Risky Business: Texas Staffing for Your High-Rise or HOA
Is your association an “employer” according to Texas staffing laws?Texas Labor Code** defines “employer” as a person who has one or more employees or other individuals who perform services under a contract of hire or service, whether expressed or implied, or oral or written. That means condo owners associations (COAs) – including managed high-rises – and homeowners associations (HOAs) are subject to the same laws and mandates as other Texas businesses, regardless of size. Especially if your association has more than one employee, you need to ensure each is properly recruited, onboarded, and managed to foster a harmonious work environment.
Do you have the right Texas staffing support within your high-rise or HOA?A reliable management company has a team of HR professionals with the expertise to attract, train, and retain top talent for your community. Your Texas HR team should also serve as a valuable resource to your board members, providing hands-on support in resolving day-to-day personnel issues that may arise.
According to FirstService Residential HR Director Michelle Schwartz,
“Should any of your board members encounter any concerns or issues with an employee, we highly recommend that they communicate their feedback to the community manager who will work with their HR specialist. This will ensure that the matter is handled efficiently and effectively and that the appropriate steps are taken to address the situation in a timely manner.”
Avoid these common staffing mistakes in Texas.It’s crucial to be aware of the numerous liability risks involved before hiring new staff members for your association. For instance, to establish a rapport with interviewees, you might innocently ask personal questions like, "Do you have kids?" or "Are you married?" However, you may not realize that asking these types of questions is a major legal misstep.
Take the necessary steps today to avoid these Texas staffing mistakes and protect your association in the long run. Your management company’s HR team should have experienced recruiters who are ready to handle interviews, ask the right questions, and find the perfect candidate. Moreover, an experienced HR department at a management company should have an extensive understanding of the association management industry and the specific types of individuals who perform exceptionally well in community association jobs.
Staffing the best employees for your Texas association.By working collaboratively with your association management company’s HR department, you can ensure that your community is staffed with the best and brightest employees who will help make your community a great place to live.
Here are the steps your management company’s Texas HR team takes:
- The HR pros will meet with you and your fellow board members to get a sense of your community’s unique needs. This way, they can carefully consider each new hire’s personality, experience, and qualifications before placing them in the right location.
- They will work closely with your community managers to ensure that you have the right number of staff members with the right skills. This means that you won’t be understaffed during busy periods, and you won’t be paying for staff that you don’t really need during quieter ones.
- They can offer training sessions on interviewing, hiring, and keeping track of your candidate database. This will ensure that your community is attracting and retaining top talent.
- An HR team can also transfer and onboard associates from any acquired properties, ensuring that your new staff members are fully integrated into your team.
HR support in Texas goes beyond staffing new hires.In addition to recruiters, a management company’s dedicated Texas HR department should consist of HR generalists, benefits specialists, and trainers who can provide guidance to new and existing team members. Your new employees should feel fully equipped to excel in their role, which is why it's so important to have in-house HR support from your management company instead of relying solely on a third-party agency.
When you entrust a management company with HR and staffing in Texas, they hold all legal liability. This means board members cannot intervene directly with an employee on any human resources-related matters – this is where your HR team comes in. With the right team of experienced professionals on your side for Texas staffing, your management company can help navigate any sensitive situations and keep your association running smoothly.
How should your COA or HOA board deal with employee-related issues?"If one of your board members has an issue with an employee, it’s best to bring it to the attention of the community manager,” explains FirstService Residential HR Director Michelle Schwartz.
When dealing with any employee-related situation, the best course of action to take is to consult with your community manager. It may be tempting to handle the issue yourself or with the help of fellow board members, but doing so could violate Texas HR laws, resulting in fines, penalties, and even litigation expenses.
One thing to keep in mind is that many community management companies don't have in-house recruiters or HR specialists. Even if they do, those HR associates may only be tasked with certain jobs like payroll and hiring. This tactic leaves your COA or HOA vulnerable because technically, your association is the employer in these situations. That means your COA or HOA is responsible if the management company mishandles an employee issue.
To avoid costly litigation, it's crucial for your association to be covered in all kinds of HR scenarios, beyond just recruitment. This includes having proper procedures in place to address conflicts and ensure the fair treatment of employees. By staying proactive and working collaboratively with your community manager, you can help your association stay out of legal trouble and maintain a healthy workplace culture.
In it for the long-haul: HR support shouldn’t be an afterthought.As board members, you know that there are plenty of legal ramifications to consider under Texas HR law. How does this impact staffing for Texas associations like yours? Without proper support and guidance on how to deal with employee issues, you risk losing valuable employees.
That's where a robust and dedicated HR department comes in. HR pros will be able to find and hire the most competent and talented individuals for your team, but they'll also be invested in their growth and development for the long haul. After all, a well-trained and empowered team is key to the success of any organization.
It's important to make sure your HR department isn't just an afterthought - they should be an integral part of your team, working actively and collaboratively to make sure your staff feels supported, trained, and ready to tackle any challenge that comes their way. By doing so, you can feel confident in your team's abilities and focus on other important aspects of running your association.
Ask the right questions to protect your association.Whether you're in the process of looking for a new management company, reviewing your current management company's HR team performance, or just have general questions about Texas staffing, you need to ask the right questions to ensure you’re getting the best possible support.
To make this easier, we've put together a comprehensive checklist of eight key questions to ask prospective management companies or your current community manager. Of course, this is just a starting point - your association's needs may vary, so be sure to customize these questions as necessary.
Download your checklist: here are the 8 questions you should be asking about Texas staffing.
Click HERE to open the Checklist: 8 Questions to Make Sure Your Association is Protected.By taking the time to dig deeper, you can ensure that your association is protected and that you have a dedicated HR team on your side.
Disclaimer: This article is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
* See Texas Human Resources Management Statutes Inventory.
** See Texas Labor Code Sec. 103.002.
FirstService Residential is simplifying property management.Our FirstService Residential Texas family enjoys peace of mind knowing they’re in good hands. They can count on our 24/7 customer service for tailored solutions that take the balancing act out of property management. And our service-first philosophy means we don’t stop until what’s complicated becomes uncomplicated. To make life, simplified.
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