Property Manager Duties: How Your Management Company Can Help Make Staff Changes Easier

Managers in suites conducting a meetingSooner or later, most community associations face some kind of management change.  If your community has a great manager, you probably want them to stay forever. But how realistic is that?
 
Here’s the catch-22: A good manager is likely to be ambitious and seek growth opportunities, but if the company promotes them, they will leave your community. On the other hand, if the company doesn’t foster an ambitious manager’s growth, they will seek opportunities elsewhere. Either way, you lose your great manager.
 
Of course, this can be unsettling for your board and residents. Change can be a challenge! However, if your management company has a proven process to transfer property manager duties within the company, it doesn’t have to be.
 
Who keeps the institutional memory?
Changing managers can raise a lot of questions for a community: How long will it take the new manager to get up to speed? Who should residents contact in the interim? How will the association’s finances be maintained? Who will oversee ongoing maintenance, capital improvement projects and other activities? How will our property management record keeping stay up to date?
 
Although boards often view manager turnover as a red mark against their management company, it’s a common occurrence throughout the property management industry. Nevertheless, it’s understandable for board members to worry that when their manager leaves, all the knowledge they’ve acquired about the community will go with them.
 
That doesn’t have to be the case, says Scott Bresnick, vice president of operations at FirstService Residential. “Boards see the value of their management company through their manager,” Bresnick 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 important.” 
 
For example, if the company applies a management team approach, knowledge about your community won’t just reside with one person. A regional director who works closely with your manager will also have a direct relationship with board members and be familiar with your community’s needs, projects and issues. Specialists in accounting, human resources and technology will have insight into your community, too.
 
(To learn more about the value of a management team approach, see our guide, Dream Team: The Key to Exceptional Service.)
 
The company can also make it easier for the management team to share knowledge and stay up to date by implementing a secure technology platform to centralize your association’s information. Whether your current manager leaves or simply takes a day off, another manager can access that information to quickly get up to speed about your community.
 
How can you find the right fit?
When you do need a new manager, how does your management company find that person for your association or building? Again, the regional director is key to the process.
 
When the regional director is in the loop all along, they are better able to select a new manager who will fit the needs and personality of your community. It’s also important for the company to have a standard process for bringing on new managers, as well as the size and depth of resources to recruit and train the best people. This reduces disruption to the community and ensures that you receive the same high level of service no matter who steps in as your new manager. The process should include a consistent method for vetting, onboarding and training managers and for communicating changes to residents.
 
Although boards  are occassionally involved in the final steps of selection process, the right community association management company will have the depth of resources to find the right fit for your community or building. They will know your community well enough to find someone who fits your culture and can also deliver exceptional service to your board. 
 
When your community gets a new manager, the transition process sets the tone for the future success of your community. Change may be inevitable, but when handled properly, it can be a welcomed opportunity to fuel residents’ energy and create a new sense of purpose. And that benefits your entire community.