“ASK KARI”: How to Overcome “Quiet Quitting” – Improve Employee Performance

Last Updated: March 5, 2023By

By Kari Negri, Chief Executive Officer, SKY Properties, Inc.

  • Dear Kari, what can I do to improve employee performance?

In today’s social media-driven world, TikTok is the place to find all the latest trends. From dance moves, songs, pranks, lifestyle advice – you name it; it is all on this platform. One of the TikTok trends many Gen-Zs and Millennials have adopted is “Quiet Quitting,” formerly known as employee disengagement. As explained in many viral TikTok videos, it refers to when employees do not outright quit their job, but instead, quit “the idea” of doing their best or going beyond the very basics of their job position. The old adage that hard work equals reward is something most of the younger generation of employees strongly disagree with.

Unlike career-oriented, goal-driven, upwardly mobile individuals, a quiet quitter will not subscribe to hustle culture and instead just do the bare minimum. Some say this trend is a side effect of the pandemic lockdowns. People realized that they could use more of their time on leisure, family, friends, and hobbies rather than investing time and effort into their work. The quiet quitting phenomenon applies to all industries, including property management.

Having a quiet quitter on your staff, overseeing your real estate investment, can result in significant issues. In a business such as property management, which relies heavily on customer service, effective communication and follow-up could be adversely affected by low-level employee performance. Just ask yourself…Is your employee hard to reach? Is your building’s curb appeal suffering? Is your office getting calls from unhappy residents? Do you have basic preventative maintenance items that turn into more expensive repairs due to lack of attention? If you answered yes to some of these questions, then you may have a quiet quitter on your staff.

Property management is a hustle-oriented culture, and it is diverse and complicated. But how do managers, specifically property managers, avoid this popular lacking work trend? Here are the three “Cs” to apply to your employee management for a healthy and productive relationship: Compensation, Communication, and Compassion.

Compensation

Ensuring that your employees are getting proper compensation is always a top priority for employers. Although compensation for onsite managers can be tricky for some, there are so many resources that can help you with this. The Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles has a form that you can use for your manager’s contract that explains how onsite managers should be properly compensated. But to put it simply, property managers must ensure that they follow the law when crediting the value of the rental unit provided to the onsite manager against their wages and to always take caution to verify the minimum wage for the jurisdiction where the property is located. Also, be sure to keep track of hours worked by your onsite manager. It is best to always consult a lawyer with this kind of matter!

But competitive compensation does not always have to pertain to a monetary form, and compensation could also include benefits such as medical and dental care, work-life balance, employee perks, and other types of rewards. Employees will surely feel motivated when they are appreciated for their work. Pre-lease bonuses and leasing bonuses are just examples of small rewards that will motivate employees and that you can give your employees as a reward for their hard work. If you feel like your employee deserves it, a year-end bonus will also be greatly appreciated by your employees. And, even just a greeting card or a gift card on their birthday will surely make your employee feel appreciated.

Communication

Remember that clients are not the only ones that need to be heard. Employees also need effective communication from their employers and must feel comfortable speaking to their employers. Be accessible, and receptive, and really listen to your employees’ wants and needs. Make them aware that they are an integral part of how the company functions and that they are involved in decisions the company makes.

No matter how small some of their tasks may be, they are an important part of the bigger picture. This will boost their morale and confidence at work, as well as give them a sense of pride and inclusion. The more they are “heard” the more engaged and productive they will be at their job. Communication does not have to be challenging anymore, even if employees are spread out across multiple locations – you can set up regular online meetings so ideas can be shared, and current projects discussed. Something that I highly recommend is taking your employee out to lunch for a casual one-on-one discussion. This can make your employees feel comfortable with you and open about things that may be hard for them to discuss.

Compassion

Prioritize mental health. The pandemic triggered a 25% increase in anxiety and depression worldwide. Unfortunately, 1-in-4 rental housing employees do not know if their company offers mental health benefits. Make sure you inform your employees as to what resources are available to them. If you are a member of an apartment association like the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles, then you can access the National Apartment Association’s mental health library which is a great place to start.

Employers can also host regular one-on-one meetings with each employee. Simply asking how they are doing, regularly, can make employees open to you and that could help resolve their mediocre performance. In Businessolver’s 2022 State of Workplace Empathy report, around 70% of employees and human resources professionals said empathetic organizations drive higher employee motivation. There are so many moving parts in property management and emotional issues can occur when you are dealing with something as personal as people’s homes.

Property management can be fast-paced and sometimes high-stress, but with satisfied and motivated employees, everything can run smoothly and successfylly. Quiet quitting has no room in our vocabulary because we know happy employees’ equal excellent efforts and remarkable results!

SKY Properties are not carbon monoxide experts; and this article is based on their experience and research to provide readers with important information. Kari Negri is the Chief Executive Officer of Sky Property Management and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles.  Do you have a question for me?  Please send your questions and comments to me at Kari@SKYprop.LA.

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