More Multifamily Firms Taking Steps to Combat Growing Stress Among Property Managers

More Multifamily Firms Taking Steps to Combat Growing Stress Among Property Managers

Critical Issue Comes to Light as RE Industry Marks 1st Anniversary Of National Property Manager’s Day

SOLON, Ohio, Sept. 14, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — There is bad news and good news to report before National Property Manager’s Day, which PropTech firm MRI Software established last year on September 23rd:  The bad news is that property managers continue to face high levels of stress, according to results from the most recent National Apartment Association (NAA) Mental and Emotional Health Survey, conducted by Swift Bunny and sponsored by MRI. The good news is that multifamily companies are increasingly taking steps to alleviate the stress.

At the forefront of these efforts are RealSource Properties, Viking Residential, and Zidan Management Group (ZMG), each of which earned high ratings from employees who took the survey. As part of the preparations for this year’s National Property Manager’s Day, MRI interviewed executives from these companies to learn the secrets of their success with stress relief. “These companies serve as excellent examples for the multifamily industry,” says Brian Zrimsek, industry principal of MRI. “They embody the spirit of National Property Manager’s Day, which we created to encourage multifamily companies to support property managers and ease the daunting mental health challenges they face.”

RealSource Properties
According to Crystal Dukes, RealSource’s director of education, training, and DEI strategies, it’s important to ask for feedback. The firm participates in and issues surveys that allow associates to respond anonymously, and then creates or revamps programs based on that feedback. Recent feedback prompted the firm to create a space within its intranet called Headspace, which provides a multitude of resources for associates. There, associates can join specific Employee Resource Groups, such as Our Voices for black associates and allies, and access free TED talks on mental health. RealSource also offers an Employee Assistance Program and a cash rewards program called Motivosity. The HR director oversees a Mental Health and Wellbeing Council and meets monthly with members. Another significant initiative that RealSource launched is an extra two weeks of sick time — separate from vacation time — and dedicated time off for volunteer activities. 

Dukes advises other multifamily employers to tap into resources from organizations like the NAA and ask their benefits providers for additional ideas. She reminds them of the value of their on-site teams, who, as she points out, “hold it all together for you.” 

Viking Residential
Viking conducts frequent surveys to assess how its employees are feeling. According to Caroline Adillon, the firm’s president, Viking also holds quarterly town halls to obtain direct feedback and discuss employee suggestions. Additional services include an Employee Assistance Program, and a training program from Grace Hill, which offers courses on such topics as stress management and the science of happiness. Employees also enjoy two employee-only events held each year.

But perhaps the most important initiative is called “Candid Conversations.” As Adillon explains, these are a type of “skip-level” meeting. During COVID, she and a regional manager took the necessary precautions to safely visit each site, meeting with every single employee to learn what further support Viking could provide. Every meeting ended with the question: “And how are you doing personally?” Employees told Adillon that no previous employer had ever asked them this question, and that they really appreciated her interest in their wellbeing. Adilllon recommends that multifamily firms employ a similar approach. Even large companies can send a VP or other senior leader to conduct these in-person, one-on-one meetings to demonstrate that an employer truly cares.

Zidan Management Group (ZMG)
Zidan Management Group (ZMG) has launched several initiatives to support the mental health of its team members, says Tyler Marker, director of marketing and professional development. One is a health counseling service that is available 24/7. Furthermore, in every market where ZMG has a presence, there is a local counseling service provider within a 30-minute drive, and ZMG co-covers the costs of the counseling sessions. To date, 43% of the community management associates have taken advantage of these services. To supplement these services, ZMG sponsors a quarterly presentation on mental health by a nationally known expert. The firm also offers five paid “mental health days” beyond PTO and sick time.

Marker recommends firms learn what their team members want and need and then respond appropriately to meet the moment, which improves employee retention. To him, National Property Manager’s Day represents exactly what multifamily companies should do: “Take every opportunity to promote the property management industry and celebrate the people within it.” 

If you need any additional encouragement to celebrate National Property Manager’s Day and to launch initiatives similar to those of RealSource, Viking, and ZMG, consider the industry observations of Doug Miller, partner and chief research officer of Swift Bunny:

“An analysis of our employee survey results shows the huge impact of the immense challenges faced by front-line teams, especially property managers: average property manager tenure is only 781 days (2.1 years); 16.6% of new on-site management team members leave the company before their first 90 days on the job. Reducing property manager stress levels and turnover by addressing workload, staffing, and offering more wellbeing resources will reap bottom-line rewards as property and company performance requires an experienced, healthy, and motivated property manager guiding the ship. 

“Employee workload, burnout, stress, and mental wellbeing matter more than ever. Personal and professional challenges over the last several years have resulted in avoidable on-site staff turnover and difficulty filling vacant positions. This leads to a decrease in service delivery and an increase in costly resident turnover; all of which impacts property and company NOI.” 

For more information about National Property Manager’s Day and to download a toolkit, please visit https://info.mrisoftware.com/National-Property-Managers-Day

About MRI Software
MRI Software is a leading provider of real estate software solutions that transform the way communities live, work and play. MRI’s open and connected, AI-first platform empowers owners, operators and occupiers in commercial and residential property organizations to innovate in rapidly changing markets. MRI has been a trailblazer in the PropTech industry for over five decades, serving more than six million users worldwide. Through innovative solutions and a rich partner ecosystem, MRI gives real estate companies the freedom to realize their vision of building thriving communities and stronger businesses. For more information, please visit mrisoftware.com.

Press Contact:
Rachel Antman
+1 212-362-5837
[email protected]

SOURCE MRI Software LLC

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Real Estate - Miami County Post originally published at Real Estate - Miami County Post