According to this year’s National Apartment Association Mental and Emotional Health Survey conducted by Swift Bunny and sponsored by MRI Software, 40% of respondents feel stressed about their workload.
In celebration of the second annual National Property Manager’s Day on Sept. 23, proptech firm MRI asked for advice from multifamily firms that are addressing the stress that property managers endure and earned a high rating from employees who took the survey.
“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.”
A common thread between these firms is their desire to ask employees for feedback, often conducting surveys to check in on how a team is feeling.
Viking Residential holds quarterly town halls to obtain direct feedback and discuss employee suggestions, according to the firm’s president Caroline Adillon. Viking offers employees an employee assistance program, a training program from Grace Hill with courses on such topics as stress management and the science of happiness, and two employee-only events held each year.
Adillon says that one of its most meaningful initiatives are the one-on-one “Candid Conversations” meetings held with each employee of the company, which includes the question “And how are you doing personally?” It’s a question many employees are appreciative of and Adillon recommends.
At RealSource Properties, Crystal Dukes, director of education, training, and DEI strategies, says gathering employee feedback is imperative. The firm participates in and conducts anonymous surveys to measure employees’ sentiment and then creates or improves programs based on the results. RealSource recently implemented Headspace, which provides employees with a multitude of mental health resources.
Its teams also have access to employee resource groups, free TED talks on mental health, an employee assistance program, and cash rewards on a program called Motivosity. Another benefit offered to RealSource employees is an extra two weeks of sick time, separate from vacation time, and dedicated time off for volunteer activities.
While Zidan Management Group (ZMG) already offers five paid “mental health days” beyond vacation and sick time, the firm also recently launched several mental health initiatives, including a 24/7 health counseling service. Tyler Marker, ZMG director of marketing and professional development, says in every market that ZMG is present, there is a local counseling service provider within a 30-minute drive, and the cost is covered by the firm. He notes that 43% of community management associates have taken advantage of the service so far. ZMG also holds quarterly mental health presentations by a nationally known expert and pays close attention to what team members want and need.
Elevating the importance of initiatives offered by firms like Viking, RealSource, and ZMG, Doug Miller, partner and chief research officer of Swift Bunny, says, “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 well-being resources will reap bottom-line rewards as property and company performance requires an experienced, healthy, and motivated property manager guiding the ship.”