3 Keys to Building and Maintaining Employee Engagement

Employee Engagement

To have a great business, you need to build and maintain a great team of employees. To establish and maintain employee engagement, there needs to be an awareness of and attention to employee turnover. Every industry experiences employee turnover to some degree, but in the multifamily housing industry, recent employee turnover has topped 32%! What’s more, every 10% of employee turnover results in about 3% resident turnover. It’s essential to manage employee turnover through career development and employee engagement to keep your community team shipshape.

1. Employee Engagement During the Onboarding Process

The focus on employee career development is something that should begin as early as the interview and should continue throughout the life of their career with you. When onboarding a new employee, work to make the experience welcoming, and:

  •  Include corporate history and culture
  • Set professional goals
  •  Offer formal training opportunities
  • Provide opportunities for feedback

2. Employee Engagement Through Continued Development

Once your employee is onboarded, don’t lose momentum on their career development or you could lose ground on the employee engagement front! Challenges should not stall the development process. Here are some common myths as to why career development is not attainable and how to overcome them:

  • There’s Not Enough Time: You’ll need to be intentional about this and plan ahead so you can make time. Work it into your schedule as a non-negotiable task.
  • Protect the Status Quo: Avoid the mistake of pretending there’s nothing else out there and hoping your employees won’t look. Of course they will be looking at ways to advance their careers, so be an advocate! This will strengthen their engagement.
  • It’s the Employees’s Job to Develop Their Career: Although it is primarily the responsibility of your employee to seek his or her own development, it’s your job, too. Encourage your employees to think about their career goals and help them to work towards those goals.
  • Everyone Just Wants Promotions and Raises: Your employees want more than this; they want recognition and appreciation. It’s your job to validate their efforts and goals.
  • I Should Only Focus on HIPO Employees: Your high-performing employees deserve your attention, but the rest of your team NEEDS your attention. They’ll need a little extra push to get them moving in the right direction so they can also become high-performing employees.

In order to advocate for and encourage your employees, you’ll need to be prepared to have great career conversations. This doesn’t just mean trudging through the obligatory performance review – this means having real, intentional conversations around their career development. Make a specific appointment to regularly meet and discuss with your employees where they’re at and what direction they want to move in. If you’re looking for the right time to get started, try looking for these indicators:

  • New Project Launches: When you’re about to roll out a new project, take the opportunity to talk with your employees individually. This is a perfect time to discover interests or talents you didn’t know they had or brainstorm some new ideas.
  • Old Project Ends: Another good time to check in with your team is as an old project is closed. This is a chance to renew their engagement and keep them from wanting to move on to the next new thing (or place).
  • Earns New Credentials: An employee who has earned new credentials is an important candidate for a conversation about their career goals.
  • Shares Something They Learned or Read: This is a good indicator that your employee is already thinking about and working towards their own career development, so it’s a good time to do a temperature check and find out what they need.
  • Passed Over for Promotion or Assignment: It’s crucial to take time to talk with an employee who has been passed over. Discuss with them why they were not chosen and help them along the path to the development they’ll need for the next opportunity.
  • Making Mistakes/Change in Work Habits: You should check in with an employee who’s work performance has suffered. Find out what they need and help to get them back on the right path.
  • Organization Change: When an organization change is taking place, check in with your team to provide information and answer questions.
  • LinkedIn Updates: If you see an employee updating their profiles or working to get noticed, check in to see what their plans are.

When you’re conducting a team meeting, make sure to carve out some time to share on a less formal level. Allow conversation to take place to help your team bond and feel more engaged.

3. Encouraging Employee Engagement as a Leader

If you’re leading a team, some or most of your employees are probably in the Millennial generation. To be the best leader, take time to understand what sets this generation apart:

  • This group of individuals is very technology driven.
  • They want to make a difference.
  • They are generally confident in the workplace.
  • They have high expectations.
  • They are very achievement oriented.
  • They LOVE recognition!

Providing recognition is one of the easiest and cheapest ways for you to strengthen your employee engagement. To be effective, make sure the recognition is meaningful and genuine. You could take a moment to recognize birthdays or work anniversaries. You could acknowledge an accomplishment on social media and put them in the spotlight. Another great idea is to include a well-performing employee in a training video or invite him or her to participate in a special project. You could even offer an opportunity for them to serve as a peer mentor.

Finally, you can promote employee engagement through a clear company culture. Work to have a clear brand and a company culture focused on growth, development, and cooperative advancement.

Presented by:

Shawn Reynolds

Shawn Reynolds

Strategic Performance Consultant

About Ellis

Since 1984, Ellis Partners in Management Solutions has specialized exclusively in helping our multifamily clients measure and improve the customer experience by teaming with customers to develop professional skills and behaviors in each team member. We evaluate customer service and performance of onsite leasing professionals through comprehensive mystery shopping reports, our multiple touchpoint resident survey program, and training. Our turn-key integrated customer experience program, backed by outstanding customer service, sophisticated technology, and ethical business practices, has made Ellis one of the multifamily industry’s most respected and sought-after providers of training and consulting services.