7 Qualities of a Great Community Manager
You probably know what a good community manager looks like. They work well with people and are familiar with the ins and outs of HOAs. But a great community manager is the foundation to a thriving community. Great community managers genuinely care about your community, and most importantly, they are supported by an experienced community management company that equips them for success. But how do you know what to look for? Here are seven must-have qualities found in a great community manager:
1. Superior support
Before anything else, a great community manager must be supported by an excellent community management company. This support begins with the hiring process and runs throughout their tenure with your community. The best community management companies provide experienced in-house recruiters that will identify and hire individuals with a service-oriented mindset who are the right fit for your community and your particular needs and pain points. An experienced community management company will also support each community manager with a network of specialists for important roles like financial, IT, and admin. A community manager is not an island, so it’s important to surround them with the tools, resources, and support they need to truly shine.
2. Certification and education
Of course, your community manager should be certified by the state of Nevada. Nevada requires that community managers complete 60 educational hours and take a written test to apply for a community manager certificate. Every two years, managers are also required to take 18 hours of continuing education credits in order to renew their certificate. But a great community manager’s education and growth doesn’t end there. The best community management companies provide resources for ongoing professional development so your community manager can more effectively do their job. For example, FirstService Residential provides in-house training for associates that is based on feedback and real needs from communities. This tactic equips community managers with the advanced knowledge and skill set needed to provide their communities with personalized support.
As the old saying goes, attitude is everything. Your community manager will be dealing with many different personalities, backgrounds and differences of opinion. That’s why having a positive attitude is so crucial. To identify these traits in candidates, it’s important to have a community management company that utilizes specialized, in-house recruiters. With experience in hospitality and service roles, these in-house recruiters have the insights to find a positive, energetic candidate who is the right fit for your community. Additionally, a positive attitude can be cultivated via ongoing support from your community management company. A supportive community management company will establish regular one-on-ones between community managers and senior leadership to help keep them on track, professionally and personally.
Your community manager should be a strong leader who can successfully guide the community and administer policies effectively. Community management companies can help facilitate this by offering opportunities for development and advancement. For example, FirstService Residential offers an Emerging Leaders program designed to further develop top-performing associates. Carli Gilchrist, community training and development manager of FirstService Residential in Nevada said, “We don’t bog down our managers with unnecessary tasks. They are there to be managers, not paper pushers.” That’s why it’s important to hire a community management company with a strong support network. By building in efficiencies and utilizing specialists where needed (e.g., technology, legal, accounting, and HR), community managers can get back to what they do best – managing.
Timely follow-through is vital when it comes to identifying a great community manager. At the end of the day, board members and residents want to ensure that they are heard, so community managers need to respond in a timely manner. A great community management company can help by instituting policies and utilizing technologies that facilitate this responsiveness. For example, FirstService Residential’s policy is to return all communication by the end of the next business day. FirstService Residential also provides a 24-hour customer care center to supplement the community manager’s role after hours. The customer care center is entirely staffed by FirstService Residential associates, and representatives can access each resident’s individual information via in-house technology. This 24/7 support is particularly indispensable to residents in cities like Las Vegas (aka, the city that never sleeps).
What’s one of the biggest complaints that many board members have about community managers? They don’t stick around. That’s why a great community manager will be there for the long haul. One of the keys to retaining great employees is by using a community management company that provides an excellent work/life balance. For example, FirstService Residential ensures that all community managers have small portfolios so that they are not spread too thin. Your community management company should also have an active senior leadership team that works to support community managers and develop leaders. These policies can help mitigate manager burnout and create more stable communities.
7. Exceptional service
When it comes to community management, doing the bare minimum just isn’t enough. To ensure that your community is truly thriving, your community manager should be committed to going the extra mile and delivering truly exceptional service to residents. This is where a strong community management company also comes into play. One example of this is FirstService Residential’s 15 global service standards, which include the values of respect, professionalism and setting clear expectations. Standards like these are what separate a great community manager from a good one.
An experienced HOA management company can help you identify a great community manager, retain them with a solid support network, and continually support them with an engaged and accessible senior leadership team. To learn more, contact FirstService Residential, Nevada’s leader in community association management.