Ellis Shopping Report Multifamily Industry Benchmark 4th Quarter 2014


Welcome to the 4th Quarter 2014 Ellis Shopping Report Multifamily Industry Benchmark. Our team continues 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 disregarded. Customers often do not judge product values and costs accurately or objectively. They act on perceived value. Perceived value, as defined by customers, creates loyal customer relationships. Customer loyalty is the best predictor of your future strength and growth potential.


Q4ReportImageIn the 3rd Quarter we addressed the topic, “What Gets in the Way of Successful Leasing Training?” We presented a handful of common obstructions such as high turnover, too many initiatives, process focus vs. customer focus, technology, and the often mindboggling generational differences. Each one presents its own set of barriers which might get in the way of successful leasing training.


We conclude our 2014 leasing training theme by responding to the final question, “What Should Your Leasing Training Program Include Today to Prepare Your Company for the Future?”


It’s not always about checking off lists, and the answers are not always obvious.I think we can all look back at the entrance of Generation Y into our industry and admit at some level that we were not completely prepared for them; in fact, they are still stumping many training directors. Join us as we discuss changing trends and how to ready the workplace for both Gen Y and their younger siblings Gen Z.


Changing Trends

Trends have always carried a powerful punch. 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? We have learned from experience that even when employee performance looks good on paper, there is always room for improvement. High-performers can even use a little brushing up on their sales acumen.


The trending graphs below 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 Traditional Benchmark is evaluating performance on 10 key questions. The Ellis Customer Experience Benchmark score is based on the answers to Questions 1 through 9 in the Customer Experience section of the Ellis shopping report, which reflects the customer’s perception of the Service they received, the Value offered, and how well their Needs would be met. Participants can qualify for Platinum, Gold, Silver, or Bronze level based on their company average Ellis 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 2013. The overall average Ellis Traditional Multifamily Industry Benchmark score in 2013 was 93. The overall average Ellis Customer Experience Benchmark score in 2013 was 3.7.

The Ellis Traditional Multifamily Industry Benchmark 4th Quarter 2014 Overall Average score of all participating companies is 90%. The Ellis Customer Experience Benchmark 4th Quarter 2014 Overall Average score of all participating companies is 3.7.






4th Quarter, 2014 Participating Companies Representing 3,457 Total Shops

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


Congratulations to the 4th Quarter 2014 Traditional Benchmark Platinum Level Achievers!

  • AMLI Residential
  • Gables Residential Services
  • Legacy Partners Residential, Inc.
  • Post Properties
  • Venterra Realty


Congratulations to the 4th Quarter 2014 Customer Experience Benchmark Gold Level Achievers!

  • AMLI Residential
  • Gables Residential Services
  • Legacy Partners Residential, Inc.
  • Monogram Residential Trust
  • Post Properties
  • Simpson Property Group
  • Wood Partners


* Companies are listed in alphabetical order.

** The highest level achieved for the 4th Quarter 2014 Ellis Customer Experience Benchmark was Gold.


We give special recognition to AMLI Residential; Gables Residential Services; Legacy Partners Residential, Inc.; and Post Properties who placed in the highest-achieved levels this quarter for both the Traditional and the Customer Experience Benchmarks.


How did we do?

These graphs show the average score of all participating companies for each benchmark question and the combined overall benchmark score.






What Should Your Leasing Training Program Include Today to Prepare Your Company for the Future?


Good business is based on understanding others: both the internal and external customer. Understanding generational characteristics and motivators can help companies be more efficient and effective when it comes to educating and servicing their audience. If companies do not know who their audience is or how to engage them, they might as well talk to a wall. Even in a strong economy, the reality of the changing workforce and their generational stressors is being experienced daily across industries. Now is the time to take notice and prepare. It is not the time to dump the education budget or take your foot off of the training accelerator. We have spent enough years with the Baby Boomers and Generation X to appreciate them. Generation Y (born 1978-1995) and their younger siblings Generation Z (born 1996-present) bring an entirely different dynamic to the workplace and can throw a wrench into your training program. How are they similar and different from one another? What does their current classroom look like? How can we prepare for them in the training room and in the leasing office?


The Similarities and Differences of Gen Y and Gen Z

In 2014, a worldwide study of Gen Y and Gen Z was conducted by Randstad, the third-largest HR services and staffing company in the United States, and Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research consulting firm. Here are some findings that might surprise you:


  • 53% of Gen Z prefers face-to-face communication over communication using tools such as instant messaging and video conferencing.
  • For Gen Z, it is not about the money. Only 28% of Gen Z said money would motivate them to work harder and stay with their employer longer, as opposed to 42% of Gen Y.
  • Over half (52%) of both Gen Z and Gen Y state that honesty is the most important quality for being a good leader.
  • Gen Y is more inclined to work in a fast-paced environment than Gen Z. 59% of Gen Z report liking a fast pace, while 68% of Gen Y says the same.
  • The overwhelming majority of both Gen Z and Gen Y like to work with technology to help them accomplish their goals (Gen Z 77%, Gen Y 81%). This includes the workplace.
  • Gen Z (61%) shows a stronger desire for managers to listen to their ideas and value their opinions over Gen Y (56%), and Gen Y (58%) has a stronger desire for managers to allow them to work independently than Gen Z (46%).


