” Accordingly, seek out associate feedback on how to improve policies and procedures.

Provide extensive training and education

For onsite associates to stay with an organization, they must feel like they are being given the resources and training necessary to do their jobs. On-the-job coaching, e-learning platforms, field and corporate collaboration, and tuition reimbursement are just a few of the methods through which apartment companies can develop and support their associates.

Consider giving high-performing associates the chance to mentor new employees or lead training sessions. These opportunities are bound to make the associates feel appreciated and important.

Offer competitive benefits

It may seem obvious, but it’s worth reiterating that multifamily companies need to offer competitive compensation and comprehensive benefits to retain associates. Medical insurance, personal time off, paid holidays, retirement plans, housing discounts and bonus programs are all critical components of a benefits package that will keep team members satisfied.

Consider a perk that allows associates to contribute to the greater good. If an associate sees that he or she works for a company that cares about improving the surrounding community, that team member is bound to feel better about his or her employer. JVM offers a corporate gift-matching program, through which we match our associates’ charitable donations up to a certain amount. We also offer associates time off to do volunteer work.

Recognize a job well done

It’s paramount that leaders reward associates. Kudos for a job well done make them feel more appreciated and motivated to perform. Therefore, a robust recognition and rewards program can play a big role in associate retention.

JVM has a quarterly and annual awards program, and exceptional performances are recognized even more frequently than that through our internal communications platform, e-newsletters, social media and company-wide calls. We believe these initiatives serve to bring our team closer together.

Associate loyalty doesn’t just happen. It takes commitment and consistency. Companies can create it when they put their associates first and their values into action.