October 26, 2021

3. Elizabeth Williams explains why Tricap Residential hires Engagement Managers, Not Property Managers

The Apartment Rebels Podcast
The Apartment Rebels Podcast
3. Elizabeth Williams explains why Tricap Residential hires Engagement Managers, Not Property Managers

Show Notes

The Apartment Rebels Podcast
The Apartment Rebels Podcast
3. Elizabeth Williams explains why Tricap Residential hires Engagement Managers, Not Property Managers

Elizabeth Williams, Marketing Director at Tricap, shares how Tricap has taken tradition and shaken it up by implementing a hyper-focus approach on the customer (resident) journey.

Connect with Elizabeth at https://www.linkedin.com/in/elizabeth-williams-chicago/

Here’s the show’s transcript in case you’re a visual learner or just hate podcasts:

Jude Chiy 00:00:29 Welcome everyone to the latest episode of flamingos resident experience and engagement podcast. I’m so excited today because we have Elizabeth Williams, the director of marketing at Tricap Residential. Um, so got connected with, uh, Elizabeth, because she was actually a reference for someone that we recently hired. And, uh, we got into a really good conversation and she mentioned a few things that I thought would be really beneficial for our listeners, especially around resident engagement. So, at Tricap instead of property managers, they actually have engagement managers and I’ll let Elizabeth kind of talk more about that in a few minutes, but Elizabeth welcome. Um, so as a quick overview, she is currently the director of marketing at Shakopee essential group. Um, she’s based out of Chicago previously was the VP of marketing at new castle, also known as a reside living. Uh, so Elizabeth, welcome to our latest episode.

Elizabeth Williams 00:01:33 Thanks Jude. Happy to be here.

Jude Chiy 00:01:35 Okay, great. Um, so I’ll kind of start with where I always start wishes. Like what got you into property management that you’ve definitely been in the industry for a little bit of time.

Elizabeth Williams 00:01:47 Yeah. You, you blinking your, you can say I’ve been doing this for 15 years, but I feel like I’m 15. Sometimes I, my industry story is kind of funny. It’s spur, totally fell into it. I know you probably hear that a lot. Um, that’s something that’s so great about our industry. I, uh, native of Colorado, um, I moved here right out of college while a year after college, after CU Boulder and my boyfriend at the time I ended up marrying him, got into law school and in other places and he in other cities and I just kind of had my head in the clouds. Like I don’t really know what I want to do. Um, we can dive into like the pressure we put on 18-year-old when they leave the nest and have to choose their career path. So funny enough, I’m actually a, uh, international affairs major.

Elizabeth Williams 00:02:51 So that’s like, it’s like econ and poly PSI. Um, and I just didn’t, I think seeing him take the LSATs and get ready for life as an attorney, it just, it just, wasn’t my thing. I and my family have a real estate background. My mom has been in the mortgage industry since she moved to Colorado in the seventies and my dad had his own renovation contract business. So, I was always around real estate. My favorite aunt and uncle bought up a bunch of great real estate in Colorado that are now like some of the most sought-after neighborhoods. Uh, they saw potential in those neighborhoods. So, it’s not that surprising that I fell into it, but we were looking at apartments in San Francisco, Chicago, uh, and eventually we would’ve had headed to New York. We knew we wanted to live in a big city and five years, whatever, you know, and we, we just fell in love with Chicago.

Elizabeth Williams 00:03:55 So we were looking at apartments. We, this is 2006 and it was still kind of old school, dude. You, you, you made your list and you call them, you made appointments, how we have evolved, which I know you and I will go further. I mean, my God have we evolved? Thank goodness. Um, but we, we went into this old building from, uh, I of course, fell in love with the idea of living in an old historic high rise, because they don’t really exist in Denver. There are low rise buildings downtown, but they weren’t necessarily residential. And the name of the building is the Fisher building and it’s a Daniel Burnham building. So, I was kind of, I actually had worked for an architect a little bit in college, so, and he always talked about Daniel Burnham. So, we, it was totally above our price range. And just by total happenstance, the regional at village green happened to be covering the site over the weekend because her property manager, leasing consultant, they all got the flu.

