Employee Recognition Drives Employee Retention


Employee retention is an imposing challenge for our times. Turnover in the multifamily industry is at 32.7%. The COVID-19 crisis has put this issue front and center as property management companies have worked to keep employees engaged, connected and feeling appreciated while miles apart. The post-COVID landscape may pose even more retention challenges. Is there a smart way forward?

In a recent webcast, Smart Solutions: Optimizing Today’s Workforce, Katie McCaslin, Vice President of Learning Solutions at RealPage, and Christi Weinstein, Vice President of Support Operations at BH Management, discussed the introduction of a new employee recognition and rewards platform designed to boost motivation and retention.

RealPage Recognitions provides a platform for managers and employees to send regular shout-outs to one another as part of the corporate culture, rather than only at occasional parties, meetings or in reviews. Ongoing recognition of work well done has proven to be a powerful tool in motivating and holding on to great employees. And it's a lot more affordable than handing out raise after raise.

The Recognitions platform includes a point-based system that can be used to award badges, gifts and other marks of appreciation.

Recognitions is directly integrated with RealPage’s EasyLMS® (Learning Management System) to provide a comprehensive employee retention, training and talent management solution.

“We saw that property management companies were onboarding employees over a 90-day period but often didn’t have a follow-up plan to continue engaging them at one, three or five years,” says RealPage’s McCaslin. “We wondered if exceptional veteran employees would still feel as valued as new hires.

“I recently saw a Gallup poll that stated that the #1 reason people change jobs is that they find better career growth opportunities elsewhere. This tells us that you can’t just assign folks training on day one and expect them to be successful and want to stick around with the company long-term. Employee engagement and recognition have to be embedded in a company’s DNA and occur regularly and naturally over time. The benefits are clear. Highly engaged teams can be up to 21% more profitable than peers with lower engagement.”


The power of social recognition

McCaslin’s team focused on how to address the employee retention challenge without creating a burden on human resources departments. Her group had already achieved success in building active employee engagement with EasyLMS®, a learning management system that incorporates gamification through earned badges to drive motivation to learn, and a social component that includes sharing about badges and achievements.

Over the years, RealPage customers had been giving consistent feedback that that they loved the gamification and engagement of EasyLMS®, but that their associates craved recognition outside of learning activities. McCaslin and her team saw that people relied on social media to satisfy those needs.

Says McCaslin, “We all use social media in our personal lives, but a lot of people separate their online social life from work—for personal reasons or due to company policy. Having a safe, work-focused environment where people can comment, send kudos or a thank you helps foster a personal connection that builds a better workplace. And that’s the idea behind RealPage Recognitions.”

RealPage Recognitions builds engagement with a simple, three-pronged, social approach:

  1. Shout Outs are used by employees to recognize each other’s excellence. These can be specific to a role—such as “Maintenance Magic” for a technician who’s always delivering—or as simple as a thank you for a small gesture that made a big difference. With each Shout Out, the sender is able to send points to the recipient—adding a bit of value to the recognitions.
  2. Celebrations are recognitions of specific milestones—such as birthdays, new hires and work anniversaries. Studies show that employees strongly appreciate personal messages and comments, even from teammates they don’t often work with.
  3. Finally, Rewards let people redeem their received points for tangible or intangible rewards provided by their companies. Rewards can be things like company-branded tumblers, a half-day of paid time off or a donut day for the leasing office.


Easy for customers, easy for teammates

“A huge benefit of leveraging social communications is that employees generate inspiring, motivating content themselves,” notes McCaslin. “That’s how RealPage Recognitions promotes engagement without taxing management or employee relations departments with a new duty. The results have been beyond encouraging.”

Christi Weinstein of BH Management concurs: “While it’s early in our rollout, RealPage Recognitions has been instrumental in building employee engagement without a complicated process. I was just looking at our dashboard and we’ve seen over 500 Shout Outs and 18,000 Shout Out Points given in just the first few days. I believe the key to this success has been how easy this system is to use. It doesn’t take any effort or interrupt your workday. With Recognitions, our teams and leaders have made it part of their routine to see how people are performing, see all the cool exchanges happening and then perhaps send a Shout Out or two of their own. It’s a big morale boost to our employees. And it’s been really fun to watch.”

“We’re excited by the possibilities RealPage Recognitions offers our customers,” concludes McCaslin. “From positively impacting their long-term employee engagement goals to improving performance and helping retain top talent, I believe RealPage Recognitions will pay big benefits long after COVID is gone.”

RealPage Recognitions is now available to customers. The system is an add-on for customers already using EasyLMS®. Alternately, it can be purchased with EasyLMS® as a bundle.

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