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In a recent survey of multifamily employee morale organized by company rank, J Turner Research has uncovered a 24% differential between on-site teams’ and executives’ ratings of their satisfaction with their companies' handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, with on-site team members more likely to give their companies a lower rating than executives. A smaller, 13% disconnect exists between on-site team members and regional managers/vice presidents over the same metric.

The survey drew responses from over 6,100 multifamily employees, who were asked to rate a series of questions on a scale from 1 to 10—1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest. Seventy percent of respondents were on-site team members, including property managers, maintenance professionals, and leasing consultants, according to J Turner Research.

While motivation is high across the board, average ratings differ between executives (9.23), regional managers/VPs (8.40), and on-site members (7.87), or a 17% differential overall. Regional managers/VPs reported the highest impacts of the pandemic on their morale at 6.31, followed by on-site personnel at 6.03 and executives at 5.69.

"The employee morale survey highlights a gap between the executives and on-site team members' perceptions regarding the handling of COVID-19. We have seen this difference of opinion between the two, even during pre-COVID times. In a Leaders Survey conducted in late 2019, both management levels disagreed on challenging issues for their company,” says Joseph Batdorf, president of J Turner Research. "Efficiently run organizations have everyone on the same page. Winning over the on-site team members' trust and confidence is critical as they are the boots on the ground at the end of the day.”

Across all levels, all employees said they are very unlikely to leave their current company, and all are willing to recommend their company as a good place to work. A 15% differential exists between executives’ and on-site team members’ view of their current companies.

In the open-ended comment section, on-site teams were asked to share their view of the multifamily industry’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in particular their companies' successes and failures. Overall, on-site team members reported feeling burned out, stressed, overworked, and “under fire” from residents. In its analysis, J Turner has uncovered a number of common themes in the employees’ responses:

  • Lack of adequate compensation for their work, including additional hours or hazard pay
  • Heavier workloads due to short staffing, layoffs, and additional responsibilities and reporting
  • A lack of understanding of employee stress from senior management
  • Lack of recognition as “front line workers”
  • A lack of flexibility for team members with children
  • Delays from corporate offices regarding COVID-19 operating policies, which translate to resident frustration with on-site workers

The complete study is available here.