Elizabeth Williams 00:05:00 So they, so she happened to be there and she asked me, well, what are you going to do? And I had saved enough money for us to, you know, cover rent for a couple of months. I had a ton of interviews scheduled here in Chicago and she was like, well, we are about to start. We just started construction on a lease up. That’s about four blocks away from here. We called MDA city apartments. Have you ever done, have you ever done leasing? And I was like, no, she was like, you of have a good personality for this. So, I went home applied, they called me, I interviewed with people. So, I kind of similar today had virtual interviews, except they were all over the phone and not via zoom. And they were like, yeah, we want to take a chance on you. And I was at village green for almost nine and a half years. I gave them my twenties, as I say, it was the best, loved the experience and moved up pretty quickly. Uh, yeah. So that’s, that’s my multifamily inception story.

Jude Chiy 00:06:10 Oh, I feel like I hear that a lot, whereas no one graduates from college and it’s like, yeah, I’m going to go into the real estate or the property management industry. It’s always accidental. I not had spoken with at least two people who have so many very similar either. They were looking for an apartment or something else. And someone on site, it’s like, hey, you have a good personality. I think you can do this. You are very much a people person, uh, know once you know about Lisa

Elizabeth Williams 00:06:40 And you’re like, not much, but I’ll figure it out now. You know, there’s schools that have property management degrees, which is really cool. Like ball state is one of them. Uh, they have a phenomenal program. So, as I moved up in my career, HR and hiring managers were definitely targeting the school. Like, could you imagine you get somebody that already knows what NOI is? You know, like ROI, like every acronym in our world, they already have some sort of semblance of what that is and can apply it. But that doesn’t what I love about this industry is that it goes back to what you said. There’s, there’s something about a personality. There’s a, there is a gut feeling and it is, it’s more based on your innate skills versus what you ultimately will learn. I think that’s just what my, in my experience and the growth that I’ve had in this industry, and I’ve been pretty loyal to three companies, um, in that span, uh, just cause I’m my brain is like a sponge.

Elizabeth Williams 00:07:52 I just learn about the company and about the brand and just take it all in. And the marketing side definitely was where I knew I wanted to stay on that path. So, I guess, um, one of my, you know, biggest, it might my advice to the listeners that are either new in this industry, or maybe just feel stuck in the role that they’re in the opportunities in multifamily. When you think about all the different roles on site, in a corporate communication, we have marketing, we have PR um, we have obviously anything on the service team, uh, in the skills needed for different levels there, the financial side, the accounting side, there are so many different, like they’re major companies that only do one of those things. We’re in an industry where you can kind of test the waters of many different types of things to see what you’re good at. I just knew the operations, um, in the traditional sense, which is I’m, I’m excited to first to jump into the distinctions that Tricap has made for our people, uh, the traditional property manager, Jude of the day and her back in the day and still exists today was not something that appealed to me.

Jude Chiy 00:09:18 So kind of interesting then you, so you started off in the lease inside and then completely moved up to marketing. So, what about the operation side? Or what about like the, yeah, just like the mall operations. I did not appeal to you.

Elizabeth Williams 00:09:34 I would say village green was pretty progressive at the time. They, there were opportunities to continue growing on the sales side that ultimately the sales call it pipeline always led me to the marketing communications department. And I totally agree with that. There’s a different mindset. They call it attracting prospects that fight to keep a resident. Yes, there is there that dichotomy definitely exists. And I didn’t, I didn’t want to upset resident because you, they haven’t paid their rent and you know, I’m a highly empathetic person, but I may be too empathetic where you need to lay down the law a little bit and be like, you, you know, we’ve got to be fair to everyone you need to pay. So, um, my operations, uh, experience, I would say Jude would be that I I’m a very observant person. Like I told you, I, my brain, I don’t know.

