At least that’s what the data says.
Multifamily owners and operators are so inundated with messages about data today that it’s easy for them to forget about the true driver of rent growth and occupancy – their people. Their people have to interpret the data and implement action plans based on the data to improve operations.
Fortunately, owners and operators are beginning to remember that they need to put their people first and the data second, even when it comes to entering and interpreting the data.
“I lead my team by three philosophies,” said Jeff Kok, chief information officer at Mill Creek Residential, at the 2018 Entrata Summit. “No. 1, people matter most. The second is simplicity. Easier adoption means it’s easier to maintain. The third is to empower. Give them the power they need to get the job done.”
By making it easy for on-site associates to input data into systems, apartment owner/operators can improve the data itself.
“The easier it is for staff to put information in, the more they’re going to put it in and that trickles up,” said Chris Rodriguez, director of information technology at Passco Companies. “Ultimately, the property is going to run better and perform better.”
But that data doesn’t translate into results if it’s too difficult to analyze and simplify into actionable metrics that on-site teams can use to grow rents and lease apartment homes.
“Data is more of a symptom than it is the actual cause,” said Rich Sladick, vice president of California operations for Allmark Properties. “We want to make sure the staff is operating correctly and that’s going to make the data correct.”
To give the operations teams the time and space to operate correctly, Allmark is taking the focus off reporting for operations teams and guiding them to focus on residents instead.
“I would much rather have them walking the community and picking up trash than looking at a report, because that’s going to impact our income statement,” Sladick said.
Unfortunately, for larger companies, there’s sometimes more data than the corporate teams can possibly manage alone. That’s why companies like Cottonwood Residential are spreading data responsibilities to every level of the organization to lighten the load and ensure the data is clean.
“Every department is zoned in on the data,” said Danielle Noel, National Director of Training and Development for Cottonwood Residential. “We look corporate down. We expect everyone to be checking the data for accuracy.”
Whether they’re analyzing data at corporate or at every level of the organization, apartment owner/operators are seeing results when data entry and analysis are simplified and associates are put first.
“We save thousands of dollars per property on marketing spend annually because of the data we’re looking at,” Noel said. “We can better determine the lead sources we’re using and cut those lead sources that aren’t performing. We go to the source that’s working.”
The data is producing a clear ROI, but not without the people.
“Everybody wants a hard ROI,” Rodriguez said. “If I spend this, what am I saving? But it’s really all about people.”