Voice of the Employee (VoE) - The New Frontier in Reputation Management

We’ve got a staffing crisis on our hands. While the average U.S. employee turnover rate is at 19%, multifamily employee turnover is at 32%. If we focus solely on the onsite employees, the number rises to more than 40%. Additionally, CFO.com reports the cost for each lost is employee over more than 1.5 times their salary. Losing good employees is hard enough, but due to a seemingly shrinking talent pool, finding good employees is even more challenging. And if good employees left due to dissatisfaction with you as an employer, finding replacements may be exponentially more difficult.  

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your online reputation just gained a layer. With the rise of employer review sites, such as Glassdoor.com and Indeed, your new job candidates are evaluating you as much as you are evaluating them. Current and ex-employees are writing reviews about their employment experience. The question is, what are they saying behind your back?

And in case you want to dismiss the impact of employee opinions, Glassdoor.com, for example, has more than 11 million employee reviews, representing 500,000 companies (up from 340,000 companies a year ago). With 30 million unique visitors each month on its site, be assured that its content is being seen. Additionally, this is virtually unchartered territory, as only 12% (61,000) of the companies listed on Glassdoor interact with the site.  

How does a property management company protect and improve its reputation to successfully recruit and retain good employees?

1.     Know thyself – What do the employer review / job finding sites say about your company? When was the last time you conducted an employee satisfaction survey? By getting to know what your employees, past and present, are saying you’ll be able to identify your brag-worthy strengths and your cringe-worthy opportunities for improvement.

2.     Take care of your own – You expect a lot from your employees. What are you doing to make sure it’s a win-win relationship? What benefits, programs and/or resources would be most valuable to your workforce? Do you have a lot of incoming college grads who could use help with their student loans? How does your maternity/paternity leave stack up against the competition? Are you offering ongoing education and career development? Employees have options, and knowing what would enhance their lives goes a long way in making your organization more attractive for the long term.

3.     Participate in the online conversation – Just as it’s so important to respond to online reviews about your apartment communities, it’s important to respond to employment reviews as well. Your response (or lack thereof) may be a job applicant’s first impression of you and your business culture. Take ownership of that impression.

Voice of the Employee (VoE) is one of the top employee trends for 2017. Team members want to be able to give and get feedback, to request and receive information and education, to participate in the company conversation. It’s interesting to me that about 80% of our clients have some kind of ongoing resident feedback program, but less than 20% have an ongoing employee feedback program. The attitudes of the individual team members set the tone for the attitudes and expectations of the residents.

The benefit of happy, engaged employees is three-fold. First, you’ll see lower employee turnover, which leads to lower resident turnover, PLUS you’ll experience a more positive reputation, enabling you to recruit more employees when vacancies do arise.