Elizabeth Williams 00:10:46 I soak up a lot of facts and who knows half the time they’re useless, but I listened and observed it because they really cared about either if, if, if I was onsite or even corporate just getting that full context. So sure. There were times I had to step in and, you know, put on an operations hat and let’s say a property manager. And again, in the old, old-school model, typically leasing report with the property managers, the GM there, the general manager of the entire business, uh, service reports to them, you know, they’re, they’re, they’re the boss where, you know, the industry is evolving and I happened to be at a phenomenal place right now. That is just, they get that. And they’ve got people in the right seats. So

Jude Chiy 00:11:40 Yeah. So, lots of cool, a little bit more in depth on that. So, you left village green and then when to reside also new castle, and now you are at Tricap in a very different model for how teams are constructed. Yeah. We’ll also let you know more about that. So, from that engagement manager to what other rules they have and how that differs than what you’ve seen at other companies and at your previous companies.

Elizabeth Williams 00:12:06 Okay. Yeah, definitely. So funny enough today is my one-year anniversary in Tricap. And, uh,

Elizabeth Williams 00:12:17 I did, I did. And that’s a whole other podcast. It’s gotten good. I mean, I’m boarding virtually down, pretty packed, I would say, but we, what was so intriguing was one, it starts with our founder and CEO, Brian Pritchard, he’s forward thinking. He’s very entrepreneurial thinking as well. And he, you know, that traditional model of what we just talked about, you’ve got the property manager and then the teams that funneled down and that, that pressure to put on a property manager to be an expert in all those things, because that does come with, you know, if you’re going to be the boss of somebody, you need to know enough to be dangerous. Right. Which I totally agree. I think you need to be, um, aware of what your team is doing and what your, even your colleagues are doing, which is something I just alluded to that I personally do.

Elizabeth Williams 00:13:19 Um, because I think it gives you a well-rounded picture of what’s happening in a property. However, um, pre pandemic, the leadership team at Tricap, they wanted to flip the script on multifamily. Brian’s not your typical CEO. And again, I’m going to speak in generalities because I know I’ve worked for some really cool CEOs too, that are, um, that are forward thinking and definitely have their finger on the pulse. But Brian, he just, he really does listen to his team. It’s yeah. He’s at the top of the food chain he could say, right. But he really listens to his team and lets us deploy these kinds of crazy ideas. Well, they’re perceived as kind of crazy from others that are stuck in their ways and the old traditional multifamily way, which is what we just talked about. And the thinking became the more and more the tech, the technology has finally caught up to multifamily and you’re you sink or swim.

Elizabeth Williams 00:14:27 And I mean, you started an app. I mean, like we need these things because the audience are prospects and residents. They want to work with a company that is modern and has this stuff so that they can, so their lives are easier, right? So pre pandemic decision was made. They saw how stressed-out property managers were. So, try cap a year and a half ago was in a more traditional model where there was a property manager, some leasing agents and so on and so forth. And the property manager was always the most wound up stressed, working crazy hours. We make them be HR. They have to do payroll. I mean, just think of all the tasks that a property manager has to do. It’s inevitable that they tend to be the ones that burn out the fastest. They, and they tend to be the most unhappy.

Elizabeth Williams 00:15:31 So the thinking was, Brian brought together some of the best from all the best companies and multifamily, but had that, he did like my boss, for example, her name is Suzanne Hopson. She’s at multifamily, she’s got a good reputation. She was even at, um, a training module, uh, that we all use called grease hill. I don’t know if you’re familiar with it. Yeah. So, she just imagines, you know, the feedback that she had been on, even on the vendor side, but also was a VP in many, many wonderful companies, um, including Marquette, um, again, a more modern multifamily company. So long story short, the thinking was, well, let’s recreate the roles let’s have there be hyper-focused on the customer. And therefore, the customer cycle was evaluated. So, you’ve got the initial customer, which is the prospect, and then you’ve got the resident. So, we don’t call them leasing consultants.

Elizabeth Williams 00:16:42 We started a role called sales managers and they own the sales portion of, of the, of the customer life cycle. So, they do a kick ass job, getting these people, loving the property, all will be virtually to which we can dive into, which is really hard to do. And then they handed over to the engagement manager and the service team where they mix in is there’s a service manager and it’s pretty ingenious. So, everyone has their hyper-focus and then we are an EOS company. So, we host, um, they’re called Elton meetings where you, we joke around it’s customed discussed. They meet enough where kind of those broad general things, but they all affect each other, like a market ready. The salesperson needs a market ready. The engagement manager needs the apartment to look good so that when they make that introduction to the community and trycap that you start on the right foot with the move in and yeah.

