September 4, 2019

Happy Employees, Happy Tenants: A Guide To Employee Retention and Job Satisfaction in Self Storage

In the self storage industry, we spend a considerable amount of time discussing systems processes and procedures that assist in creating an efficient and profitable facility, so much so, oftentimes we neglect the one thing that should receive the most attention – the staff. The modern-day workplace we all function in has been so consumed with technology, it has made it easy for us all to forget about vital topics such as company culture, and building a happy, sustainable, and healthy work environment. We’ve have talked about how to attract exceptional employees in the past in our “need better employees” blog, and now, we’re going to tell you how to keep them. When employees enjoy their job, tenants have a better customer service experience, and your facility simultaneously increases ROI.

Evaluating Happiness

Forbes conducted a survey that found over, 35% of professionals said they would look for a new job if they could not trust their managers. This is why creating an environment that is grounded in transparency is vital. Inviting property managers and relief managers as well as employee alike to come forth in a casual environment and express any concerns or feedback, will provide your staff with a sense of stability in the workplace. Providing employees with a platform to speak their mind beings the process of cultivating a culture of trust. If your staff is more open with you and the rest of the leadership team it will be easier for you to have insight about issues within the company and events that are happening at your facility. If you manage several employees, consider sending out an anonymous survey, and then abide by it. Even if you can tell who left a response, don’t call them out for constructive criticism. Building trust by taking employees suggestions to heart will let your staff know and understand them and let me that they are being heard. 

Along those same lines, talk to others in the industry. What do they do that helps keep their employees happy? How are they reducing turnover? Companies with happy employees outperform others by more than 20%, according to USA Today. Making active changes to your company culture by increasing pay, benefits, or even office perks can help your facility stay competitive. 

Increasing Work Efficiencies

One way to help employees is to make their jobs easier. Are they spending half their day updating files and completing paperwork for tenants? Consider adopting an online rental tool so that by the time new tenants arrive on the property, there’s little to no manual work for the employee. Adopting modern systems like this provides more time for employees to focus on more strategic goals set out for the facility.

You chose your employees because you trusted them to manage your facility when you’re not there. Give them autonomy and power in their roles. If there are areas of management you are hesitant for them to have access to, plan for that. If you don’t want an employee to see the facility finances, make sure your property systems allow for you to hide that information. For example, The Storage Group’s Performance Dashboard™ allows you to determine what information you want to account for users to be able to access. Doing this will allow your employees to freely use the systems in place at your facility without fear of overstepping boundaries.

Why You Should Care

Employee happiness requires more than a vague understanding of the value it brings to your facility, it requires action! Happier salespeople produce 37% more sales than unhappy employees, according to Snack Nation. These happier employees take, on average, 10 less sick days than their counterparts.

Increasing job satisfaction not only increases potential revenue but by decreasing turnover, it’ll cut down on costs. Not every facility or every region of the country wants the same things from an employer. Some employees want free coffee and snacks, and some may need more consistent scheduling or a change in processes to improve efficiency. 

Start by reaching out to your employees and researching how other facilities have built their company culture. If your facility, like most, only has a handful of employees, treat hardworking employees with respect and trust. Build a company culture that celebrates success and takes minor slipups in stride. By creating an open environment of transparency and feedback, you’ll not only grow as a facility owner and operator, but your employees will grow too. 

In self storage, facilities are constantly trying new strategies to compete against their big box and REIT counterparts, but sometimes going back to basics can make drastic changes for the better. Making changes now, and help you avoid looking for new property managers in the long run.