Camden Property Trust's senior vice president of human resources Cindy Scharringhausen

Company culture is a main factor in attracting and retaining strong employees. And its importance is only increasing as millennials enter the job market looking for a company they can be passionate about.

More and more, millennials are using lists like Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For to guide their career choices. Camden Property Trust at No. 10, was the only company in the multifamily industry to make the list this year, and it’s consistently been at the top for the last five years in a row.

Multifamily Executive caught up with Cindy Scharringhausen, senior vice president of human resources at Camden Property Trust, to find out what the company is doing to make employees so happy.

MFE: What’s your advice for other companies looking to make it to Fortune’s list?  
CS: One of the greatest benefits of being named to Fortune’s list is highlighting multifamily as a career choice. And we have many great companies in this industry. We absolutely want to encourage others to apply. The application process is not difficult and it helps you look at your company from a different perspective. It is an opportunity to dive deep into the company’s policies, practices and traditions that come together to create a unique culture. As a result, we now have a much better understanding of what practices work best for us and can focus on enhancing these going forward.

MFE: How would you describe the culture at Camden Property Trust? 
CS: Like all multifamily companies, our culture is very busy. Camden is a fun and caring environment. Our philosophy is that with all the time we spend at work, it needs to be a place we want to be. Making our workdays fun and enjoying the time we spend together is a huge part of our culture. Whether we are creating a Vine video to win Camden Super Bowl tickets, sharing stories about our families or playing volleyball with co-workers, we will always look for opportunities to have fun and laugh together.           

MFE: What’s the most important aspect in keeping your employees happy? 
CS: Open communication. From sharing ideas to pursuing new career opportunities to reviewing company performance, Camden associates want to engage in honest conversation and know they are sincerely valued members of the team.

MFE: How do you make sure every person from the very bottom to the top are having their needs met? 
CS: Employees are unique individuals with different needs. The challenge for organizations is meeting all the diverse needs that exist within our teams. At Camden, we offer a variety of programs and opportunities that will, we hope, meet the primary needs of each team member. To see how we are doing, we survey our associates annually and carefully review their feedback to identify areas for improvement. The constant feedback/response loop helps us direct resources to areas most important to our team members.   

MFE: Is there a particular part of your benefits package that is unique or innovative? 
CS: One of our more innovative benefits is our Scholarship Fund for children of Camden team members. Since the program began in 2007, we have awarded 373 scholarships to associates’ children, totaling more than $1.3 million. 

MFE: What are the key traits your team looks for when hiring a new team member? 
CS:  The No. 1 trait we look for is alignment with our values. Our nine core values guide us in our everyday decisions. Team members’ actions must be consistent with our values for them to be successful and happy at Camden. When new hires are able to walk through the door and accept the people around them for who they are, we know we have a fit.