Elizabeth Williams 00:17:54 Then service, obviously that puts a lot of pressure on them to make sure that the product looked good. That’s just one example of how they need to meet very frequently to make sure that everyone’s on the same page. They’re actually called same page meetings too. So yeah, it’s, it’s full transparency. Our, our number one core value is trust. First, we have to, and if you can’t, then you got to go because we have to trust that our team members are going to do, they’re hyper-focused their department and their responsibilities. They’re theirs. So, when you think about that, that totally flips the script. We’re thinking about a property manager in the traditional, um, sense would be in charge of making sure that the leasing consultant had enough appointments for the week. The leasing consultant, you know, it was dressed appropriately for tours, had a good closing ratio, all those things, and then their own job, the property managers typically manage renewals as well.

Elizabeth Williams 00:19:02 Maybe if they had an assistant manager, they would handle that HR accounts receivable and then dealing with the service and maintenance teams, making sure walking the property, making sure it looks good. So that was all on the property manager. So now that we’ve segmented it, and everybody has their hyper-focus sales as sales, there’s a director of sales engagement. There’s a director of engagement to ensure that those policies and procedures and accountabilities are being managed well and the person’s happy and they have the capacity to, and then there’s the service team. And then there’s a director of service. And then there’s the service managers I alluded to. And they have this phenomenal transparency amongst each other, but their colleagues there isn’t that pressure to be the big, you know, I’ll never forget there would be meetings where only, you know, with, um, like if it was a third-party management, um, contract, like at village green and the asset manager from some massive bank, right. We’re coming to town, only the property manager and the corporate team and the poor property manager would have to explain, you know, every discrepancy on the books and the product. I mean, just every P like the four PS people, price, product, and promotion, that person was responsible to respond to somebody that’s a lot. Wow.

Jude Chiy 00:20:42 It’s a lot. And you are absolutely right. Like just talking to property managers, looking at property manager groups, the level of stress on a property manager or anyone in the industry is just so absurd. And they have pressure from the residents that have things. They have pressure from the corporate side of things. Now pressure from the asset manager or the owner is like all Candescent on them from all directions.

Elizabeth Williams 00:21:11 So

Jude Chiy 00:21:11 I’m curious for those like Elizabeth Williams 00:21:16 Super appealing.

Jude Chiy 00:21:19 And that’s why, uh, from last I looked at the turnover in the industry. I think it’s right now, at least 30%, like it is high, high, high turnover. So, I try cap. So, looking at those like three segments, so like sales engagement on service, where does the typical property manager fall into that? So, I assumed like on the engagement side, so for your engagement managers, what are they responsible for?

Elizabeth Williams 00:21:48 So that handoff, so making that move in day great. Uh, any issues that arise. So, you know, noise complaints still happen, you know, and everybody was at home this last year. So, some neighbors get used to seeing their neighbors more, but they do not do AR we have an AR manager and she’s the bomb. She’s amazing. So, she handles the delinquencies and, you know, any of the notices for lack of payment. So, they don’t do that. So, engagement truly is engaging with their residents. So, they’re responsible for communicating to their resident and it’s not just, hey, the water’s going to be shut off at two. Today. They have to be more creative where that’s, where I help them to step in, give them some kind of cool designs to put on their portal, um, to help them with some messaging, if they’re struggling with what they need to say or how to say it.

Elizabeth Williams 00:22:52 And, and then when notices, so they do handle the renewals and they start those conversations months before somebody comes up for renewal, they actually, our residents get a survey from Satisfaction, it’s a pre-renewal survey and it’s to gauge like, how likely are you going to renew? And that is something our engagement managers live by. So, unless the person decides to be anonymous, which they can, then you’re like, I have a feeling it’s so-and-so, but so then they gauge with their people coming up unnoticed. And then there’s kind of the interview. Like if somebody does give notice, what could we have done differently? Why obviously you would start with, why are you moving? And, you know, they, if there is something that we did or could have done better, and it’s usually just due to lack of communication, uh, the person was upset, but didn’t really say anything.

