Why are Rental Housing Employees Quitting? Ineffective Onboarding

employee engagement risk ineffective onboarding

Note: This is one in a five-article series spotlighting the five top risks to employee engagement and retention cited in Swift Bunny’s 2023 Employee Engagement Risk Report. Employee turnover is a persistent top challenge for rental housing operators, and the labor shortage has made staffing even more difficult than usual. A focus on driving down employee turnover and driving up employee engagement, tenure, and loyalty will help apartment leaders keep their communities and companies fully staffed and high performing.

short staffed employee engagement risk onboarding

Rental housing professionals know the importance of making a great first impression. It’s why we sink so much money into beautiful signs and landscaping to lead customers into our community. But somewhere along the line, we neglected to apply that wisdom to the new hire onboarding experience. Our latest research shows that a bumpy start is causing many rental housing employees to question their choice and even quit within weeks or months of starting a new job. Ineffective onboarding is among the top risks to employee engagement and retention in our latest 2023 Employee Engagement Risk Report.

Here are some of the specific frustrations expressed by newly hired employees in confidential surveys last year:

  • Only about 2/3 of new hires say they were given adequate time during work hours to complete required training.
  • Many express dismay at the lack of one-on-one instruction.
  • Still more new hires say that the training they were given did not help them become effective at their job. Said one survey respondent, “I’m two months in, and I still don’t have a clear idea of all my job duties or how to do my job confidently.”

When newly hired employees don’t feel that they can competently and confidently contribute, they are dissatisfied—and more likely to leave.

What can leaders do?

employee engagement risk onboarding

First, don’t leave onboarding up to chance. It’s imperative that each workplace have an organized system for welcoming new team members into their role. As a part of this process, it can be very beneficial to assign a mentor to each newly hired associate. The mentor is someone other than their direct supervisor to whom the new hire can turn for guidance and answers.

Next, consider that onboarding starts from the moment the candidate accepts the job offer. Communicate with your new hire before their first day on the job by sending any paperwork in advance; sharing logistics such as dress code, parking arrangements, work hours, and lunch norms; and of course, sharing your excitement that they’ve joined the team. Check in with the new hire by phone on the day before their start date to see if they have any last minute questions and confirm that you’re looking forward to their first day.

Finally, consider the training that is offered or required of your new hires. Ensure that it provides practical, actionable information that is relevant to their responsibilities. Many survey respondents share that they feel loaded up with “nice to know” information, but lacked the “need to know” training such as how to use the systems they work within daily. Additionally, be sure that reasonable time is provided for completing training during the work day.

Learn more about the other risks we have identified as driving dissatisfaction and turnover, including compensation, communication, professional development, and workloads, and get your copy of the 2023 Employee Engagement Risk Report for our complete findings.



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Employee turnover is a significant concern for businesses of all sizes and industries, but we know it is particularly distressing for the rental housing industry.