Why are Rental Housing Employees Quitting? Lack of Professional Development

risks to employee engagement lack of professional development

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.

train the new hireOne of the top risks to employee loyalty and tenure is a perceived lack of opportunity for growth and progression. Many rental housing employees unfortunately believe that if they want to move up, they have to move on. Here are some of the frustrations about uncertain professional development expressed by employees in confidential surveys last year:

  • Many employees are dismayed to see newly hired employees or promotions announced when they were never given the opportunity to be considered for the open position.
  • Employees say clearly defined career paths are extremely important, but many say they are lacking at their company.
  • Nearly 10% of employees say they don’t receive timely feedback on their work performance.

To support positive morale and safeguard against excessive employee turnover, rental housing leaders should demonstrate that growth within the organization is possible. This is especially important today when competing opportunities abound.

What can leaders do?

Here’s a straightforward first step: socialize all open positions in the organization to your existing team members. Only 66% of rental housing companies say they do so; that means a full third of companies do not. Even among companies where leaders say they publicize their openings internally, a significant number of employees tell us, “that’s news to me.” The message simply isn’t reaching the target. Leaders must do a better job of sharing opportunities. It’s not enough to post opening on the Careers page of your company website. Push your openings to employees in a variety of ways, such as making it a recurring topic at every team staff meeting, using email and text to reach employees directly, and publishing a printable notice that can be distributed and displayed.

risk to employee retention lack of opportunity

Leaders can also take the proactive step of conducting career conversations with their direct reports. This can be a part of regularly scheduled one-on-one meetings. Supervisors should seek to discover what each individual’s ambitions are, and provide guidance and support to help them meet their goals. Clearly defined training paths are a useful tool for both employees and leaders because they eliminate any uncertainty about what is required in order for a team member to be eligible for promotion.

Finally, 10% of employees indicate they do not receive timely feedback on their work performance. It’s hard for team members to have confidence in their future prospects when they don’t know if their performance is meeting expectations—or is even noticed. Use regular both formal and informal performance feedback measure to ensure associates receive the input they need to succeed.

Learn more about the other risks we have identified as driving dissatisfaction and turnover, including compensation, communication, workload, and onboarding, 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.