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Resident Engagement: What It Is & Why It’s Important

As an experienced multifamily property manager, you understand the importance of not just filling units but also keeping residents happy and satisfied. You've probably pondered the age-old question that many property managers ask themselves: "What is the most effective way to increase resident retention?"

The answer – resident engagement. 

By actively involving and connecting with your residents, you can create a sense of community and foster positive relationships that lead to long-term tenancies. 

In this blog post, we will delve into the concept of resident engagement, explore how it directly contributes to higher retention rates, and introduce valuable resources for property management that streamline communication and simplify the planning of resident events.

What is Resident Engagement?

Resident engagement refers to the proactive efforts made by property managers to interact with and involve residents in various aspects of community life. 

It goes beyond simply collecting rent and addressing maintenance requests; it encompasses building a vibrant and inclusive living environment that residents are proud to call home.

Resident engagement can take many forms, including:

  • social events
  • educational workshops
  • volunteer opportunities
  • community service projects

How Does Resident Engagement Increase Retention?

When residents feel engaged, they are more likely to develop a sense of belonging and connection with their community. This emotional attachment reduces the likelihood of them seeking housing alternatives and encourages them to renew their leases. 

Engaged residents often become brand ambassadors as well, speaking positively about their experiences to friends and acquaintances, which can lead to valuable referrals and increased occupancy rates.

Creating a Resident Engagement Plan

From understanding your unique residents to building a marketing plan, a successful resident engagement plan requires careful consideration. 

Here is a comprehensive list of factors to consider before hosting your next resident event. 

  1. Know your audience: The first step in creating an effective resident engagement plan is understanding your audience. What are their interests, needs, and preferences? What types of activities and events are likely to be popular with them? Consider conducting surveys or focus groups to gather feedback and input from residents.
  2. Set clear goals: What are you hoping to achieve through resident engagement? Are you looking to increase resident retention, attract new residents, or build a sense of community? Setting clear goals will help you to develop a plan that is tailored to your community's specific needs and priorities.
  3. Create a budget: Resident engagement efforts can be costly, so it's important to establish a budget for your plan. Consider factors such as event space rental, catering, and marketing expenses when creating your budget.
  4. Identify potential partnerships: Consider partnering with local businesses or organizations to help support your resident engagement efforts. For example, a local gym might be willing to offer discounted memberships to residents, or a restaurant might be willing to provide catering for community events.
  5. Develop a marketing plan: In order to be successful, resident engagement efforts need to be well-promoted. Develop a marketing plan that includes tactics such as email newsletters, social media posts, and announcements to ensure that residents are aware of upcoming events and activities.
  6. Evaluate and adjust: Once your resident engagement plan is in place, it's important to regularly evaluate its effectiveness and make adjustments as needed. Monitor attendance at events, gather feedback from residents, and track your progress toward your goals to ensure that your plan is working as intended.

By considering these factors when developing a resident engagement plan, multifamily community managers can create a plan that is effective, sustainable, and tailored to their specific community's needs.

Best App to Keep Residents Engaged 

Effective communication plays a crucial role in keeping residents informed and involved. 

Utilizing technology such as property management software, online portals, and mobile apps allows for seamless interaction, enabling residents to access important information, submit maintenance requests, and engage in community discussions at their convenience.

However, the challenge lies in avoiding "app fatigue". This occurs when residents are expected to toggle between several apps to interact with their apartment, property, and neighbors around them. 

The goal of LittleBird’s resident app is to create “one-app residents.” 

Instead of asking your residents to log into different platforms to pay rent, request maintenance, RSVP for property events, and use virtual keys, LittleBird Smart Community streamlines everything into one convenient app.

Here’s a closer look at the key features of LittleBird Living: 

  • Events: Increase resident engagement through mobile notifications, app-based RVSP, and payments. 
  • Announcements: The days of ignored emails and discarded fliers are gone. Communicate directly with residents through the app for maximum visibility. 
  • Local offers: Connect residents to local businesses and events. 
  • Community board: A virtual bulletin board where residents can ask questions and connect with their neighbors. 
  • Maintenance requests. Encourage residents to report issues early with a convenient way to submit requests through their smartphones. 
  • Amenities: Let residents learn more about your community's amenities directly through the app. 

With LittleBird Living, property managers can provide a seamless and convenient experience for residents, fostering a stronger sense of engagement and connectivity within the community.

What Does a Resident Engagement Assistant Do?

Since resident engagement is a vital part of property management, many communities hire a resident engagement assistant to facilitate the process.

A resident engagement assistant might be responsible for coordinating events such as holiday parties, fitness classes, or book clubs. They might also organize educational seminars or community service initiatives. 

In addition to planning events, a resident engagement assistant will be responsible for marketing these activities to residents and ensuring they run smoothly.

To be successful in this role, a resident engagement assistant should…

  • have strong communication skills
  • be highly organized
  • be able to work collaboratively with other members of the property management team 
  • have a good understanding of what residents are looking for in terms of engagement opportunities

Final Thoughts… 

  • Resident engagement is the key to increasing resident retention in multifamily properties. 
  • By actively involving residents in community life, property managers can cultivate a strong sense of belonging, foster positive relationships, and ultimately create a thriving living environment. 
  • With the help of modern property management resources and tools, communication and event planning become effortless, further enhancing resident engagement and satisfaction.