The condominium industry landscape is always shifting. Market and regulatory pressures mean you need to have property managers in place who can juggle both while meeting the needs of all stakeholders.
There’s no doubt that finding qualified condominium managers can be highly challenging; the introduction of the Protecting Condominium Owners Act has put into place legal requirements for condominium property managers in Ontario to be licensed and to have undergone a minimum level of training and education.
With condominiums accounting for 91% of new homes sold in Toronto in June 2017 alone, leading to an even greater number of available property manager positions, retaining these vital personnel will become even more challenging.
Good property managers are essential for a condominium building to operate efficiently.
They are more than just responsible for the day-to-day operations of a condominium property – which is, in itself, a challenging job. They act as advisors to the condominium board of directors and are also charged with carrying out and enforcing the policies set out.
Condominium property managers’ duties typically include:
A good property manager will be trained in dealing with conflict, which comes in handy when condominium owners find themselves with opposing interests.
They will also handle property inspections and are ultimately responsible for the building and premises being maintained in a good state of repair for safety and to preserve the property’s value.
Condominium fees have to be collected, financial reporting and auditing carefully conducted, and the financial health of the condominium itself needs to be overseen.
Ultimately, it’s the property manager’s job to be a jack-of-all-trades, and they serve a critical function that will make the difference between a healthy, vibrant, and well-run building versus a dysfunctional mess.
As a property management company, finding the right personnel to manage your contracted condominium properties is only half the battle. Given the shortages of qualified people to fill these roles and the competition for their services, you’ll be especially pressured to find ways to retain them.
So how do you retain successful condominium property managers? Apart from salary considerations, there are a number of steps you can take to ensure that you are able to keep them on staff. But they will ultimately boil down to one thing: the company’s culture.
Let’s take a look at some of the elements going into a great corporate culture that will help you retain your successful property manager.
Let’s stop for a moment to examine some statistics:
From these numbers, it’s not hard to see the importance of making employees feel engaged in their work. Culture, in fact, is a leading factor in attracting and retaining top talent.
What, then, goes into a good culture? There are several things that your property management firm can do to keep your staff – and your condominium property managers – engaged.
An employee should have the same feeling walking into their workplace as they do when they return home to their family. This doesn’t happen by itself – it’s vitally important that this type of tone is established by leadership.
Your workforce should be hand selected with a mind towards culture first, not the other way around. Staffing your environment with like-minded people who foster an atmosphere of respect and collegiality will pay enormous dividends down the road.
But ultimately, the top leadership has to lead by example. Taking the time to recognize people, listen to them, and get to know them will give them the sense that the company they work for truly values them.
In a great culture, communications involve more than just the dissemination of policies and procedures. Part of the communications strategy needs to include reinforcing the idea of the culture itself.
It’s important that you are always communicating what you stand for – your values, what is important to you, and that you understand what your employees’ hopes and dreams are. It will convey that you get their challenges, that you trust them, and that you want what is best for them.
Good communications will ultimately lead to a great culture.
At ICC Property Management, we instituted our Dream Foundation program. Simply put, we asked employees to write down and send in their dreams. One is chosen at random and is granted.
This has a dual purpose of making employees feel extremely valued while instilling the idea that dreams can come true. It’s a great way to let your workforce know that they are valued and that you are always looking out for their best interests.
Retaining an experienced condominium property manager isn’t always easy, given the market conditions and pressures today. But the buildings in your portfolio depend on having good management, and it’s an essential part of your own bottom line.
By putting in place best practices for creating an engaging company culture, you’ll go a long way toward retaining your top talent for years to come.
Steven Christodoulou, RCM, is President and CEO of ICC Property Management Ltd.