Is Your Community Manager Equipped for Success? 3 Questions to Ask
What are the qualities of a successful community manager? Your community association manager can be a valuable ally in keeping your community or high-rise running efficiently and effectively. But do they have the right tools, resources, and support to provide exceptional service and take your association to the next level?
Find out if they are qualified to give you exceptional service by asking these 3 questions.
1. Does your association manager have the support they need?
Although community managers are the experts of the community, even the best community association managers can’t do everything! In fact, there is inherent risk in relying solely on the manager. For example, what happens when your manager leaves due to a promotion or career change? Having sufficient manager support is important to their success and is the key to delivering exceptional service to your board and residents. It also helps maintain smooth manager transitions in case there is a change in who manages your community. According to Heather Peters, business development director at FirstService Residential, “Good managers are only as capable as the support they have.”
What kind of support should your HOA community manager be getting from their management company?
- Assistance from accounting, purchasing, vendor relations, and financial services specialists
- Guidance and involvement from HR professionals for all personnel matters to ensure that you get the right level of on-site staffing
- Ongoing training to develop and improve management skills, keep up with industry standards, and be informed about regulatory changes
- A 24/7 customer care center that can quickly provide them and your community with needed information allowing the manager to focus on supporting the association and board
- Administrative support
- Technology and communication tools
2. Is your association manager the right fit for your community or building?
Does your management company work with you to ensure that your manager and team are the right fit for your community? Not everyone is a good candidate for a community association manager, and not everyone is a good fit for your community. The best management companies will take both aspects into account when training or recruiting your manager.
What should you be looking for? In addition to the technical expertise and skills that all community managers need, they should also have soft skills, such as emotional intelligence. Because a community manager will be the main point of contact for both board members and residents, it is important that they have exceptional communication skills as well as compassion.
However, you can’t force someone to care. Those who are naturally caring go above and beyond for the people around them as well as in the work they do. Caring community managers take ownership of the communities and buildings they manage and do their best to serve the board and residents to the best of their ability.
Additionally, great managers have a high emotional intelligence quotient (EQ), meaning they have the ability to read and assist people – including members of your association. Their empathy enables them to put themselves in others’ shoes and understand their perspective. Community managers who have a high EQ are also forward-thinking, adaptive, resourceful, hospitality-minded, flexible, self-motivated, and are able to communicate clearly. As a result, they are trusted advisors to your board.
Emotional intelligence should extend to the regional director as well since they can help match up the right manager to each community or building. This requires understanding the personality of the property and choosing a manager whose personality meshes with the board and residents of that community. Even the most stellar manager won’t succeed if they aren’t the right fit.
3. Does your association manager have a clear role and responsibilities?
If a community manager lacks clarity concerning their roles and responsibilities, it can hinder the manager’s ability to be successful and provide exceptional service to the board and residents. Without a 24/7 customer service center or a local support team, community managers may become overwhelmed with everyday tasks instead of partnering with the board on policies and strategic planning.
Furthermore, the residents’ awareness and understanding of an association manager’s role and responsibilities can affect how they perceive their manager. If residents have expectations that are outside a manager’s tasks or responsibilities, even an exceptional manager will not be seen as capable.
Many residents mistakenly believe that the community manager is responsible for setting the policies for the community. Due to this, when residents are unhappy with a policy or rule, they respond by voicing their frustrations and dissatisfaction with the manager. Rather than the manager, the board is responsible for creating policies based on their vision for the community.
On the other hand, some residents do not understand what community managers are responsible for in the community. Do they pressure wash their front walkway or high-rise balcony, or is that the association’s responsibility? Is management responsible for helping with storm preparation or snow removal in their driveways? Your management company should help define associate roles and responsibilities from the beginning and walk new residents through them. This way they will have the right expectations of their management team. It doesn’t hurt to remind long-term residents of those responsibilities from time to time either!
Great management and exceptional service are essential to the harmony of your community or building. To ensure the success of your community or high-rise, you need a manager who is a great fit for your community with the right level of support and personality. Additionally, you need to set the right expectations with residents about the role of management in your community.