Your co-op, condo or HOA building may be your home, but to many others, it's a workplace. Whether they’re managing a small, tight-knit walk-up building in Jersey City or a sprawling condo development in Fort Lee, property managers handle a wide array of tasks from the physical to the administrative.
While many of these jobs can be described in concrete terms, (send out monthly bills, attend meetings, file paperwork) one important component of the work is less easy to pin down: The actual management of people; specifically building staff members. A manager might just have to coordinate operations with a single superintendent, or work with any number of doormen, porters, custodians, and amenity-related staff (such as fitness center attendants, for example), depending on the size and nature of the community. Even a great manager may not be an expert in human resources management but it’s an incredibly important piece of their job, and if done well, the entire community will run more smoothly.
When property managers can maintain and improve their staff management skills, then their job and their staff’s jobs will become easier and more harmonious.
“The vast majority of our building staff are dedicated, very hard working and intelligent,” says Peter von Simson, the chief executive officer of a New York City-based management firm. “However, like all people, some have personal problems, financial issues, substance abuse—we have seen it all.” So, like all good managers, this needs to be dealt with in a sensitive, timely manner so that a building can run smoothly.
The first thing that a building or association manager should understand is that human resources administration in the context of multifamily property management is similar to human resources in other corporate environments, but it does have its differences.