Ellis Shopping Report Multifamily Industry Benchmark 1st Quarter 2015

Welcome! Spring is in the air, and with the long winter behind us the change in seasons cannot come quickly enough. But the season is not the only change in the air. There is another forecast that is just as favorable—the 2015 leasing year! In order to take full advantage of this opportunity, now is the time to reflect on current leasing practices and seek out opportunities which will encourage employees to dig deeper into the leasing conversation with their customers. Our team is here to help yours. We continue to deliver the most current and effective tools to help you monitor and evaluate on-site leasing engagement and marketing effectiveness, as well as to be able to compare your team’s performance against others in the industry. The importance of the customer’s perception of their experience with your team and product cannot be overlooked. Perceived value creates loyal customer relationships. Customer loyalty is the best predictor of your future strength and growth potential.

ellis benchmark Q1 2015This year’s Ellis Benchmark theme is designed to cultivate internal conversations as we seek to understand and train the multi-generational front-line leasing team. Is your current leasing training model speaking to the needs of all employees?

Are you prepared for today’s emerging workforce—Generation Y? Is it time for an adjustment in your approach? Join us each quarter of 2015 as we explore new ideas in Leasing Training Content, the Leasing Training Environment, and Leasing Training Delivery. Each topic will be explored. New ideas will be presented. Questions will be answered.

Changing Trends

There are people who create trends, and then there are the people who understand the trends. Success needs an appropriate mix of creating and monitoring this never ending cycle. We have learned from experience that despite success in numbers, there are always opportunities for improvement. Even your top performers can use a little brushing up on their leasing presentation delivery. When it comes to serving the future resident and providing a great experience, where have your employees ranked among your competitors over the last 15 years?

These trending graphs provide us with a snapshot of benchmark averages since 2000. It tells us that overall leasing performance has been slowly edging up since the inception of the Benchmark. What does your company trend look like?







Since 2000, the Ellis Shopping Report Multifamily Industry Benchmark quarterly ranking and comparison has been our way of identifying and recognizing the leasing performance of participating companies. The basic premise of the benchmark is evaluating performance on the 10 key benchmark questions. Participating companies can qualify for Platinum, Gold, Silver, or Bronze level based on their company average and Benchmark performance scores during the quarter.

The overall Benchmark score ranges by category reflected in the chart below were calculated based on all of the shops included in the Ellis Benchmark for 2014. The overall average Ellis Traditional Multifamily Industry Benchmark score in 2014 was 90. The overall average Ellis Customer Experience Benchmark score in 2014 was 3.7.

The Ellis Traditional Multifamily Industry Benchmark 1st Quarter 2015 Overall Average score of all participating companies is 91%. The Ellis Customer Experience Benchmark 1st Quarter 2015 Overall Average score of all participating companies is 3.8.










1st Quarter 2015 Participating Companies Representing 3,331 Total Shops

Advenir Real Estate Management; AMLI Residential; BH Management Services, Inc.; Bozzuto & Associates; CWS Apartment Homes, LLC; Gables Residential Services; GHP Management; Greystar Management Services; Guardian Management, LLC; Holland Residential; Kettler Management; Legacy Partners Residential, Inc.; Monogram Residential Trust; Pacific Living Properties; Palms Associates; Pinnacle (PRMC); Post Properties; RAM Partners, LLC; Simpson Property Group; Sunrise Management; The Bainbridge Companies; Timberland Partners; TriBridge Residential; Venterra Realty; Waterton Residential; Windsor Property Management Co / GID; ZRS Management, LLC

Congratulations to the 1st Quarter 2015 Traditional Benchmark Platinum Level Achievers!

  • AMLI Residential
  • Gables Residential Services
  • GHP Management
  • Palms Associates
  • Venterra Realty

Congratulations to the 1st Quarter 2015 Customer Experience Benchmark Gold Level Achievers!

  • AMLI Residential
  • Gables Residential Services
  • Legacy Partners Residential, Inc.
  • Monogram Residential Trust
  • Simpson Property Group
  • Venterra Realty
  • Windsor Property Management Co / GID

* Companies are listed in alphabetical order.

** The highest level achieved for the 1st Quarter 2015 Ellis Customer Experience Benchmark was Gold.

We give special recognition to AMLI Residential; Gables Residential Services; and Venterra Realty who placed in the highest-achieved levels this quarter for both the Traditional and the Customer Experience Benchmarks.

How did we do?

These charts reflect the average score of all participating companies for each benchmark question and the combined overall benchmark score. Breakdown1q2015







TOPIC: Is it Time For a Change?

Every generation brings its own culture and revolutions to the workplace and has different goals, values, and ways of getting things done. Fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace is a priority for many companies today. Different perspectives drive innovation. Surprisingly, the training room is still viewed by some leaders as sacred ground and often coveted by those designers who now sit at the helm of their particular department or company. It remains stagnant even when this new powerful generation, Generation Y (circa 1978-1995) is flooding their workplace.


In fact, there is a spirited, if not tiresome, debate about whether these younger generations of employees are self-entitled narcissists or open-minded humanitarians; indeed the truth lies somewhere in-between. But, savvy leaders are moving past their judgements and are beginning to realize that their design is not cutting it for Generation Y and maybe it is time for a change.


Josiane Feigon, co-founder and President of TeleSmart Communications, is making great efforts to tap into the talents of this emerging workforce. She quickly realized that her highly-structured week long new-hire training class was not working as well as it once did, and the 1 hour “talking head” seminars were losing their punch, too. According to her experience, “Generation Y has a different approach to learning and they don’t buy-in to educational or professional training unless they see a clear benefit to doing so. You have to be creative about how you approach that training — especially in the context of inside sales — if you want it to stick.”

