Out with the old, in with the new!
As ApartmentRatings transitions to the use of a new and more robust metric, the epIQ Index, to measure the resident experience and management performance, it will replace the Recommend Score on the website’s community pages as well as in the EXCHANGE reporting platform. The Recommend Score will remain in reports in EXCHANGE as the epIQ Index reports are added, however, the Recommend Score will eventually be removed, at which time only the detailed epIQ Index reports will remain.
We recognize and appreciate that many property management companies have been using the Recommend Score as a Key Performance Indicator for years when reporting to upper management and to measure their team’s performance – often depending on this metric to aid in the decision making process when it comes to employee bonuses, wage increases, promotions, and other merit-based rewards. In this article, we will explain the benefits of the epIQ Index Vs. the Recommend Score, how you can easily transition from using the old metric to the new one, and when you can expect the epIQ Index to completely replace the Recommend Score.
The epIQ Index is a superior performance metric to the Recommend Score
While the Recommend Score is a good indicator of whether or not an ApartmentRatings reviewer would encourage other renters to choose a given community as their own home, the metric does not provide any actionable insights into why – making it a rather ambiguous and binary metric. Without the ability to determine context, the Recommend Score falls a bit short of being able to drill down into the details and create a strategic action plan that you and your team members can execute effectively. On the other hand, the epIQ Index was designed to not only provide a single top-level, easily understood, letter grade, but also provides the granular transparency to see exactly why and how that top-level breaks down across specific “epIQ Categories” that renters identified as most representative of their living experience and influence their leasing decision.
Let’s look at an example…
This community had a Recommend Score of 76%, but has since transitioned to using the epIQ Index and has an epIQ Grade of “B-”. While a letter grade Vs. a percentage may seem equally useful, the difference is that with the Recommend Score you have only the percentage (76%) and that’s it, whereas with the epIQ Index letter grade, you can now look at each variable that contributes to the calculation of that letter grade. As seen in the image of the upcoming epIQ Index reports in EXCHANGE (below), the epIQ Categories and their corresponding performance are as follows:
- Renter Ratings: B (4.3 / 5.0)
- Review Count: A (8.88k)
- Manager Review Engagement: B (56.41%)
- Manger Review Reply Time: D (888 days)
You will also notice that the report provides the community’s epIQ Rank as well as portfolio averages for each of the epIQ Categories, which provides a number of excellent benchmarks for you and your organization. The report shows all of the information available to a renter visiting a community’s ApartmentRatings page, but also provides additional details designed to help management companies present performance trends and progress reports to members of upper management.
This is where you can easily see the power and depth that the epIQ Index offers, that the Recommend Score lacks. By digging into the epIQ Categorical performance you are now able to identify a community’s areas of opportunity and, from that, build an action plan to improve those areas in need of more attention. Just as you see this report for an individual community, we will also have an identical report for a management company’s entire portfolio. This means that you can measure your onsite team’s performance using the community level reports and regional and/or corporate team’s performance using the portfolio level. Another benefit of the epIQ Index is that it is updated daily, which means that the actions your team takes to improve their performance will be seen the very next day.
How do I use the epIQ Index to determine employee bonuses, raises, promotions, etc?
Since the epIQ Index provides a lot of flexibility, there are a number of ways that you can use it to determine merit-based performance incentives for your employees throughout the entire organization.
Again, if we look at the sample report (above), you can clearly see that the greatest areas of opportunity for this community lie with the Renter Ratings (B = 4.3 / 5.0), Manager Review Engagement (B+ = 56.41%), and Manager Review Reply Time (D = 888 days). The person responsible for tracking onsite performance would be wise to set goals for their onsite employees for each epIQ Category. A bonus could be structured based on which of those goals were achieved in a given time period. For example, a Regional Manager could set the following 12 month goals for onsite management:
- Improve Renter Ratings from 4.3 to 4.5 by asking (without incentivizing) residents to leave a review on ApartmentRatings
- Maintain an A grade in the Review Count category
- Improve Manager Review Engagement from 56.41% to above 90.00% by replying to the reviews without manager responses
- Improve Manager Review Reply Time from 888 days to less than 50 days by responding to new and modified reviews shortly after they are posted or updated.
The onsite employee bonus could be structured as such that they get a smaller bonus for each of the goals laid out in the action plan. If you prefer to use a more simplified way of determining bonus eligibility, you could choose to create a goal to improve the community’s top-level epIQ Grade and/or rank by a specific amount. This model can be replicated for regional and corporate employees using the same methodology, but looking at portfolio level metrics rather than a specific community’s.
When will the epIQ Index Reports be available in EXCHANGE?
The epIQ Index reports will be made available in the EXCHANGE platform next month. By that time, all communities on the ApartmentRatings website will have transitioned to displaying the epIQ Index. As the epIQ Reports are introduced into EXCHANGE, the presence of the Recommend Score on the website and in EXCHANGE reports will begin to diminish.
Many clients are already using the epIQ Index to measure and celebrate their community & portfolio level success. We have seen many management companies, as well as individual communities, share their success stories via social media posts, press releases, blogs, emails, etc.
Need more information or have questions?
If you would like to know more about the epIQ Index and how you can put it to work for you and your team, please reach out to your dedicated ApartmentRatings & SatisFacts Salesperson or contact us here!