Last modified on June 3rd, 2020
By Brittany Benz
A lack of company culture can lead to dissatisfied employees, a loss of productivity, and increased turnover. Having a resilient culture is key when it comes to overcoming challenges and maintaining positivity. Property management businesses have quickly pivoted and instituted new processes to adapt to COVID-19 and keep their teams connected. As we move forward, having a strong culture will continue to be essential to maintaining productivity and growth for the long-term.
We partnered with NAA to take an in-depth look into how employee expectations have changed over the years, how you can use technology to increase employee satisfaction, and how you can truly develop and engage your talent. Here are the main takeaways from the webinar:
Culture Matters to Today’s Workers
Even prior to the pandemic, employees valued feeling connected to their workplace, but now that so many are working from home, it has become even more vital. The majority of today’s workforce are Millennials (35%) and Gen Xers (33%), all of whom fall between the ages of 23 and 54. For millennials, a company’s culture is extremely important. In fact, according to a Glassdoor Mission & Culture Survey, 56% of workers in the U.S. say that a company’s culture is more important than salary, and 66% say that their company’s culture is one of the main reasons they stay in their job.
Both Gen Xers and Millennials value work-life balance, learning new skills, and having access to technology — all key components of a strong company culture. As more Millenials and also Gen Zers (age 7-22) come into the workforce in the coming years, this demand for technology is only going to increase.
Digital Natives Demand Technology
From shopping online for groceries to using Uber for transportation, Millennials and Gen Zers are already accustomed to carrying out the majority of their day-to-day tasks using digital technology. Now, because of the pandemic, people of all ages have also begun to rely on technology to facilitate their daily interactions. This is a change that is likely to become permanent, and will impact the way property management companies do business. However, many companies don’t have the digital tools they need to fully deliver on this — a problem that has been exacerbated as property management businesses have been forced to shift their operations online.
When asked what tech-related challenges they were having trouble with during COVID-19, property management professionals reported not being able to complete pivotal tasks remotely, key processes not being fully digital, and a lack of defined workflows as their top three challenges, based on results from a recent AppFolio survey. Many property management companies have had to pivot and rapidly embrace technology to overcome these challenges. According to the survey, respondents reported their dependence on virtual showings and bulk email/text messages have increased during this time.
Embracing technology can not only improve employee satisfaction, it can also create efficient and intuitive experiences for your customers. For instance, with AppFolio Property Manager’s Online Portal, your team can easily and quickly communicate with residents and vendors for everything from maintenance repairs to rent payments. Having these types of self-service capabilities available saves your team time and frees them up to focus on providing higher levels of customer service.
In addition, AI technology can automate many routine processes that are frustrating and time-consuming. AppFolio’s AI Leasing Assistant, Lisa, can thoughtfully respond to prospective residents and book in-person or virtual showings, so your team never misses a lead. As the country reopens, more people will be ready to consider moving and leasing an apartment again, and this type of technology can help boost team performance, reduce stress, and reduce employee turnover.
Continue to Develop & Engage Your Employees
As everyone has been working together to overcome COVID-19 challenges, it’s important to have empathy and compassion to sustain your culture at a distance. Employees that feel respected and appreciated will be more likely to stick around for long-term. Be sure to communicate often and openly, and to find ways to drive collaboration and stay connected. In addition, offer opportunities for growth by using technology to cross-train your teams and teach new skills. Don’t forget to reward your employees for their success and to continue to provide new ways for them to grow and learn.
Culture is more than just a word, it’s prioritizing and supporting your team holistically in a way that promotes the happiness and overall health of your employees. A culture that is oriented towards team satisfaction and performance will be more resilient because employees will be vested in your company’s long-term success.