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For a condominium corporation, great communication relies on an open exchange of information, thoughts and ideas among residents, board members and your property management company. When communication is done well, you can get the answers you need, tackle challenges and strengthen community spirit. Done poorly, however, and it’s a recipe for chaos.
The right tools can make all the difference in the effectiveness of your communication. Different circumstances may require different forms of communications, so it helps to work with a property management company that can offer the right mix to your condominium corporation.

So what goes into that mix? Let’s take a look.
Updated contact information
Your condo board should have a simple process in place to keep all contact information up to date. Be sure you collect more than just a physical mailing address. You’ll also want to have a current email address to help you reach residents more efficiently and a phone number so you can deliver urgent messages. Keeping your database up to date with current contact information can prevent communication breakdowns down the road.
Include a notice in your newsletters or on your community website regularly to remind residents to update their information. You can also remind them at community events and meetings. Make sure you task someone on your board – or on your management team – with keeping this database current.

Define the proper communication channels.
Living in a condominium community sometimes means that neighbor-to-neighbor issues occur. Encourage residents to try to resolve matters directly with each other firstrespectfully, of course. This will help build community ties and reduce the burden on your board or management company.
Educate your residents about which types of disputes the board can address – like noise, pet and aesthetic issues. For matters that become escalated, mediation may be an option. The Alberta Condominium Property Act allows residents to use mediation and arbitration to resolve issues as long as both parties agree. Unless your bylaws specifically require the use of mediation, the decision to go this route is completely voluntary.
When it comes to criminal activity, such as break-ins, theft or other matters, residents should first call local law enforcement. Police can then determine if the situation warrants also contacting a board member or your management company.

Create social committees.
Your board should create a committee tasked with conceptualizing, promoting and executing social events. Committee members work with the board to achieve the condo corporation’s objectives. Their communication efforts will largely encompass generating interest and attendance in events through newsletters, website updates, flyers and email blasts. They should work closely with your designated social media coordinator or committee to attract interest through those channels, too.

Use social media – wisely.
Social media can be an incredibly effective tool, but if not managed appropriately, it can also be rife with pitfalls. Here are some tips for using it well:
  • Create a social media strategy, and define the objectives of that strategy.
  • Choose your communication channels carefully.
  • Leverage the latest technology.
  • Build your followers strategically.
  • Create a solid social media policy.
  • Assign social media responsibilities to a single party (such as a social media coordinator or committee)
You can find more details on using social media successfully in this article.

Consider getting help from a property management company.
The right property management company can help you plan and execute an all-of-the-above communication strategy – and then some. Make sure the strategy includes a way for board members and residents to contact the management company’s customer call center 24/7, an alert service in case of emergencies, surveys that invite resident feedback for improvement and tech-forward solutions. (Read this article about the ways your property management company should be communicating with your condo corporation.)
FirstService Residential Connect™ is an example of an effective online community management and communications tool. One particular service that residents get with FirstService Residential Connect is a resident alert system that delivers real-time urgent or emergency alerts to residents via phone and email.
You can’t underestimate the importance of good communication among your board, your residents and your property management company. By implementing the strategies you see here, you’ll be on your way toward better communication – but that’s just the beginning. For more ideas and insight, contact FirstService Residential, Alberta’s property management leader.
Monday January 23, 2017