- This year, owners and operators reported that staffing shortages and recruiting as their biggest challenge.
- Understaffed leasing teams are often stifled by repetitive tasks, less efficient tools and overloaded inboxes.
- Finding new recruiting opportunities can be as simple and inexpensive as reaching out to your network on social media or even connecting with your local apartment association.
This year, owners and operators reported that staffing shortages and recruiting are their biggest challenge. Staffing issues have become an “everyday conversation” in the industry and was a major topic at Apartmentalize 2022 as National Apartment Association President, Don Brunner shared with BisNow.
For part two of our budgeting series, “Money, Effort, Time: Building a better property marketing budget,” we’ll dig into opportunities for addressing staffing concerns.
We’ll walk through ways to factor staffing wins into your budget planning this year:
- Sharpen onsite operations for more efficiency
- Lighten the communication workload
- Attract all-stars with recruitment and retention strategies
Cut down overtime hours by sharpening up operations
Understaffed leasing teams are often stifled by repetitive tasks, inefficient tools and overloaded inboxes. A great way to identify how you can simplify current operations for your teams is to run an audit of your current processes. Start gathering information by taking a Workforce Needs Evaluation, holding group discussions to talk through common pain points, and assessing tools that have helped/hindered your team in the past.
Three areas you can focus on are automation, integrations and lead quality. This is where teams have the most flexibility in reducing extra workload.
Here are common questions properties can ask in their audits of onsite operations:
How can we automate repetitive tasks?
The back and forth between a prospect and property team for scheduling alone can add hours of work. Automated tour scheduling in listings, instant email responders to lead form fills, and even chatbots that instantly attend to website visitors are all great next steps for teams looking to get time back.
Are there integrations that would make this go more smoothly?
Find solutions that integrate with your PMS (property management system), marketplace listings and more to limit time spent searching for information and building out campaigns. For example, search and social advertising solutions that integrate with a marketplace can automatically create campaigns from content that is already available in your listings. This can greatly reduce the time needed to gather materials, build campaigns, generate reporting and track down information.
Can we qualify more renter leads before they reach our team?
Lead overload is no joke. Finding ways to bring in higher quality leads and fewer dead-end opportunities that your team has to keep up with can reduce overtime hours. Configure lead forms with critical questions to help qualify potential renters. Also ensure that digital tools like your virtual leasing center are optimized to drive interested renters into action and weed out unfruitful opportunities (spam, uninterested leads, etc.) before your team has to weigh in.
Lighten your team’s communication workload
As you assess upcoming costs and staffing requirements, map out the most common types of inquiries your team receives. Then, empower your teams to decide how automated or personalized you want that communication to be for each type on inquiry. Virtual leasing teams, chatbots, and voice AI support are all great ways to help onsite teams field inquiries. And, they’re even more valuable when adjusted to fit your requirements. For example, your team may be comfortable having an automated tool for scheduling appointments but prefer that a member of the staff provide details on rates and upcoming availability.
It can also be challenging and costly to delegate communication because of the skills needed to connect with renters effectively. That’s why it’s important to seek out solutions that are multifamily-focused, FHA compliant and take into account your team’s priorities. Clear guidelines will yield better results.
Hire and retain all-star team members with proven strategies
The cost of recruiting new staff adds up. Companies are competing for top talent and reenvisioning how they can support current staff to cultivate thriving workforces. In a recent webinar, “How Property Teams Can Overcome Staff Turnover,” Lori Agudo, from Royal American Management, Inc. shared long-term strategies that have worked for her teams. From major employee development programs to simply supporting current staff with extra encouragement, she highlighted the variety of options properties can employ. Check out a few ideas Lori shared in this clip. You can also view the full webinar here.
As Lori shared, finding new recruiting opportunities can be as simple and inexpensive as reaching out to your network on social media or even connecting with your local apartment association. While putting together your financial plan, you can brainstorm all of the no-cost, low cost and even more substantial program ideas for recruitment and staff support opportunities.
A fresh start for your teams
We’ve reached a turning point in the multifamily industry where properties can leverage tech to simplify experiences across the leasing journey. By making staffing and operational improvements a part of your budget, your property can get the most out of these efforts.
For part one of our series, we took a look at the tangible costs of creating your advertising and marketing budget. Be sure to check if out if you missed it and stay tuned for our final part on how to save time.