Attracting and retaining property management talent, particularly maintenance and service technicians, has always been a challenge. But, in today’s world – particularly in the midst of the Great Resignation – it’s become an even bigger hurdle for management companies. Turnover is at an all-time high, not to mention the overall shortage of maintenance talent in general. 

These exact problems were at the forefront of discussions at NAA’s Apartmentalize 2022 event. Below are the main highlights from multifamily thought leaders about maintenance operations, how to overcome current setbacks and what can be done to prepare for the future. 

1. The Amount Of Maintenance Professionals Is Dwindling

“The potential impact of the talent shortage means increased time to fill positions, cost of filling positions, salary expectations, expectations regarding working environment and turnover,” said Wendy Werner-Draper, Regional Vice President at Arbor Properties. At ServusConnect, we see the direct impact of this talent shortage on our customers’ ability to complete work orders, which is why they are so readily increasing the use of automation.

During The Seven Deadly Sins of Maintenance panel where leaders were discussing these concerns, Chris Caramanica, Director of Facilities, Maintenance at WinnCompanies stated that “by 2035, 30% of the current maintenance workforce will be gone.” Not only does the multifamily industry continue to find it difficult to find maintenance talent, the pool from which they have to choose from is getting and will continue to get smaller. 

“By 2035, 30% of the current maintenance workforce will be gone.” – Chris Caramanica, Director of Facilities, Maintenance at WinnCompanies

Multifamily communities need to come up with a solution, and quickly! Having worked with property maintenance teams directly for a decade, we know it’s going to require much more emphasis on retention programs and creative solutions to attracting maintenance talent, but it can be done. 

2. Maintenance Technician Turnover Continues To Climb

According to the most recent data posted by NAA, the overall employee turnover rate for multifamily properties is 32.7%. For onsite maintenance staff, the turnover rate is even higher at 39.2%!

The turnover rate for onsite maintenance staff is 39.2%

During the Apartmentalize session, The Seven Deadly Sins of Maintenance, Caramanica stated “55% of property management staff turnover can be attributed to maintenance staff.”

It’s no secret that communities are struggling to hang onto maintenance talent. And increased compensation can only go so far. Multifamily communities need to implement new strategies that will attract and retain maintenance talent before they find themselves so short-staffed that it begins to affect resident experience.

3. Multifamily Communities Are Supplementing Higher Compensation To Attract And Retain Maintenance Technicians

Luckily, there are solutions to high turnover and talent shortages! So, what can multifamily communities do to attract and retain talented maintenance technicians? 

The multifamily maintenance thought leaders at Apartmentalize provided insight into what is working at their communities: 

  • Team Building Activities: Team activities, particularly those that go beyond a happy hour, which could be a bowling night, field day, recreational workshop, etc. 
  • Streamlining Communications: With both onsite staff and residents so that technicians know exactly where they need to be and when in order to reduce the amount of friction and remain efficient with their productivity. 
  • Resident Feedback: At properties without comprehensive maintenance software, residents are often kept in the dark and not communicated with effectively, if at all, after a work order is completed. Maintenance Supervisors and Technicians need this feedback in order to improve their workflow and operations so they are aware of how to satisfy their residents. 
  • Spot Bonuses: Many property management companies offer sign-on bonuses to maintenance staff, but spot bonuses – or compensation offered to those who have remained employed and are still with the company – are growing in popularity to show appreciation for those already employed. 
  • Training Programs: Training programs are a way for property management companies to show their employees that they are invested in them and their ongoing education, which is a powerful incentive to attract and retain maintenance staff. 


4. Technology Is The New Catalyst For Driving Revenue

“Technology has become the new catalyst to driving revenue for properties.” Stacy Wells, SVP, Strategic Operations at Fairfield Residential, sums up an important theme that has been growing in the multifamily industry in the past few years. 

While the concept of technology may not be new, nor does it solve all problems, the importance of leveraging technology and automation to supplement multifamily operations and residents’ experience bears repeating. And it can be particularly successful when it comes to simplifying the job for maintenance teams! 

“Technology has become the new catalyst to driving revenue for properties.” – Stacy Wells, SVP, Strategic Operations at Fairfield Residential

Technology should make a job easier, right? But sometimes that’s not always the case. Property managers need to make sure that the technology designed to make a maintenance team’s job easier actually does so! Work order apps, service/maintenance request software and property maintenance systems should have easy onboarding, intuitive interfaces, and insightful data that can actually be acted upon to mitigate future risks and receive resident feedback. 

With technology designed to solve the real problems that maintenance teams face, it truly can work as the new catalyst for driving revenue via preventative maintenance, resident retention and reduction in operational overhead and employee turnover.  

Invest In Your Maintenance Operations With ServusConnect

ServusConnect is a complete digital solution for multifamily software that solves the biggest pain points of property management teams today. ServusConnect digitizes every aspect of property maintenance from work orders, make-readys, inspections, resident communication, business analytics, and reporting.

The simple onboarding process and intuitive interface get maintenance teams up and running in just hours. ServusConnect prioritizes resident feedback after a work order is complete and makes that feedback readily accessible to everyone so that maintenance teams know exactly how to satisfy residents. Maintenance techs can communicate directly with residents throughout the work order lifecycle and vice versa. Residents can even see a real-time update on the progress of their work order request! Finally, ServusConnect provides insightful data to maintenance teams about building specifics and performance. 

Altogether, ServusConnect simplifies maintenance operations and allows maintenance techs to do their jobs with ease. Investing in your maintenance team fosters higher retention rates, job performance, workplace satisfaction and resident experience. 

Schedule a demo with the ServusConnect team today to get started!