Silicon Valley is infamous for their tech startups. Not only are thousands of new and exciting companies popping up everywhere, they are well funded by venture capitalists and private equity. With vast amounts of money and an expectation to grow incredibly fast, these startups are desperate for qualified talent (or in many cases, any talent at all).
Beyond the more traditional benefits like high salaries, insurance packages, profit sharing and 401k matching, companies have gone to increasingly greater lengths to attract the top people, with such unusual perks as gourmet chefs, pool tables, climbing walls, massages, nap pods and more.
For management companies, operating on razor thin profit margins, such perks must seem like the peak of excess. And yet, the Community Association Management industry is facing a similar employment crisis, with the number of available jobs exceeding the number of qualified managers who are available. And the coming years will only serve to widen this gap, as the large percentage of Baby Boomers in CAM management retire from the business.
So if you can't afford to add a slide to your next remodel budget, or if company-provided daycare seems out of the question, how can you attract and retain top talent in community association management?
Finding Qualified CAM Professionals
- Recruitment - Recruiting is the first and most obvious way to search for and hire CAM Managers. We've talked before in this blog about how you can find qualified talent through a combination of industry specific organizations, specific keywords in your recruitment message, and social media.
- Fishing - Some management organizations lure qualified managers from their competition, although you may find that talent gained this way is harder to hold on to in the long run, as they are just as likely to leave you for the next high offer they get from another competitor.
- Home-Grown - Or consider growing your own talent. The secret to finding a potentially great CAM Manager is knowing what traits to look for, and catering to their needs.
Your Ideal Candidate is Under Your Nose
Nobody ever said as a kid, "I want to be a property manager when I grow up!" In fact, most people in the CAM Management industry stumbled into the field by accident.
A quick, unscientific survey around at a recent industry conference revealed that many CAM professionals started out on the board of their own community. Many of these ladies (and yes, CAM Management is a majority female profession) came to CAM Management as a second career after their kids have started school and they no longer needed to be a full-time stay-at-home mom.
Think about it - managing a community takes a unique blend of talents that moms tend to have in spades:
- Time Management (getting all your kids dressed, fed and on the bus in time for school)
- Organizational skills (for obvious reasons)
- Communication skills (because I said so!)
- Caregiving (kissing boo boos and soothing crocodile tears)
These talents just happen to be the very same skills that make an amazing community association manager.
- Making sure that all is set up in time for the monthly board meeting? Check - Time Management.
- Juggling the demands of homeowners, board members and vendors? Check - Organization.
- Answering every question the board throws at you without breaking a sweat? Check - Communication.
- Making sure community members feel like their concerns are being heard and addressed? Check - Caregiving.
Now that you know more about your ideal candidate, you can craft the ideal job for her. One with perks that appeal to her specific unique needs. Because what good would a pool table have done anyway? (Although a nap room is soo appealing!)
Here are some examples of perks you can easily add that will appeal to this candidate:
- Flexible Hours: This one is HUGE for the mom who needs to be able to drive her kid to practice or attend a recital at the drop of a hat (because no kid ever remembers to tell mom about these things ahead of time - or am I just projecting my own kid?).
- Work-From-Home Opportunities: Obviously managers will need to spend a lot of time in the community, and some time in the office, but there are still plenty of opportunities to work from home, particularly if your management software is web-based.
- OTJ Training and Mentorship: Nobody likes to feel unprepared, particularly someone who is accustomed to having control over her world. Offering training, access to classes and certifications, and mentorship will go a long way to making your new hire feel more confident in her new job (and avoid an early burnout!)
- Family-Friendly Culture: Sometimes it's the intangibles that are most appealing to a potential new hire. Emphasize the family-friendly aspects of your culture, like Take your Kids to Work Day, summer internships for the teens, company picnics and social events for the whole family. Showcase how the company is filled with others like her, where she will not just be welcomed, but will immediately fit in.
where to Advertise
If you are a management company with a portfolio of communities, your ideal candidate is almost certainly right under your nose! She's a homeowner in one of the communities you manage, and she's probably already active in her community.
Moms are advocates. She'll get involved in anything that can better the lives of her family - the PTA, Cub Scouts, Brownies, church groups, etc. And there is no greater opportunity to advocate for her children than in her own community, so you will often find stay-at-home moms taking an active role in the community, whether it's serving on a committee, on the board, or just volunteering to help at community events.
So when you're looking for good talent, ask your boards if you can advertise your job opening in the community newsletter, website, or Facebook page (pay a reasonable advertising fee to avoid any conflict of interest). Or send out your own company newsletter or email blast to your clients and include your job posting.
With the right ad posted in the right location and a little bit of luck, you are bound to find the best candidate for community association management. Training and mentorship may seem more difficult to get a new employee up to speed, but the payoff is well worth it - an employee who is perfectly suited to the job, not just as a temporary job, but as a second career, can embrace that position and be a fixture for many years ahead in your organization.
Have you tried any of the above tips to find great candidates? Do you have a great suggestion on how to attract talent? Don't keep it to yourself! Share your story in the comments below: