As a profession, community association management is relatively young; it goes back about 50 years. But in that short time, it has made great strides—and so have the communities who have benefited from professional, skilled community association management teams.
But what does the future hold for this profession, and how will it influence how community members live? The trade organization Community Associations Institute (CAI) put their publication, Common Ground
, to work to find some answers to this question. They brought together industry experts to weigh in on the matter. FirstService Residential has also been at the forefront of looking to the future in this growing industry.
“Community association management is a dynamic field,” said Michael Mendillo, East Region President – FirstService Residential. “As our industry grows, so do the parameters of what makes a qualified management team. It’s important to not only respond to changing needs, but to anticipate them.”
With that said, here are three areas of focus for the community association management industry.
1. Industry awareness
As a whole, there is very little knowledge of what community managers do. Worse still, many board members aren’t familiar with the benefits of partnering with a professional, experienced management company – enhancing property values, streamlining operations, enforcing policies, and maximizing efficiencies. This profession is at the heart of a well-run community, and many homeowners and residents could be better served with a proactive business partnership with a community management company.
As awareness of the industry increases, it’s not only good for boards and homeowners, but it’s great for community managers, too. With a greater demand for excellent managers, the profession and industry will become more competitive.
2. Professional education
This is an industry that’s already rich in certifications, but there’s more to be done. As the demands on community management become greater, so is the need to become more educated.
To accommodate the rapidly growing industry, community management companies will need to offer continuing education and training programs similar to FirstService Residential’s School of Professional Development. Through this internal program, associates complete online courses and instructor-led webinars designed to advance skills and knowledge, enhance service delivery and further personal career goals.
Consider the value of a management team with an ongoing education – that level of expertise would be a true asset to any community.
3. Emerging talent
As the popularity of common-interest communities continues to grow, so will the demand for highly skilled community managers. Current openings are being filled by experienced professionals, but as they progress in their careers (and reach retirement), a new generation of management professionals will be required to fill the burgeoning need. That makes recruiting and training new managers more important than ever.
These individuals must combine a breadth of expertise, including knowledge of local laws and regulations, astute business sense, strong organizational capabilities, and exceptional people skills.
But that’s not the whole story. Management companies will also need to recruit subject-matter experts to support these community managers. This includes professionals in the accounting, legal, and project management fields, to name just a few.
“A solid community manager must have a wealth of knowledge in various disciplines, but sometimes it is necessary to bring in an expert to best serve the community association,” says Michael Mendillo. “That’s what sets a good management company apart from an excellent management company.”
The industry continues to grow and change. But with the right planning, we can fulfill this demand – and create more happy communities (and residents!) in the process. For more information about community association management, contact FirstService Residential
, North America’s leading residential community management company.