Unemployment rate at historic low | Using Culture To Retain Staff
The big economic news this week is that the unemployment rate has hit historical low of 3.4% with many experts expecting it to drop further.
This is good news for employees who are able to demand a higher wage and also be more choosy with the kind of workplace culture they want to work in. Recent studies show that the number one reason why workers leave their jobs is because of a toxic work culture.
Culture now a competitive advantage
If your business doesn’t have a good culture, or your corporate culture is toxic, then the only way of motivating employees to stay is with financial compensation, a higher wage. This poses problems for businesses already operating on razor-tight margins.
At the recent SL22 conference, STAFFLINK owner Joel Davis spoke of how the growing challenge of hiring and retaining good staff is undoubtedly a cause for concern, but that it also presents an opportunity. Namely, a business’s culture is now its competitive advantage.
He told the story of a business owner who proudly told him that he put aside ten minutes every single day for his employees who needed to cry. He offered this as evidence of his ‘good boss’ credentials. Joel’s response? “How about you do something so that they’re not crying in the first place?”
In other words, good culture doesn’t mean being emotionally accessible, nor does it mean throwing money at a problem and hoping it goes away.
It’s about creating an environment in which your employees can thrive, one where they feel backed up and supported by their leadership team. One where their boss refuses to accept that putting aside ten minutes everyday for ’emotional support’ is sustainable, or even acceptable.
Implications for the PM industry
One of the biggest issues facing the PM industry is the burnout rate of PMs. Their role has become so full on that it is no surprise that many companies are facing huge challenges retaining their staff. Staff who they have often spent months getting up to speed on their systems and ways of doing things.
And you can’t blame the PMs for leaving either, when you consider the immense workload they endure, only made worse by Covid-19 related requirements. Not to mention the prospect of dealing with stressed out landlords and tenants calling them up with unexpected problems.
They really are caught in the middle between their clients on one hand and their boss’s expectations on the other.
Let’s be honest, the job of being a PM can be pretty grim.
But it’s not all bad news. Recent research from Tapi into the attitudes and job satisfaction levels of property managers found that there was near universal consensus that the “human to human” elements of the job were the most satisfying. In other words, PMs enjoy the relationship part of the job.
The feeling of giving great service, of helping someone find a house to live in or helping them find great tenants. What they don’t like is the feeling of being unable to provide the service they want to because of their unmanageable workload.
Australians’ attitudes to work is changing, job satisfaction is more important than ever. Workers are no longer prepared to stay in a job that they don’t like and are leaving those jobs in droves. The PM industry has been particularly affected by this, with estimates from industry leaders putting the yearly burnout rate of PMs at a staggering 20%.
Think about that number, that means that 20% of the workforce leaving each year and needing to be replaced and those replacements to be retrained. The burden created by people leaving due to job dissatisfaction often adds to the burden of those who remain, in a cruel self-reinforcing cycle.
The challenge then is to keep your PMs spending more time on the parts of the job that they love, and that they are best at, doing customer facing roles. Adding value.
Is your business ‘holiday-proof?’
In your average PM office, this problem can often manifest itself around sick days and vacation requests. At a recent panel discussion, Laura Shooter, managing director of SJ Shooter Real Estate, reinforced the importance of making her business ‘holiday-proof.’
Unlike the boss who put aside 10 minutes each day for emotional support, she refused to accept that some of her PMs were dreading to take their holidays because they are too worried about the “s***show” that they would return to because whoever was covering them forgot to do this, or couldn’t get around to doing that.
No wonder retention is such an issue. But here is the twist. Every crisis brings opportunity. The crisis of staff burnout gives the opportunity for culture to become a competitive advantage.
Don’t be the boss who puts ten minutes aside for his staff to cry everyday.
Be the boss who stops them crying in the first place.