Last modified on August 22nd, 2023
By Stacy Holden
The property management industry has been dealing with staffing challenges since long before the phenomenon known as the “Great Resignation” took hold. To understand why hiring and retention continues to be a challenge in our industry and, more importantly, what you can do to overcome it, AppFolio conducted a broad survey of boots-on-the-ground property managers, leasing agents, maintenance technicians, executives, and other team members. The resulting report, the 2023 AppFolio Property Manager Hiring and Retention Report, offers insights and strategies to improve employee satisfaction to make attracting and retaining top talent easier while at the same time making your operations more efficient. After all, keeping teams happy leads to greater retention, motivation, productivity, and profitability.
Here’s just some of what you’ll find in the report:
Nurture your team members’ careers
Encouraging and investing in your employees’ career development is crucial to attract and retain top talent. However, only 54% of survey respondents reported being satisfied with opportunities for career growth, while 74% said this is important to them.
Those who don’t see room for career growth are more likely to be dissatisfied.
As a leader, the first step you can take in nurturing your team members’ careers is to question the assumption that you can’t create career paths for every role. This takes getting to know your team members’ hopes, aspirations, and ambitions and some out-of-the-box thinking.
Once you’ve found promising future leaders, our data shows that bringing them into the fold is a meaningful way to make them happier at work. 40% of respondents reported not being satisfied with visibility into strategic decisions and goals, while 77% said this is important to them.
Reward top performers
Operationally, inflation certainly presents challenges for the property management industry. But it also makes it harder to increase compensation. The data shows, however, that about half of employees are not satisfied with their salary or the connection between their pay and performance.
While increasing cash compensation may not be possible, offering better or more benefits and perks may be a more feasible option, and there’s data to support the importance — and payoff — of doing so. 57% of respondents reported not being satisfied with their company’s benefits and perks, while 80% said this is important to them.
A benefit or perk that’s become extremely sought after in recent years is the ability to work from home. Our survey found that 39% of respondents are not satisfied with their work-life balance, while 92% said it’s important to them.
The ability to work from home or be more efficient and productive during the day (which we’ll discuss in the next section) is only possible with the right technology partner.
Become more efficient and productive with the team you have now
Boosting operational efficiency while growing your portfolio — without hiring additional team members — is significantly less challenging with the right technology. Employees not in leadership positions reported 36% of their time is spent on “busywork,” which is down from 40% in 2022. They also said 15 hours per week — or 38% of a 40-hour work week — could be optimized or streamlined through technology. Dissatisfied employees reported slightly more busywork than satisfied employees (37% vs. 35%) but said they see much more room for technology to optimize or streamline their roles (20 hours per week vs. 14).
Nearly one-third of respondents reported not being satisfied with the technology available for them to do their jobs, while 87% reported it being important — a higher percentage than was found in the importance of benefits and perks (80%).
Additionally, nearly 90% of respondents agreed technology makes their job easier, and just over two-thirds said they prefer to work for a company that adopts the latest technology.
Circling back to the 15 hours per week that survey respondents reported can be optimized or streamlined through technology, it’s entirely possible this number can grow by a multiple when leveraging artificial intelligence. Automating busywork can enable team members to focus on more complex, creative, and high-level tasks. However, those working in the industry might not be able to see the connection between artificial intelligence and their current inefficiencies yet, which is why more understanding and education are needed.
Artificial intelligence isn’t brand new to the property management industry. Proptech companies are — and have been — investing heavily in the space. The technology is slowly but surely revolutionizing the industry and has the potential to make staffing challenges a thing of the past.
The data points and solutions discussed in this article are just a preview of what you’ll find in the 2023 AppFolio Property Manager Hiring and Retention Report. We also explore the current and developing use-cases of artificial intelligence in property management software. For more, you can check out the full report here.