Worried about what your site staff would say? You might be (pleasantly) surprised.


Even the best student housing site managers are not immune to becoming a “complaint” department and will hear a lot of unpleasant things about their co-workers, employees, department and/or company. Our responsibility lies in the ability to not: 1) dwell on the negatives, and 2) be afraid to really ask the questions which will give us a perspective into the company.

Recently, we made a concerted effort to understand what our employees think and feel about us. This effort not only provides us a benchmark, but to also see where we truly fall short and should expend resources.

What we found out from the survey was actually shocking … in a good way.

  • Over 60% of our employees are interested in growing with us; this is great since we try to promote from within.
  • An overwhelming percentage were:
    • comfortable with their colleagues (85.7%)
    • satisfied in their roles (82.5%)
    • satisfied with their work/life balance (77.1%)
    • believe their suggestions are considered (77.1%), and
    • feel empowered in their position (64.8%).
    • Interactions with others and influencing student’s lives were both favorite aspects of positions while some specific duties (collections, emptying trash, etc.) were the least.
    • Over 25% of our employees are self-motivators (the highest percentage by far in responses).
    • And, the statistic we are most proud of is that 85.4% of our employees would recommend working for us to others! (Lookout Zappos and Google.)

What did we learn we need to modify or change? Those were not so surprising, but also not as low as we anticipated.

  • We need to offer/provide more opportunities for professional development to all employees, not just managers.
  • Our company needs to help our non-profit owners understand the need for increases in specific budget line items, particularly for maintenance and housekeeping education, supplies and tools.
  • Corporate personnel (regionals included) need to be more visible in advocating for the sites. Although the current advocacy could be described as “passionate” in many ways, it is not perceived at the community level as being carried out.

We’ve challenged ourselves to use this survey as a benchmark for the future. We’re concentrating on what we can modify without having the high positive outcomes drop.

We challenge you to survey your employees and do the same! You might be surprised at what you learn and where you can improve.

Can our information be trusted? Although there is always a possibility of skewed information, we made key choices early in the process to help us get the “real” responses. These were:

1) It would be completely anonymous – only a general question about the role within the organization would be asked.
2) All employees would be encouraged and have the opportunity to participate (part-time employees through president).
3) Access to responses would be limited to one or two individuals, with summary analyses provided to additional individuals.
4) Questions would not be limited to only areas where we felt we excelled.
5) An additional choice we made was to utilize online software to conduct the survey. This presented a few challenges since many employees are not computer savvy, have literacy issues and/or speak languages other than English. Additional survey means (paper, translators, verbal, etc.), were made available and used as needed.

To request a copy of our survey questions, fill out form below.

Please send a copy of the survey questions.