Knock Releases Multifamily Leasing Performance Report to Improve Frontline and Front Office Team Alignment

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Surveys Over 700 Leasing Consultants, Property Managers and Corporate Professionals to Address Top Operational Priorities and Areas of Friction; Provides Data-Driven Strategies to Bridge Gaps and Drive Performance

Knock Releases Report: Success in Multifamily Leasing Performance: Aligning Frontline and Front Office Priorities

The vast majority of multifamily teams would like better insights to improve profitability, but only 9% of corporate respondents are extremely confident that the data they are using to make decisions is consistent across reports and systems.

Knock, the leading performance management platform and CRM for multifamily property owners and managers, released today a comprehensive report addressing top operational priorities, concerns and disconnects, including the renter experience, hiring and retention, career growth, and rent and occupancy rates, to help teams perform better together and at their best.

Knock’s report – Success in Multifamily Leasing Performance: Aligning Frontline and Front Office Priorities – includes survey data from over 700 corporate and frontline employees, providing detailed analysis into the discrepancies between teams priorities and perceptions, while also reinforcing growth priorities across the industry. It also provides data-driven advice for addressing each key area.

A few of the report’s key findings include (see additional details and data below):

  • 32% of onsite and 29% of corporate employees rated “provide exceptional experience for renters and prospects” as their top priority
  • 75% of corporate respondents report they are concerned the labor shortage will impact their ability to hire and retain leasing teams. And, more than half of onsite respondents are looking for a new job or are open to new opportunities
  • 85% of corporate respondents reported they think they could improve profits if they had better insights, but only 9% are “extremely confident” in the data they are using to make decisions is consistent across reports and systems

Residents First: Providing Exceptional Experience Remains Top Priority

32% of onsite employees rated “provide exceptional experience for renters and prospects” as their top priority. 29% of corporate employees agreed. Discrepancy and disagreement is uncovered when looking at team expectations. 63% of onsite teams think their renters are very highly satisfied while only 28% of corporate employees agree. This disparity is driven, in part, by a lack of insight into leasing operations. Only 36% of corporate employees said they could see clearly how agents perform.

The report takes a closer look at the factors that either help or hurt the front office in providing the experience they say they prioritize. When presented with a list of challenges from “collecting rent” to “using the provided technology,” the top two difficulties onsite teams identified were “dealing with resident complaints” (52%) and “balancing too many tasks” (44%). This points to an ongoing challenge for front offices, who are often forced to prioritize resident complaints and clearing routing hurdles over sharpening their service skills.

Knock’s report recommends automation as a key to freeing up the front office so that time spent on repetitive action can be better spent tending to residents. Corporate employees already recognize the benefit of and need for automation; 91% of them are actively looking for ways to reduce repetitive tasks. Onsite teams are most interested in automating the following:

  • Pre-qualifying website traffic (62% would like to; 31% already have)
  • Posting on Facebook, Google, etc. (56%/32%)
  • Generating and sending quotes (56%/30%)
  • Answering common questions (55%/33%)

Recognizing Value: The Key to Overcoming Hiring and Retention Woes

25% of corporate employees indicated hiring and retention as their top priority. In Knock’s Success in Multifamily Leasing Performance: Aligning Front and Corporate Priorities report, the data uncovered discrepancy between corporate and onsite employees in that only 11% of the latter recognized this as a top priority. This makes sense, as corporate teams focus more on the larger personnel picture and feel the challenge more significantly than employees in the front office.

Tight labor availability is driving much of this concern. 75% of corporate respondents indicated significant apprehension over the labor shortage and their ability to hire and retain leasing agents. In addition to the costs of having to fill vacant positions, high turnover leads to more time spent training new staff, which further burdens operators and ties up already-scarce resources in the front office.

Knock’s report shows that one of the keys to increasing retention and decreasing time spent hiring and onboarding new talent is employee appreciation. There appears to be an inverse relationship between employees’ sense of being valued and their desire to take a new position. In other words, the better multifamily operators communicate their appreciation, the more likely employees are to stay.

When asked what would help them feel more valued, onsite teams responded with the following:

  • Better Compensation (64% for those who feel “very valued,” 74% for “somewhat valued”)
  • Opportunities for Advancement (49%/48%)
  • Better Work-life Balance (37%/51%)
  • Recognition/Appreciation (33%/52%)
  • Better Communication (18%/44%)

The Profit Motive: Increasing Rent and Occupancy Rates

Knock’s report showed a wide divergence between corporate management and employees who work onsite. When asked what the most important metric was for the business, 45% of corporate respondents and 42% of property/community managers indicated net operating income (NOI), followed by rent growth (17%/22%) and occupancy rates (11%/17%). 36% of leasing agents said occupancy rates were their top metric, followed by NOI (12%) and rent growth (10%).

While there’s broad alignment on the desire to do “better,” this divergence in terms of metrics highlights two sympathetic yet different approaches to developing the multifamily business. Unless corporate, managerial, and front office staff get on the same page, they’ll frustrate one another’s attempts to grow. Success in 2022 will depend on better alignment, communication, and transparency.

The key to transparency, and the growth that comes as a result, is accurate reporting with Knock’s report uncovering some concerning discrepancies:

  • 85% of corporate respondents indicated they would be able to improve profits if they had better insight into how properties and their staff were performing
  • 33% of them indicated that inconsistent/inaccurate reporting was a top challenge (compared to 19% of onsite team members)
  • Only 9% of corporate employees said it was “very easy to pinpoint performance” (26% onsite)
  • 9% are “extremely confident” in their data (25% onsite)

In other words, 85% of corporate employees know that data will increase their profits, yet less than 10% of them have performance data they can trust. 33% of them have data they know they can’t trust. This creates a disconnect between corporate and the teams they seek to manage; it also prevents managers from being able to optimize their operations in any meaningful sense.

If multifamily operators want to align their in teams in both word and deed (i.e. performance), then they need to grab hold of their data by integrating tech solutions that provide precise, accurate reporting that can be used in real-time to ensure that the community’s goals are being reached.

The Way Forward: Getting on the Same Page

Optimizing resident experience, hiring and retaining top talent, and improving performance in key metrics next year might seem like a tall order. The data shows a solution and sigh of relief. Defining and aligning – together – what success and progress looks like, with the transparency and tools to keep both onsite and corporate teams accountable, will unlock the procedures and processes to drive more growth.

Founders Demetri Themelis and Tom Petry made a bet on building better multifamily technology in 2014 and built Knock from the ground up. Their mission is the same then as it is now: help property management companies improve their renters’ lives and increase operational efficiency for the sake of healthier returns.

For access to the full report and data visit knockcrm.com/leasing-performance.

About Knock

Knock is an award-winning CRM and performance management platform for residential property management companies. Hundreds of the leading apartment managers and owners across North America rely on Knock’s automation, integration, and data transparency tools to improve occupancy and renewal rates. Knock is based in Seattle and was founded in 2014. For more details, visit knockcrm.com.

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Lindsey Henn
Knock
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