As a first-time attendee of the National Apartment Associations, Apartmentalize Conference, June in San Diego was an exciting experience. Being on the West Coast certainly has a different vibe than being here in the Midwest. The immense scale of the event, which was held in the San Diego Convention Center, was quite impressive. The tradeshow floor made up almost the entire ground floor of the Convention Center with the second floor dedicated to training sessions.
Being a member of the Training and Compliance Team at J.C. Hart, I gravitated toward the L&D training sessions. There were some themes and trends that quickly emerged across these sessions. The large focus on Associate engagement and retention through Training and Development opportunities beginning at orientation. Company Culture and work-life balance being incredibly important to be competitive in this job market. The desire for Associates to have clear lines of sight in how they can grow within a company and having programs in place to support that such as Leadership Development, Mentoring and Job Rotations.
I was able to connect with some attendees from other Management Companies in different markets at a session on the importance of Associate Onboarding and Orientation to talk about the tools and strategies we use to track our success. As it turns out, not to toot our own horn, we’ve already implemented many of the suggestions that the speakers had. I think the biggest take-away from that session was just how large of a percentage of the workforce is made up of Millennials and Gen-Z and what is most important to them is work-life balance and autonomy with clear expectations and ongoing, meaningful feedback.
One of the things that I enjoyed best was the opportunity to get to meet some of our Partners in person after not being able to meet face to face for the past two years. It was so nice to get to be with people and build on the existing relationships while also making new ones. In addition to seeing them on the tradeshow floor, there were several networking events. What was readily apparent is that the NAA and our industry partners know how to create an enjoyable experience, and I feel lucky to be a part of an industry that is so focused on fostering strong relationships through work and fun.