Elizabeth Williams 00:23:49 Or maybe they went on Google or apartment ratings and stayed anonymous and just said, you know, I don’t know exactly when you stay, when you have that anonymity, you choose to, it’s more of a vent venting, right? And you’re, you’re not really wanting a solution. It gives the engagement managers an opportunity to engage this person, to fix their issues. Most of 90% of the stuff is totally fixable. It’s a breakdown in communication. They had something broken in their apartment, but didn’t put in a work order. Uh, they didn’t like their neighbor. It’s like, okay, we’ll transfer you. What, let’s go to the other side of the property. So, it’s funny engagement. They should almost be called communication managers.

Jude Chiy 00:24:43 It’s still funny. You say that. So, for us, we look at so much data on our platform on different, uh, parts where residents interact, whether it’s Google reviews, Facebook reviews, and then internally as well. Um, all the analysis we’ve done, we found that like in 75, like 90% of situations, every issue is a communication issue. Like you just said, the resident topic put in a work order, but it actually did not. Or the resident wanted something, but maybe they didn’t emphasize it enough. So, they are unhappy, but never expressed it. Or the property manager, they said X versus and hurt my wife. Totally look on like the prophecies that have the highest resident satisfaction scores. One of the things that shout out to the top of the list immediately was over-communication. So how many emails? Uh, the site team sent out to residents’ properties that send two plus per week have the highest resident satisfaction versus the ones that send up communication, maybe like once a month or a little bit less. And it was, it’s very, very, very clear. And I think for a property manager is some of them think that they’re on a nor residents with over-communication, which is like, absolutely not the case at all, because half the time people are like, oh, I didn’t get that email. And it’s because they actually did not. So, you really have to overdo it.

Elizabeth Williams 00:26:11 Yeah. I agree. Very interesting

Jude Chiy 00:26:13 That you guys found that. Yeah. So, looking at the results and then what have been some of the initial results that you guys have sent on? How long has, have you, uh, how long since you guys made this change?

Elizabeth Williams 00:26:25 So they were officially in new seats in September of 2020. So not even a year yet. And the biggest result that’s measurable is our turnover. We’ve had, I, I think we’ve had two engagement managers, turnover and one, uh, you know, good problem. Uh, people have children. So, it was like, it wasn’t, you know, cause of the role, uh, hopefully they come back and then the second was funny. A teacher initially wants to go back to that possibly, um, but is interested in the, for sale side. So, the conversation almost turned to, well, do you want to go to sales manager? Because again, their colleagues, their peer level, their sales managers and engagement managers are the same. So, it’s, I think in our industry too, there’s this perception. I remember being pressured like, well, if you ever want to get, move up to corporate, um, you’ve got to become an assistant manager, then a manager, then a regional.

Elizabeth Williams 00:27:42 But no, when I knew that marketing and sales was my path, um, village green at the time was my employer. They adjusted to that and they created a phenomenal growth plan for the sales teams so that they could, they didn’t have to go over to the operation side. And that’s still the case today there it’s pretty spectacular. So again, you just have to find the right company that has that, those various paths. And sometimes you don’t know that something’s not a fit until you’re, you’re burnt out. You’re we, we use a company called culture index here, and there’s a line where your battery, you you’re using up too much battery to get something pretty basic done. It’s, it’s an indicator that you’re, it’s too much. You’re, you’re, you’re willing, you’re doing the job. You don’t, it’s, it’s taking every bit of you to do it because you’re not in the right seat.

