Ellis Shopping Report Multifamily Industry Benchmark 4th Quarter 2015

Happy New Year! Welcome to the Fourth Quarter 2015 Quarterly Shopping Report Performance Comparison. Ellis, Partners in Management Solutions is your source for an integrated solution to your sales, marketing, resident retention and business process improvement needs. For 32 years, we have been helping apartment management companies and owners evaluate employee performance and effectiveness, and we remain committed to the growing needs of our customers. We continue to strive to deliver the most modern and effective tools to help you monitor and evaluate on-site leasing engagement and marketing effectiveness, as well as compare your team’s performance to others in the industry. Thank you for partnering with us as together we seek out opportunities which will stimulate employees to dig deeper into the leasing conversation and enrich the experience with their customers.


The 2015 Benchmark theme was designed to foster internal conversations about training the multi-generational front-line leasing team. We hope you gain some new understanding as a result. Fostering a diverse workplace continues to be a high priority for many companies today. In this final letter of 2015, we explore some trends in Training Delivery which speak best to Generation Y.

Changing Trends

It has been said, “The best predictor of future performance is past behavior.” Trends give us an opportunity for improvement when it comes to serving the customer. Where have your employees ranked among your competitors over the last 16 years? These invaluable trending graphs provide a quick glimpse of benchmark averages since 2000. 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 principle 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 charts 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 4th Quarter 2015 Overall Average score of all participating companies is 89%, down slightly from 3rd Quarter 2015. The Ellis Customer Experience Benchmark 4th Quarter 2015 Overall Average score of all participating companies is 3.7, identical to the 3rd Quarter 2015 results.


4th Quarter, 2015 – Companies Representing 3,708 Total Shops

Advenir Real Estate Management; AMLI Residential; BH Management Services, Inc.; Bozzuto & Associates; Carroll Management Group; CWS Apartment Homes, LLC; Gables Residential Services; GHP Management; Greystar Management Services; Guardian Management, LLC; Holland Residential; IMT 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; Venterra Realty; Waterton Residential; Windsor Property Management Co / GID; Wood Partners; ZRS Management, LLC

Congratulations to the 4th Quarter 2015 Traditional Benchmark Platinum Level Achievers!

AMLI Residential
Gables Residential Services
GHP Management
Post Properties

Congratulations to the 4th Quarter 2015 Customer Experience Benchmark Gold Level Achievers!

AMLI Residential
Bozzuto & Associates
Legacy Partners Residential, Inc.
Monogram Residential Trust
Venterra Realty
Windsor Property Management Co / GID
Wood Partners

* Companies are listed in alphabetical order.
** The highest level achieved for the 4th Quarter 2015 Ellis Customer Experience Benchmark was Gold.

We give special recognition to AMLI Residential 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 scores.


TOPIC: Training Delivery

Trainers are beginning to realize that when it comes to training, Generation Y is looking for something different—a learning environment that matches the way they interact outside of the workplace. New models of teaching and learning are rising up to meet the needs of a generation of learners who seek greater autonomy and connectivity as well as opportunities for experiential learning. Yes, the workplace is undergoing one of its biggest transformations because of Generation Y. The new training room is social. It is collaborative. It is adaptive. It is diverse.

The good news is that by offering comprehensive training to your new hires via a delivery method that speaks to their needs, you have a better chance of attracting and retaining them. If your training content and the way you deliver it do not speak to this generation, they probably will not stick around. Unlike previous generations, Gen Y will sacrifice their paycheck for a rewarding 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.

With Generation Y set to comprise 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025, there could be challenging times ahead for business leaders, according to a Deloitte study. We are only nine years away! Gen Y is the future, so adapting current training methods to cater to their specific learning needs will soon not just be beneficial but imperative to overall success.

Adopting New Delivery Methods

To leverage the talents of this highly educated and goal-oriented generation, companies are beginning to audit their training delivery methods and open their mind to new approaches. While new methods are under continuous development, several have proven effective in the workplace and higher education such as on-demand orientations, YouTube lectures, e-learning case studies, gamification, online and offline role-playing, self-instruction, flipped classrooms, audiovisual training, peer-to-peer discussion forums, team-building exercises, cross-training, mentoring, and more. We expect this list will continue to grow as we further explore and test the needs of this powerhouse generation.

No matter what your current training plan looks like, or where it falls on the training delivery innovation list, if you want it to speak to Generation Y, at the bare minimum it should include at least a sprinkle of the following three elements:  

1. Technology: Gen Y being fluent in technology, online learning is very attractive to them as it is more interactive, social and student centered—it speaks to them. We discussed the Flipped Classroom in the 3rd Quarter EPMS Benchmark Report and how it speaks to this need by moving some basic fundamentals out of the classroom and to the screen. This gives employees the ability to revisit the information and absorb it at their own pace while allowing more time to be hands-on in the classroom. Technology is an extension of Generation Y, so if you can blend familiar methods with unfamiliar content, they have a better chance of engaging and retaining information.

