Strata Management Transitions: Smooth Staff Changes

Sooner or later, most community corporations face staff changes. If your community has a great manager, you probably want them to stay forever. But how realistic is that? 
 
If your beloved strata manager is an ambitious and high-performing individual, they may seek growth opportunities within a company that prides itself on training and upward mobility. This means they are more likely to be promoted and would need to leave your community.
 
This can be unsettling for councils and residents alike — change brings challenge! However, if your management company has a proven process that internally transfers strata manager duties with ease, it doesn't have to be. 
 

Who keeps the institutional memory?

Changing managers raises a lot of questions: Was there adequate onboard transition period with the previous manager? How long will it take our new manager to get up to speed? How will our new manager learn everything our old manager knew? Is there critical work that needs to be prioritized? Will this transition affect any upcoming council/annual general meetings? Who do residents contact in the interim? How will finances and records be maintained? Who will oversee ongoing activities and capital improvement projects? 
 
It’s important to understand that transitioning manager duties is a common industry practice for strata management companies. Change can also be a great thing for your community! Although councils may view manager turnover as a strike against their management company, it doesn’t have to be!
 
That doesn't have to be the case, says Phil Swaile, vice president of operations and strategy at FirstService Residential. "Councils see the value of their management company through their manager," Swaile explains. "Of course, the relationship with their manager is a key piece. But the broader support that both your manager and your community get from the company is just as, if not more, important."  
 
A regional director who works closely with your manager will also have a relationship with the council and work closely with the management company’s client accounting, technology, administrative and customer care departments. This means they are very familiar with your community’s needs and projects, and will make sure everything stays on track while your new manager gets settled in. That's the "dream team" approach!
 
 
A good strata management company should also provide your community with answers and peace of mind during this transition process via a strong support system that includes:
 
  • Accounting team
  • Community support teams
  • Operations leadership team
  • Specialized admin team
  • 24/7 Customer Care Centre
 
To learn more about the value of an ideal management team approach, see our guide, Dream Team: The Key to Exceptional Service.
 
A company can also make it easier for management teams to communicate by using a secure technology platform to centralize residents’ accounts and financial information. This way, even when your current manager isn't available, you will have a team of equally informed associates at your service to keep your community running like a well-oiled machine. 
 

How can you find the right fit? 

When you need a new manager, how does your management company find the best candidate for your community? Again, it's all about having a "dream team" led by the regional director, backed by trained experts and supported by the management company’s resources. 
 
When the regional director stays in the loop from beginning to end, they really know your community's expectations and personality and can match you with the ideal manager. A key component is having a regional director that can also understand the nuances in the relationships of the community.
 
Great management companies have consistent onboarding procedures for managers, extensive resources to train managers and develop their skills and a communications strategy to keep residents, vendors and other stakeholders informed. Training resources, such as online courses, hands-on training and mentorship programs, are advantageous for managers to familiarize themselves with the company and gain extensive knowledge and insight from experts in their position. This method alone can reduce community disruption and ensure you receive the same level of exceptional service regardless of who your strata manager is.
 

Mass Communication

 
Effective communication is essential, especially when a key member of your strata staff changes. A good strata management company should keep you in the loop during this process. It’s important to advise your community on staff changes through mass communication channels. Keeping residents informed through various platforms ensures a better chance of the message reaching them. Once a new manager is selected, schedule a virtual meet and greet for residents to meet their new manager and get acquainted. Utilize these channels to communicate the staff transition process from start to finish:
  • Community website
  • Email
  • Text Message
  • Virtual Conferences
  • Community information/message boards
  • Community social media networks (if there are any)
 
When your corporation  is in search of a new manager, the transition of strata duties sets the tone for the future success of your community and the ongoing relationship with your management company. Hiring a new manager who has the right expertise and skill set can positively influence your community. It’s important to remember that a fresh perspective can also bring a lot of value to your community and residents.
 
Change may be inevitable, but when handled properly, it can be a welcomed opportunity that revitalizes residents' energy and builds a new sense of purpose that will benefit your entire community.