Elizabeth Williams 00:28:44 And that can vary throughout the year. We all have different times of year where it’s super stressful. So, you know, you’re going through hyper girls. So, for us, you know, our acquisitions team are busy. They’re probably really stressed out and this would be a good time to see like, but is their battery running well, because they’re, they’re like maybe considering like, am I doing the right thing? So, we’re fortunate enough to be at a company where we, um, we test throughout the year and we don’t have just one year evaluation. We are evaluated with our supervisors every quarter. And the conversations are actually really cool. It’s not, you know, you’re for like the sales team. You’re not, hyper-focused on closing ratios, you know? Cause that’s so arbitrary to say, because everybody’s properties are different and they’re different markets and they’re at different states throughout the year. They could be you; you might have two tours that are property. If they’re 99% occupied, like you’re not driving traffic to something you don’t need to. Right. And then on the engagement side, they are definitely held responsible for those engagement scores related to surveys and resident satisfaction. But overall, as the director of marketing and communications, I oversee our reputation as a whole.So long story short it’s it takes a village, there are notes.

Elizabeth Williams 00:30:21 Nobody’s alone in what they do, even though they have hyper-focused job responsibilities, uh, that don’t require them to wear. I hate it. I hate that like, oh, family property managers were so many hats. Like

Jude Chiy 00:30:39 It really doesn’t have to be like that.

Elizabeth Williams 00:30:42 Hire somebody who thinks that they need to lead it like into a conversation like I’m able to multitask, that’s a red flag, actually test it, try cap. That means that their battery is low. They’re not able to do one thing very well. They have to do a lot of things. So-so

Jude Chiy 00:31:04 Yeah. So, I think what’s interesting on something that I really become a strong advocate for is resident experience is really, really important. But staff experience is also so important. Like if you’re a site teams or even your corporate teams are, if they don’t have the best experience, if they have burned out, if they’re stressed out, that’s going to translate directly to what your resident experience feels like from the resident side. So, all of those things are so connected in so many different ways. So, it’s so cool to see that you guys are really, um, bringing the staff experience up to the same level where everyone else is. Right. Not just focus on the resident side of the experience

Elizabeth Williams 00:31:48 Outside

Jude Chiy 00:31:48 Of like, oh yeah. Um, so all of a sudden like Toronto, we’re like, have you guys done any of my surveys? Would you know, it seems to see like what, what the experience is, how things have changed with this new focus on what does that look like?

Elizabeth Williams 00:32:01 Oh yeah. We host say to the companies once a quarter and we host town halls where it’s just an open forum and our most recent one really, we did hone in on this was a crazy, cool idea, but that doesn’t necessarily mean every facet of the change that we made in September. And what I love about Tricap is that we have this work sitting in a town hall with our CEO and he’s taking in all of this and it’s, there’s a retribution, people can be open and honest about what’s working and what’s not, and what’s the solution. And then we, we, we fix it, we fix it as a team. Is it a market specific thing? That’s frustrating that person in their seat, um, with it´s being virtual. So, sales and engagement are 100% virtual. So, our only boots on the ground are the service team.

Elizabeth Williams 00:32:59 So we really got to take care of our sales team because there was so with the resident, you know, they go into do a work order. Um, if you, you know, a lot of us that have worked on site, you end up becoming like a therapist too. Then they tell you like, I, you know, they tell you what’s going on. And especially during COVID people, they craved like human interactions or service team who take them a little bit longer to do work orders because well, they wanted to give good customer service. So, then they get behind. So not everything worked out perfectly and not every market is totally appropriate for our structure. And that is something that we’re working on. Um, but at least we’re, we’re not, so we’re not stuck. We’re like funny enough, we don’t stick maybe long enough. Sometimes we pivot fast and if you’re not going to change, then try camp is definitely not the company for you.

Elizabeth Williams 00:33:57 We are, we are testing different things all the time. And we’re pivoting all the time to make sure that our teams are happy. And our residents first and foremost, the customers are happy. And the surveys that we do internally and externally, some of the markets that when we did this, I think they assumed it was only for COVID because everybody was at home, right? So, there are some markets that are in resident, we call it tapestry there. They have always rented in the traditional model where you’re, you’re ticked off, you stormed down to the office. Right. And that’s just what we talked about. We know that isn’t productive from a communication standpoint, it’s a layout, the issue first, maybe that’s me email, maybe that’s through work order and then let the conversations. It’s almost like the resident needs to just get it out and they feel a little bit better.

