The long hours, the demanding clients … a career in the multifamily industry isn’t for the faint of heart. That’s why Michelle Jenson is committed to maintaining a positive work environment where employees feel valued and supported.

Michelle Jenson, Chief Property Officer, P.B. Bell
Michelle Jenson, Chief Property Officer, P.B. Bell

Jenson is the chief property officer at P.B. Bell, one of the Phoenix metro area’s oldest multifamily management firms. She joined the company in October, taking over for Debbie Willis, who retired after 40 years with the company.

Among Jenson’s top priorities: helping ensure P.B. Bell remains inclusive, collaborative, and supportive — qualities that have resulted in long employee tenures and best-place-to-work accolades from local media outlets.

“I think the culture at P.B. Bell is second to none,” says Jenson, who comes to the management firm with more than 20 years of experience in the multifamily industry.

Here are five tips to foster a people-centered workplace:

  1. Establish a sense of belonging: Scattered across properties, it’s easy for employees to feel disconnected. “We strive to bridge the gap between the corporate office and our on-site teams through various programs and events,” Jenson says. Corporate managers routinely step away from the “mother ship” to work closely with property managers on-site. Plus, events such as On-site Appreciation Day, Maintenance Appreciation Week, and an all-employee year-end celebration show gratitude and build comradery. From management to maintenance, it’s all about fostering teamwork and collaboration, she says.
  2. Prioritize work-life balance: One of the challenges in the multifamily industry is maintaining a healthy work-life balance due to demanding schedules and client expectations. P.B. Bell prioritizes the well-being of its employees by offering benefits like a four-and-a-half-day workweek at the corporate office. This allows team members to have more time for personal commitments and family. “We really talk to our employees to gauge their needs,” Jenson says. “We want them eating dinner with their families every night.”
  3. Invest in employee growth and development: P.B. Bell focuses on fostering internal career growth through career path planning, mentoring, coaching, and opportunities for advancement. By investing in its employees' professional development, P.B. Bell ensures a motivated and engaged workforce.
  4. Reward outstanding work: Employees who demonstrate P.B. Bell’s values—get creative, act with integrity, be accountable, show you care, and enjoy the ride—can be nominated to receive a cash bonus.
  5. Consult a culture coach: This is an opportunity to analyze employee morale, leadership styles, and team dynamics as well as identify areas for improvement. “We have a culture coach who comes in and spends time with our leadership team and makes sure people are feeling valued, appreciated, and recognized, and gives us the tools to do that,” Jenson notes.

These are simple measures most any multifamily company can implement, and, in the case of P.B. Bell, a connected, engaged workforce has helped position the firm as a nimble operation, offering clients customized solutions.

“We’re really focused on building the third-party management side of the business, and there is such an opportunity for a boutique operator like us to shine right now,” Jenson says.

P.B. Bell is equally committed to providing an exceptional resident experience. For that, it turns to Cox Communities. Cox offers multifamily properties end-to-end digital solutions that keep communities connected. Click here to learn more.