Whether this youthful emerging generation is the minority or the majority in your company, they will likely influence best practices and office culture, beginning with employee training and onboarding. Is it time to turn your attention from the “Why?” in Gen Y to the “How?” They are a big deal; both as a source of talent as well as a rapidly growing part of your customer base. Does your current training program speak to all generations including Generation Y?


Join us each quarter in 2015 as we divide the training picture into three components: content, environment, and delivery; and explore the most common training questions and concerns facing companies today. Here is a sneak peek…

1. Content


Meeting the needs of a multi-generational workforce is never easy, but it is essential for overall success. Since it is not reasonable to have four different leasing training programs to respond to each generation, we must create content that has elements and activities that tap into each generation’s objectives, preferences, and needs. It should be adaptable. We have had many years to perfect our training to speak to the Baby Boomers and Generation X, but Generation Y is throwing many training directors into a state of frenzy. Why are they so different?


  • They have come of age absorbed in a different world than the rest of us, immersed in technology and instant communication.
  • They mostly communicate in code and 140 character tweets.
  • They do not understand their parents—the people who designed most of the current training content.
  • Their work must have meaning. It must speak to their needs, desires, and dreams. It is not all about money and title.


Generation Y employees have tremendous potential for great results in leasing. But, leasing apartments is about problem solving and reasoning—technology does not work here. It will require a different approach to foster success, the things many of us take for granted. The things we understand, they do not. The things they understand, we do not.


When it comes to making judgments, resolving differences, persuading other people, dealing with ambiguous situations, and a whole host of other everyday challenges . . . many young employees hit the wall. They do not bring these skills to the job, and they do not understand the older generations they may lead, report to, or serve. Your training content must speak to these gaps.


2. Environment


This new generation communicates with each other with a rapid fire style – in person and through technology. Therefore, their ideal training environment opts for sharp, short conversation points that support a collaborative discussion on leasing topics. Ponder these points as you begin to reflect on your current training environment.


  • Gen Y grew up in a virtual world playing video games. They love action!
  • They like to mix things up—from tiny apps, to huge classrooms, to patio training, to self-paced educating at home—they crave diversity.
  • They are the on-the-go mobile generation.
  • Social media is their daytime and bedtime companion.


If you want to hold their attention, their learning environment must be engaging, collaborative and diverse. In the 2013 Gallup report, “The State of the American Workplace: Employee Engagement Insights for U.S. Business Leaders” their findings showed that disengaged workers are costing the nation’s employers between $450 billion and $550 billion annually. Trainers should involve Gen Y, inspire them, and be prepared to give them personal attention when they are stumped. I guess we all want this, right?


Do not be surprised if a few of them question your information or authority. They grew up questioning and rebelling against their parents, too. Generation Y will blossom in an environment which lends itself to more conversation and moving around, rather than sitting for long periods of time, staring at a flashy suited up instructor. Is your training environment engaging?


3. Delivery


Nearly every form of corporate content shifts to the screen; however, leasing training materials are often left in antiquated and mammoth sized three-ring binders. This load can terrify and stun the Gen Y employee. Remember, they are the mobile generation! As long there is an iPad, iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Fire, Nook, or Kindle in their hands, they have the world at their thumbs. This ginormous book makes no sense to them. Sitting in a room for eight hours flipping through page after page will put them to sleep. The volume of information is not the issue.


  • They are used to digesting lots of information quickly, but it is in tweets, on Facebook walls, on Instagram, or clickable headlines on their favorite news site.
  • They consume their information in bite-sized doses.
  • They study while eating breakfast, at their desk, sipping their vanilla latte at Starbucks, or while walking the hall on their way to the next meeting.
  • They learn by watching YouTube videos and playing on gamification apps.


Does your training delivery resemble a 100 mile marathon or an achievable and rewarding sprint? Do you force employees to spend hours listening to something they understood 20 minutes ago? If so, you will not get good results with this generation. They will be bored and become resentful.


Generation Y have the ability to absorb an incredible amount of information in a short time, rapidly switching between ideas. So keep your delivery short and sweet. Get to the point and then let them get on with it. They will be ready to quickly practice and implement the strategies and techniques they are taught. The Gen Y life is fast. They want to take action. An effective training delivery will set your employee up for success, and it will save you money in the long run, too. Is it time to mix things up? Think like Gen Y!


Unlike previous generations, Gen Y will sacrifice their paycheck for a positive company culture and experience. In a 2014 report titled “How Millennials Could Upend Wall Street and Corporate America”, almost two-thirds (64 percent) of Generation Y employees said they would rather make $40,000 a year at a job they love than $100,000 a year at a job they think is boring. To help foster a stimulating work environment, creating engaging employee training materials is step one. If you are going to attract, train, and retain the very best sales talent, then your business has to start thinking differently about how you engage this new generation.


Join us next quarter as we dig deeper into Training Content.


We thank you for your ongoing participation and feedback, which help make this report informative, fresh, and a reliable resource. We hope you will find Ellis Partners in Management Solutions, a feedback company and multifamily partner since 1984, to be not only the finest source for mystery shopping but also a training and feedback resource for your organization. Additional support and information can be found under Training and Articles on our website.




Prepared by Joanna Ellis, Chief Executive Officer

April 15, 2015