Elizabeth Williams 00:35:04 Let’s call it. You know, it’s kind of a cathartic experience for them, but those poor property managers in the traditional setup, we’re getting yelled at a lot and that’s hard to, that takes an emotional and physical toll on people. And for what, you know, like we’re not saving lives here, we’re service experience. And so, they’ve gotten really good at giving a good customer service, albeit virtual, they, they can, they can hop on a zoom call with a resident and they do all the time. Um, we use a service called whereby rooms so that nobody has to download apps or anything. Um, and then internally we use Microsoft teams. So, they can also use that. But it’s and platforms like Flamingo, like you can communicate, there is a way you just, what we have to make sure that our teams feel supported is that they don’t get stuck in it getting lost in translation. So those communication skills need to be really on point, especially email communications. You can totally mean something else, but you said the opposite and you didn’t mean to.

Jude Chiy 00:36:24 Yeah. So, then I’m curious, you’ve touched on a lot of really interesting things from the staff, burnout, distress communications who really, um, how property managers or property management companies need to constantly like pivot, which are all things that I completely agree with. So, for tracking, like when you guys are looking at the end goal, what are the goals you guys are aiming for? Is it increasing or decreasing like turnover, just making renewables much better? Is it the resident satisfaction? Is it reviews if you have to rank from like one to three, which are like the top three metrics that you guys look at to see that this is, this is working?

Elizabeth Williams 00:37:07 Definitely resident satisfaction, because then it just trickles down. Your residents are happy. Your engagement managers are happy. Your service team is happy because you just have that perfect flow amongst all the parties involved. And right now, you know, like I alluded to earlier, we are in a hyper-growth mode. So, we do want to retain people and grow them and have, you know, the engagement manager experts. We just, um, promoted a couple of people on the sales and engagement side to senior they’re willing to step in. And those pivot projects recall, like they want to beta test new software and new things. And they’re also seen as a team member within, you know, their bucket that everyone seems to look up to and they’ve got the skills they’ve kind of done it all. They can, they’re very relatable and approachable to their team members. So obviously retention.

Elizabeth Williams 00:38:17 But within that retention growth for the team members, um, we’re a small company today, but that won’t be the case in five years. So, build people now that get it are in, they love it. They, they hate to say it. They drank the Kool-Aid, but they’re deploying the core values that Tricot one being trust first, there, there are other ones, but the trust versus a big one to be able to be virtual and be like, all right, team member. I know you’ve got that portion of it. There’s something kind of freeing about it and sure do people disappoint sometimes and you thought you could trust them. But what we try to do internally is just keep building that. I hate to say it again, but the trust where okay, like that situation it happened, that doesn’t mean you necessarily can’t trust that person. And if, if enough of those situations happen, then we know that they’re not a culture fit. Um, if somebody has a reputation that their other team members can’t trust them got to go. And what that means is that the residents don’t trust them. So really, it’s funny, the resident communication portion tells such so many more stories than just about the four walls that they live in. It tells the story about how we’re doing in this virtual and, you know, setup that we have at Tricap and how we’re failing our team members, especially again, or service team members carrying the brunt of that in person, customer service interaction.

Jude Chiy  00:39:55 Oh, love that. And I think, uh, one thing that everyone should really like note it is all of what you’ve mentioned, especially related to staff experience that ends up driving things a lot further down the line. So, as you have lower turnover, one of the biggest complaints we’ve also seen is residents hate when the sites in turns over, it’s like new people, nothing they know. And it’s just that constant change just irritates residents. So, so much. So, I love this approach of focusing on staff experience, constantly pivoting to see what’s working. What’s not, and then making the change because as you know, like real estate is known to be one of those industries where things just don’t change quickly. It makes a lot to move anything. So, loft approach that you guys like, Hey,

