Onsite Insites by SatisFacts Research 2015 - 2nd Quarter | Page 4

How Neighbors Can Ruin Your Sense of Community “How many of you are looking forward to hanging out with your neighbors this weekend?” I ask the room, an expectant smile on my face. In L.A., I saw 4 hands raised in a room of 300. In Richmond, I saw 2 hands in a room of 200. In Minneapolis, I saw 2 hands in a room of 150. In Houston, not a single hand was raised. This is just a small sample of the informal polls I’ve been conducting across the country at various conferences and client leadership meetings. And so my question to the room after the poor show of hands is: “Why are we convinced that our residents are any different?” Conventional industry wisdom and decades of budget practices have instilled in each and every one of us that resident events are the cornerstone of retention strategies. Create an environment where residents can get to know their neighbors, become friends, hang out together, and BAM! They stay. They want to live among their “friends.” “Houston, we have a problem.” When asked why a resident is not likely to renew, the number 3 reason is: Neighbors (right behind “Rent Increase” and “Parking”). Number 3! When asked what management could do to improve the community, “Better Residents,” is in the top 10. If you ask a community what percent of residents attend resident events (and stay more than 10 minutes), most communities I’ve polled say around 30%, if that. The Definition of Insanity “Doing the same thing over again and expecting different results.” Resident events as a retention strategy is our industry’s definition of insanity. All data points to the reality that residents don’t like their neighbors and don’t want to spend time with them, and yet we keep hyping events for people to come and meet each other. Make it stop! Jen Piccotti SVP of Education and Consulting SatisFacts ResearchTM Despite everything we’ve learned about residents not being besties with their neighbors, what’s interesting is that “Sense of Community” has the #1 greatest impact on their perception of value received at their community. So, if they don’t want to hang out with their neighbors, but sense of community is critically important, what is a team supposed to do?