During the Spring of 2019, SSA and eTest partnered to develop a survey targeting the current status of hiring and retention in the self storage industry. Data was collected from nearly 500 participants of which approximately 20% were facility managers, 25% were facility owner operators, 23% were multiple owner‑operators and over 15% were either regional or national companies.
Q1 YOUR POSITION TITLE
A majority of respondents (nearly 60%) had 10 or more years tenure in the industry. Another 30% had 2 to 10 years of industry experience. Consequently, this survey represented well‑seasoned industry professionals.
Q2: HOW LONG HAVE YOU WORKED IN SELF STORAGE (IN ANY POSITION)?
We hear every day on TV that the employment market is very tight and unemployment is at historical lows. While it is a competitive market, the data from this survey suggests that employment is stable and tenure is good. The vast majority (85%) of respondents indicated that tenure was about the same or had gotten somewhat better over the past few years and only 13% indicated that tenure had gotten worse.
Q4: OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS, HAS THEIR TENURE GOTTEN BETTER OR WORSE?
When asked about the reasons for turnover, half of the respondents cited the turnover happened for good reasons either because the person moved on to a better job or the employee retired. However, approximately 25% did indicate that a bad hire was the reason for turnover. Therefore, hiring practices continue to be an important part of making sure employees are hired effectively and are retained.
Q5: WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE THE REASONS FOR TURNOVER?
As a result of a tight job market, pay has increased over the past year. Over 60% of the respondents indicated that salaries have gone up.
Q9: HAS PAY GONE UP, DOWN OR STAYED THE SAME COMPARED TO LAST YEAR?
In addition, when asked if finding good facility managers was easier or more difficult, nearly 50% responded more difficult and only about 5% suggested that they found hiring easy.
Q12: HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO FIND GOOD QUALITY FACILITY MANAGERS?
Q13: HAS IT GOTTEN MORE OR LESS DIFFICULT TO RECRUIT QUALITY FACILITY MANAGERS OVER THE PAST YEAR?
Once employed, 70% indicate that they have a consistent new employee orientation process as well a good process for performance reviews.
Q15:DO YOU HAVE A CONSISTENT NEW EMPLOYEE ORIENTATION PROCESS?
Q18: DO YOU HAVE A PERFORMANCE REVIEW PROCESS?
Finally, when asked about the greatest industry challenges at this point in time, the top four include hiring, retention, managing costs, and maintaining high rates of occupancy.
Q19: WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST INDUSTRY CHALLENGES?
This survey suggests that recruiting, hiring, and retention remain a core competency for success in the self storage industry. While turnover in this sample was relatively low, the survey also suggests that when companies need to hire, there are significant challenges due to a tight employment market and increasing salaries. Bad hires account for approximately 25% of turnover, and this is obviously an area which needs continued attention. Proper pre‑screening of candidates, multiple interviews utilizing structured behavioral questions, effective reference checking, and the use of pre‑employment testing can all add to greater success in the hiring process.