Elizabeth Williams 00:40:44 I also want to mention really quick too, before we end. Um, the serving, I forgot to mention, we survey our team members once a week. We tiny pulse, which is, you know, most of our residents. So, they fill out surveys. It’s at least five to 10 questions where they can give a little more context than just yes or no. Um, but we do just, it, it’s taking a pulse like last week we got a survey is leadership aware of the struggles on site and when we meet onsite virtually onsite, and it’s just as simple as that. So, you might get something no. And then we’re able to respond and honest, not anonymously and say, what’s up. Well, let’s talk. Um, we don’t just take the no, and it gets dumped into a chart where somebody said no, and it gives us a negative score. We’re definitely trying to squeeze out the context to really get to the root of the problem and therefore fix it. Sometimes people are just in the wrong seat, they’re a culture fan, but they want to go. Maybe they should try sales because the pressure of being an engagement manager and yes, you’re, it’s usually the people are upset or in, oh yeah. You just increase the rent. So just wanted to notate that too. I definitely recommend to the listeners, um, there’s simple tools, even, you know, like survey monkey has a free tool where you could just get a pulse from your employees. It’s interesting what you’ll find out.

Jude Chiy  00:42:27 I absolutely love that. And that’s one of the things we recommend, not just the staff, but for residents as well. I think one thing that a lot of properties do day do surveys, but typically the surveys are like once every six months or once a year, we absolutely recommend pulse surveys, which is what you were referring to is get a poll on your residents. Like every month, not everyone’s going to complete the surveys, but at least you’ve given that opportunity for them to say, Hey Adam, things that are going well for me right now. Well, things are going phenomenally. And what that allows you to do is to really track things over time and see if any initiatives changes, pivots that you do are impacting the overall like the resident sentiment. So definitely could not recommend pulse surveys enough. It’s just like such a simple way. And you learn so much. And the best part is that it gives residents on opportunity to air things out before they take it to Google reviews, Facebook reviews, Yelp reviews. So those places where you can change anything, that’s a lot. So, I always end with, what do you see in terms of resident experience or engagement 3, 5, 10 years from now? What are some of your predictions?

Elizabeth Williams 00:43:45 Oh, I mean, I think the days of pizza parties by the pool are kind of over, I think it’s the in-person stuff, which is coming back and we’re even starting to do that. Uh, they’ve got to be really great and maybe even sponsored, I mean, I’m thinking residents, they, they, they want to be impressed. So, I think people are going to have to up their in-person game. Um, but I think virtual needs it’s I think it’s here to stay. So, people got used to it during the pandemic. When I was at new castle reside, we already hadn’t been doing it like they were doing online cooking classes, pre pandemic that were attended and there were so cool. I just think that virtual experience is going to get fine-tuned. I think it’s going to become the norm. And I don’t think it’s going to go back with the exception of again, like a blowout party because it’s sponsored by, I don’t, like a cool brand. I totally like I don’t, that’s my prediction.

Jude Chiy 00:44:57 No, I love that. And I absolutely agree. I think we will see a shift from resident events to resident experiences. So, it’s really how you create an experience and that’s exactly what people are looking for. And I love the aspect that you mentioned of getting sponsors. So, properties have these incredible assets called residents. It needs to utilize it. There are a lot of brands that want to be in front of those people. And the second part is properties have all the decent need for experiences. They have amazing events spaces. So, I think we’ll wait to see a lot more of those. And then on the leasing side, um, I think we’re going to see a lot more prospect-based events. So why half an event and invite the whole neighborhood. That’s free tours, that’s free just free brand and just like so many things. And they act PR on top of that, and now you have XYZ Marcus ELA, right? He writes in a pop you’re building on all the cool events that you guys do. So, I think we’ll see a lot more of those. And that just plays into a lot of what you’ve said, which is that a lot of what property managers do has to be segmented because in order to pull off something like that, you need someone whose specific job is that you can just like, add that onto your property manager to say, hey, we need you to do this as well.

Reach out to sponsors, get sponsors,

Elizabeth Williams 00:46:25 Event planners. There are people that go to school for that. And we definitely know they’re going to resent it and it’s not going to be done as well as somebody that has the capacity to do it.

Jude Chiy 00:46:38 Yup, exactly. So, Elizabeth, thank you so much for being on our podcast. I think this was phenomenal, learned a lot and so happy to see that there isn’t a company out there that’s so focused on staff experience because at the end of the day, that matters just as much as your resident experience