Interestingly, when asked to stereotype the other generation, Gen Y (45%) selected “lazy” as the number one attribute for Gen Z. Gen Z (56%) were much kinder and selected “open-minded” to describe Gen Y.


“As much as we can learn about these folks and their tendencies early, the better off we’re going to be as employers to accommodate their particular taste and style and help make them more successful.”

Jim Link, Chief Human Resources Officer of Randstad North America


What the Current Gen Y / Gen Z Classroom Looks Like

The oldest of Gen Y are now in their mid-thirties, while the oldest of Gen Z are just graduating high school. Both are experiencing a very different type of education than their parents – the Baby Boomers and Gen Xers. A challenge based learning model is aimed to empower them through collaboration and hands-on learning; dry-erase-painted walls encourage student creativity to name one. Just recently, the very first ‘net-zero’ energy elementary school in the country opened in Coppell, Texas. It produces as much energy as it uses, mainly through eco-friendly processes and building features. When the building is generating more power than it needs, it funnels that energy back into the community’s electricity grid. TV monitors throughout the school display statistical data for the students about the energy the building is producing and consuming. This school itself is a learning tool. Through collaboration and hands-on learning, students learn to use their technology and devices to problem solve. This is their new “normal” and it will certainly impact their demands in the workplace and their needs when they search for their first apartment.


Gen Y students are also forcing their college professors to rethink the use of personal communication devices in the classroom. To ban them makes no sense.Instead of actively trying to discourage their use, some professors are embracing the value that these devices add to the classroom and the conversation. Dr. Monica Rankin, Professor of History at the University of Texas at Dallas, embraced this idea of incorporating technology and collaboration in the classroom. She moved out of her comfort zone and conducted the Twitter Experiment with her college students. She wanted to find a way to incorporate more student centered learning techniques and involve the students more fully in the material using their communication devices, so she integrated Twitter into the classroom. This allowed the conversation to continue and broaden. Students who would not normally engage in conversations started to share ideas. This resulted in richer face-to-face interactions with students and deeper conversations on important learning topics.


This type of microblogging is gaining popularity in the workplace and the training room. Companies like Yammer have taken this category of social computing tools to new levels, making it simple for any company to deploy a similar model almost instantly for their own employees.


Preparing For Gen Y and Gen Z in Your Training Room

When Gen Y first entered the training room, they were shocked by the 2-3 hour e-learning modules they were asked to complete. They were angry and frustrated. As with every generation, their expectations often stem from their experiences during their early years. Gen X thought this was a gift compared to the two week training class they attended. But, Gen Y are the digital natives, whereas their older siblings and parents were not. They have shorter attention spans, resist lectures, prefer action to talking, and have a low threshold for reading mountains of training manuals. Generation Z has an even shorter attention span—8 seconds. According to research, approximately 11% have ADHD. They prefer to live “in the moment”. They spend way more time in the “relevant now”, leveraging applicable information and knowledge that is dependent on what a particular moment or experience commands. They will be much more likely to engage in on-demand learning and development activities, enabled by technology, that are related and relevant to them in that moment. Their social behavior is somewhat different than Gen Y, too. While Generation Y subscribes to everything social, Generation Z does not want to be tracked, preferring Snapchat, Secret, or Whisper to communicate with their friends. It is all about the here and now blended with collaboration.


In the classroom they would prefer…

  • to get what they need and then get out.
  • a large variety of activities (their attention span is short).
  • more trying vs. talking.
  • to share their ideas openly.


How can companies begin to respond to the needs of Gen Y and Gen Z in the classroom?

  • Offer “how-to” interviews created by other employees for podcasts; let them learn from their peers.
  • Encourage everyone to ask questions of everyone else; make sharing more of a status symbol than knowledge holding.
  • Get debates going and a buzz around new things; develop small informal online communities.
  • Encourage everyone to share things about themselves and what they are doing, especially upper and middle management; the ivory tower needs become a real place with real people.
  • Offer blended learning; allow them to bring the devices they use at home into the classroom.
  • Have just-in-time teachers available inside and outside of the classroom; they will be looking for strong “honest” teachers and mentors vs. behind the desk managers.


How to Align Your Training Model to Generation Z’s Style

Traditionalists silently paved the way, Baby Boomers changed politics, Gen X changed family, Gen Y changed work, and Gen Z will change education. By the end of this decade, newly minted Generation Z graduates will begin to enter the office workforce, right about the time when Gen Y will hit its peak in the workplace. Now is the time to anticipate Gen Z’s work needs and styles and evolve current planning models to meet them. Companies are quickly embracing social media tools, as well as investing in social collaboration tools, to better engage employees and foster a learning culture already familiar to Gen Z. What is your plan?


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, resident surveys, and online feedback but also a training resource for your organization.


Prepared by Joanna Ellis, Chief Executive Officer

January 15, 2015