  • Mobile Learning- Mobile devices have become so common and accepted in the workplace that a new study published by research firm Gartner found that one significant change in the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend is coming. According to the study, by 2017 half of all employers will require workers to supply their own smartphones and tablets for work needs. ESPN sports network has integrated mobile learning into its training plan. Gen Y make up about 70 percent of ESPN’s workforce. Employees can access training from their phones so that they can participate at their own pace and on their own schedule.
  • Social Learning– Networking sites such as Myspace, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter are portals being used to teach employees. Using social media sites as a part of training is perfect for Gen Y as most of them are already on these sites. A study by the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth revealed that 91 percent of Inc. 500 companies are using social media in some training capacity.
  • Knowledge Sharing- With knowledge sharing platforms, everyone can be an expert in his or her own way and can share their expertise within a few minutes. Experienced leasing consultants can create a bite-sized video and share it with their peers to be accessed via laptop, iPad, or other mobile device. Gen Y is very accustomed to learning through the collective knowledge of others online.

2. Interaction and Collaboration: Gen Y employees will naturally gravitate toward group activities. In fact, they are more likely to make decisions based on the collective experience of their peers rather than their trainer. They will thrive in interactive and collaborative discussions in which conflicting perceptions surface and are debated, resolved, and reformulated. It is all about discovering new knowledge. The trainer’s role has become to create a learning ecosystem where people can share content/ideas and learn effectively.

  • Role-Playing- Generation Y employees are very action-oriented and prefer observed learning. In other words, they want to do it rather than just read about it or listen to you talk about it. So, if your training delivery only consists of sitting in a room and listening to a lecturer, you will want to insert interactive exercises and role-play situations to effectively teach them. Role-playing offers an opportunity to make and process mistakes in a safe learning environment and successfully transfer new knowledge and skills to the workplace. Trainers transform into coaches as they guide employees through each event. This can take place in an online or in-person environment.
  • Scenario Learning- Making use of real world examples and placing leasing employees in situations they will undoubtedly be faced with in their jobs makes learning a highly interactive experience. Focusing on current examples of customer situations, resident challenges, and leasing approaches will pack a bigger punch. These interactive classroom or online discussions between employees is an excellent way to engage, inspire confidence and enthusiasm in your employees, particularly in leasing onboarding programs.
  • Crowd-Sourcing- The basic concept behind crowdsourcing comes from a June 2006 article by Jeff Howe for WIRED.com in which he described the phenomenon as a new and innovative business plan borrowing from the Wiki model and outsourcing. Use your company intranet to crowd-source among your employees the top 5 leasing challenges for 2016 or even to develop content for future training programs. Watch the masses as they pool their ideas together.

3. A Future Plan: Too often leasing training ends after onboarding. Generation Y feels an urgency to acquire new skills through ongoing learning, so offering future training opportunities can help improve their work satisfaction. Ongoing training does not need to be costly. If you have leasing experts, incorporate them into raising the learning, thinking and performance of your entire team.

  • Leasing Talk Show- Empower leasing experts to be teachers by launching a Talk Show training program which uses technology to create collaborative learning. The concept is simple. A training moderator interviews a leasing consultant about a particular workplace skill topic, as leasing consultants across the country listen in. The participants are given the ability to ask questions via chat, follow a visual presentation, or watch a short video. This can be easily accomplished using GoToMeeting or a similar collaborative tool.
  • Training Segments– Seek out leasing experts to create 5-10-minute training segments that highlight something they do well and that would benefit other employees. Once approved, post them on an internal site accessible to all employees. Remove the burden from your training department and create a culture that inspires employees to step up to be responsible and accountable for themselves and others. Trust me—they would rather watch their peers in a natural and informal setting than a staged video showcasing a corporate trainer.
  • Mentoring Programs- These can be a great addition to your training and development program because mentoring is an ongoing, long term process. According to a study conducted by the Intelligence Group, “72% [of Gen Y] would like to be their own boss. But if they do have to work for a boss, 79% of them would want that boss to serve more as a coach or mentor.” A workplace in which the generation with experience and knowledge fails to provide mentoring may be an uncomfortable place to work for Gen Y.

This concludes our journey into Gen Y employee training. Whether this youthful, emerging generation is the minority or the majority in your company, they will likely influence best practices, beginning with employee training and onboarding. They are a big deal; both as a source of talent as well as a rapidly growing part of your customer base. Those organizations that can find the right mix of training delivery and methods will most successfully leverage Gen Y’s potential and ultimately retain their loyalty.

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 and resident surveys but also a training 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
January 15, 2016