Ellis Shopping Report Multifamily Industry Benchmark 3rd Quarter 2015

Greetings from your friends at Ellis, Partners in Management Solutions! Another quarter has elapsed and we are delighted to bring you the Third Quarter 2015 Ellis Shopping Report Multifamily Industry Benchmark. Now is a time to ponder on leasing performance and seek out opportunities which will stimulate employees to dig deeper into the leasing conversation and improve the experience with their customers. As your partner, Ellis strives to deliver the most modern 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.

flipped classroom

This year’s Benchmark theme is designed to foster internal conversations as we seek to understand and train the multi-generational front-line leasing team. Fostering a diverse workplace is a priority for many companies today. As a result, insightful leaders are beginning to realize that their training design is not cutting it for the fast-paced, new emerging employee. In this letter, we explore some new ideas in the physical learning environment which speak to Generation Y.

Changing Trends

There is always an opportunity for improvement when it comes to serving the customer. Where have your employees ranked among your competitors over the last 15 years? This invaluable trending graph provides 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 3rd Quarter 2015 Overall Average score of all participating companies is 90%, identical to 2nd Quarter 2015. The Ellis Customer Experience Benchmark 3rd Quarter 2015 Overall Average score of all participating companies is 3.7, which mirrors the 2nd Quarter 2015 results.


3rd Quarter, 2015 Companies Representing 3164 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; 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

Congratulations to the 3rd Quarter 2015 Traditional Benchmark Platinum Level Achievers!

  • Gables Residential Services
  • Legacy Partners Residential, Inc.
  • Post Properties

Congratulations to the 3rd Quarter 2015 Customer Experience Benchmark Gold Level** Achievers!

  • AMLI Residential
  • Bozzuto & Associates
  • Gables Residential Services
  • Monogram Residential Trust
  • Post Properties
  • Simpson Property Group
  • Windsor Property Management Co / GID

* Companies are listed in alphabetical order.
** The highest level achieved for the 3rd Quarter 2015 Ellis Customer Experience Benchmark was Gold.

We give special recognition to Gables Residential Services 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 charts reflect the average score of all participating companies for each benchmark question and the combined overall benchmark scores.


TOPIC: The Physical Learning Environment

Today’s leasing training landscape is in a bit of an upheaval, which is being fueled by new technology-enabled learning tools and by new ideas about the best approach and environment to educate the Gen Y employee. When you consider the amount of information a new leasing consultant must absorb to prepare for the moment they step through the leasing office door, the task can be somewhat daunting for the trainer and the employee alike. Some companies seek to address this challenge solely with face-to-face instructor led training (ILT) onboarding, while others have moved to a pure online education, and still others have moved to a blended learning environment where both methods are utilized. In all three cases, once the training ends, it cannot (or will not) be replayed, leaving new employees to only hope they caught all the important details. There just is not enough time on the clock. Consequently, what we often see is a new employee loaded with onboarding information, and then left to practice what they remember on-site through trial and error.

What is the most effective learning environment for your Gen Y employees? Surveys reveal that their optimal learning environment includes three key areas: engagement, collaboration, and diversity in venue. Behold—the flipped classroom! It is turning the traditional classroom on its head and gaining a lot of momentum in both higher education and now corporate training departments.

1.    What is the Flipped Classroom? This is a twist on blended learning that flips the traditional educational environment by delivering instructional content, often online, outside of the classroom. Short video lectures or other technology solutions, course content, etc. are reviewed by students at home before the class session, while in-class time is devoted to engagement, practice, and collaboration with the guidance of the instructor. In the flipped classroom, the student takes center-stage while the teacher guides and facilitates feedback rather than lectures.

 In 2012, Russell Mumper, a Vice Dean at the University of North Carolina’s Eshelman School of Pharmacy, conducted a three-year study examining college student performance in a “flipped classroom”. He found significant gains in student performance and preference for the “flipped” environment.

