February 11, 2019

Hiring and Retaining Good Self-Storage Talent

It’s no secret that it’s notoriously difficult to hire and retain good talent for self-storage facilities. Unless you’re a ‘big gun’ you’re likely running on limited staff. You don’t have an entire HR department to handle hiring and retention at your facility (or facilities). In self-storage, as in every business, success is often dependent upon your people. Having good, talented people is what makes your facility memorable. So where are all the good ones hiding, and how do you keep them around? We’ve partnered with a talent marketing agency, to share what you need to know about hiring and retaining talent at your self-storage facility.

Where did all the good ones go?

“People are not your most important asset. The right people are.” – Jim Collins

Finding the right talent for your self-storage facility depends on several factors. If you are looking for someone with industry-specific experience you’ll want to promote your opportunity on a job board specific to self-storage such as https://www.selfstoragejobs.com/. According to Stacey Shaw, an industry expert, if you need to cast a wider net, post on popular general job boards like Indeed.com and ZipRecruiter. Placing a self-storage job on these sites will increase traffic and candidate interest as long as the job postings are well written.

So, what goes into a well-written job posting? One key component is the acrostic, WIIFM, which stands for ‘What’s In It For Me’. A WIIFM statement is the hook of your opportunity, it shares why the candidate should choose your facility for their next career move. That could be anything from a particular benefit you offer to a unique company culture. To reach your audience a self-storage owner will want to keep job postings detailed, but brief. Simple and straightforward; start with an overview of the position and its requirements, next, share a little about your company, and don’t forget to include the ‘WIIFM’ statement. That’s it. Indeed reports a 30% increase in applications for postings with descriptions in the 700-2,000-character range, so clarity and brevity are key.

Another source of qualified candidates you may want to consider is those working in the retail industry. Retail managers have dealt with a similar workload as a self-storage manager might experience. Retail traffic mirrors the kind of workload a self-storage owner might experience making them a compatible fit.

How do I get them to stay?

According to Stacey, hiring the right fit for the company culture is the best way to help improve retention rates. Skills and previous knowledge are extremely important but if you do not believe the candidate will be a good culture fit, you should keep looking. But after you’ve found that unicorn candidate how do you keep them around? Retention was one of the hottest topics at last year’s ISS Expo. And it really comes down to three things:

  1. Living up to expectations – Have you delivered on the promises made in the interview? It’s important to meet the expectations you have set.
  2. Providing positive communication and ongoing training – Consistent communication and feedback are important in the training process.
  3. Take care of them – Happy employees have work/life balance, feel appreciated, and have a sense of belonging. As an employer, you can’t force them to enjoy their job, but you can make certain changes that give them the best opportunity.

How do I make them happy?

There are 7 specific things you can do to help improve your employee experience:

  1. Make hard discussions easier – Having a standard set of responses your staff can make a positive impact on the stress of their jobs. Provide a list of acceptable terms to use when talking about taboo topics
  2. Help them optimize their productivity – Self-Storage facilities take a lot of work to run. There are always many tasks. Teach them time management habits that will bleed into their personal lives like these 6 recommendations from ISS and 7 from selfstorage.com to keep your team running in top form.
  3. Give them good software – Get feedback from current employees on the software they are using now. If it’s making their jobs more difficult, it may be time to start shopping. But before making a decision on new updates or upgrades you’ll want to make sure you cover all the angles.
  4. Partner with good vendors – Vendors that don’t deliver on their promises makes your team look bad too. Partnering with reliable companies like TPP and Janus Security can help make your team look like the hero.
  5. Train them well and continuously – Training your employees shouldn’t end after the first few weeks on the job. Offering an ongoing training program helps keep your team fresh and promotes their professional development.
  6. Promote teamwork – Self-storage teams are, by necessity, smaller teams. That means each team member needs to be able to work together seamlessly. A few ways to promote teamwork (besides those awkward team-building exercises) is to let managers delegate, encourage them to work together and seek support from each other, and be willing to listen to feedback and implement changes when able to.
  7. Offer the right benefits – this may be the most obvious or talked about way to make your team happy, and we would be remiss to leave it out. Offering things like healthcare, PTO, and fair compensation can make a difference for your team.

What do I do when they leave?

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your team members leave. The best thing to do when that happens is to know exactly why they’re leaving. There are a couple of ways to do this according to our expert, Stacey Shaw. The first is to perform an exit interview to learn the reasons being cited by for leaving. The second resource for past employee grievances is to review your company reviews on Glassdoor and Indeed. Many of these individuals are pinpointing the issues they experience – bad pay, bad management, etc. all of which is valuable information to direct your efforts.


Here at Tenant Property Protection, we know that good managers are good for self-storage facilities. They fill vacancies, they sell boxes and packing tape and protection plans. They’re good for your business and good for ours. Good managers understand the benefits of our Protection Plans and can speak to the importance. They also know how to tell new tenants what measures they should think about to keep their property safe in their unit. The bottom line is, quality hires for your facility are good for the whole industry (but especially for you!)