Corporate Social Responsibility Has Officially Moved In to Multifamily

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What a difference a year can make! An acronym that few in our industry knew or could define in 2016 is now a topic in nearly every industry conference across the country. Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR, has officially arrived.

Over the last 8 weeks alone, I’ve spoken on the topic at the Minnesota Multihousing Apartment Association’s Fall Conference, a client’s Annual Leadership Meeting, NMHC’s OpTech, Yardi’s Marketing Forum, the Apartment Association of Metro Denver’s TechCon, and the Multifamily Leadership Summit. Unit’s Magazine published an article by Doug Miller and me on ManagInc’s 2017 Multifamily CSR Benchmark Study, and the National Apartment Association has recognized that the topic is so important in our industry that they announced the formation of a permanent Corporate Social Responsibility Committee! Socially responsible business practices matter to employees and residents (especially Millennials; Doug Miller was named to the committee), as well as supplier partners and investors.

This is where many companies are hitting the deer-in-headlights mode. The questions we most commonly hear are:

-          What is everyone else doing?

-          How much is an initiative like this going to cost?

-          How do we even start?

These are similar questions that we heard when online reputation management came on the scene. The idea of a “CSR Initiative” can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be. We view CSR as a basic concept: Taking care of those who make your business successful, i.e. employees, suppliers, residents and the communities you operate within.

What is everyone else doing?

We’ve researched what “everyone else” is doing in our landmark 2017 Multifamily CSR Benchmark Study to get a baseline understanding of our industry. You can download it for free HERE. (By the way, we’re getting ready to start the 2018 study, so contact us HERE if you’d like your company to participate.)  

How much is an initiative like this going to cost?

We’ve crunched the numbers. A culture that lacks socially responsible business practices - meaning companies who don’t take care of their people - can lose between 9 and 29 million dollars due to employee and resident turnover. However, companies who do take care of those who make their business successful (companies who focus on CSR) can reduce their overall turnover costs by 4 to 14 million dollars.  Think about how much you currently pay to list one 350-unit property on an ILS for a year. That’s about how much it can cost to begin a basic CSR approach for your entire portfolio. Sounds like a good return on investment to me.

How do we even start?

Celebrate the things you are already doing to take care of your employees, suppliers, residents and local communities. Recognize the benefits, education and career opportunities you provide for your team. Cheer on the amenities, services, events and environment you provide for your residents. Acknowledge and thank those who have participated in conservation efforts or volunteer activities that give back to the communities you operate within.

And then, get organized for growth! That’s where we can provide the tools and support to help you evaluate, measure, benchmark and improve your CSR efforts. The result is the Triple Bottom Line: People, Planet, Profit. I’d love the opportunity to learn about your goals for 2018. I invite you to schedule 30 minutes with me to discover what focusing on CSR could mean for your own bottom line. Schedule time with me