“What I immediately realized was, not only were they getting the content, but they were applying it, and then either bringing new content to the classroom—content I wasn’t aware of—or they were asking me questions about the application of the content, questions that provided a richness that we could never explore when I was too busy lecturing.” – Russell Mumper

In the flipped classroom the technology itself is simply a tool for flexible communication that allows educators to use the classroom for collaboration and problem-solving. While instructional videos are often used, the technology solutions vary and are always evolving. The flipped classroom environment shifts the passive learning home, and turns the classroom into an active learning environment. The trainer transforms into a facilitator, coach, and guide, rather than a lecturer running a PowerPoint presentation.

2.   Five Benefits of a Flipped Classroom. Flipping shifts repetitive content to a medium not bound by trainer availability and empowers new employees to take an active role in their learning. The result:

  1. Increased Engagement. Discussions and hands-on activities tend to keep us interested and engaged. The flipped classroom allows a trainer to work side-by-side with trainees as they explore the leasing concepts they are applying in class. The trainer can provide immediate feedback that helps them improve their learning as they continue hands-on activities and collaborating with their peers.
  2. Learner-Centered Approach. The trainee is forced to become a coach to themselves, as well as others, in a flipped classroom setting. In addition to promoting cohesiveness among the group, the employee is encouraged to teach themselves with limited instruction by watching and participating with others. This tactic makes it easier to take their new skills and apply them on the job.
  3. Fewer Distractions. Short attention spans and wandering minds can really hinder a new employee’s ability to absorb and retain information in the classroom. Watching a video at home, they have the power to pause to take notes and to rewind and re-watch a particular part they did not fully understand the first time. They have control over the process by which they study and absorb new information.
  4. Decreased Information Overload. When you move the lecture to home, an employee can watch it, complete an assignment, or read course content at their own speed. Additionally, when the generic learning content is moved outside of the classroom, any face-to-face time can be directed towards active learning experiences, application mastery, and encouraging employees to think at critical or creative levels and problem solve vs. loading and memorizing volumes of general information.
  5. Sharing Skill Sets. With so many different skill-sets in the room, each individual inevitably learns something of value from the other. In this setting, the group is able to build relationships, network, communicate, and learn how to solve problems as a team. The structure makes the learning more sustainable in the real world and back at the leasing office.

3.   Implementing the Flipped Classroom at Your Company. The success of your flipped classroom depends on the alignment of what you want your employee to accomplish before, during, and after the class. When determining what to flip, it is best to start small. Let’s use the example of the Telephone Sales Process and the steps you might take to flip it.

  • Think in terms of the amount of time needed to cover this topic and time needed for the trainee to really learn it through application. What content takes up most of your trainer’s lecture time? Can it be turned into a simple instructional video and flipped?
  • What is the best way to communicate and present the new instructional material (e.g. video, text, online module, or other) prior to class?
  • Design in-class activities that will focus employees on attaining higher-level cognitive abilities. This particular flipped topic might require presenting some scenarios for discussion/debate, modeling the right and wrong way, and then a hands-on practice approach to learning that involves role-playing through the process.
  • When the trainees arrive to class, the first 10-15 minutes can serve as a review to focus the students on the topic and give them an opportunity to recall the information they completed on their own. Gaps in learning/understanding will be revealed. The remaining class time can be spent engaging in the active learning strategies you designed for class which can help employees further process what they learned in the pre-class content. The sharing and exchanging of knowledge between peers is invaluable.

The flipped classroom speaks the language of today’s tech-savvy students: it leverages technology to deliver rote instruction and increase both trainee-trainer and trainee-trainee interactions. Flipping can also improve classroom discipline, because boredom is banished through small groups and lots of hands-on activities. While you might not be ready to jump in with both feet, you might find it worthwhile to experiment with flipping a small portion of your leasing training to see what happens.

Join us next quarter as we dig deeper into our final topic for this series, Training Delivery.

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
October 15, 2015