Staff Management 101 The Art of Team Building

 Management of any property requires a varying degree of resources and skills.  Materials, capital, and personnel are required for everything from ordering  supplies to the complete overseeing of a multi-unit, high rise co-op or  condominium. Above all resources, human resources, are typically considered the  most important asset of any business or company, and managing those living  resources is an art, a science, and a very necessary skill set.  

 People Power

 “Human resources is a department within a corporation that handles employees,  concerns, insurance and benefits,” says Martin H. Laderman, CPM candidate and president of MEM Property Management  Corporation in Jersey City. “The term 'human resources' is not synonymous with property management—it’s synonymous with corporations or a business that has 30 or 40 employees. The  problem with management companies who have human resource departments is that  the managers, the president, the vice president are not in touch with their  employees, because that’s delegated to human resources—so they are separating themselves from the employee’s complaints or questions.”  

 “In property management, there’s an internal way of looking at human resources and an external way,” says Joseph Balzamo, president of Alliance Property Management in Morristown. “For a small firm, a human resources director wears many hats,” agrees Brian Weaver, vice president of Wilkin Management Group in Mahwah. “For a larger firm, it’s a full-time job. A lot depends on the quality of the director. Human resources  will take care of things like payroll or internal conflicts. It depends on the  size and culture of the company.”  

 Value Your People

 Well-trained, motivated employees enhance the appeal and ambiance of a property,  adding to both the real and perceived value. Who does the hiring, the training,  and the evaluations may vary between properties, but generally speaking, the  board of directors and the property management company will work together to achieve the best results.  When an effective system is in place and working well, the board will  communicate their expectations for staff performance to the property manager,  and the manager will then develop and enforce the policies, and be held  accountable to the board. The manager will generally act in an advisory  capacity, before, during, and after new staff is brought on board, while the  actual hiring of new employees is usually a board function.  

 “An association’s board should have a minimal role in managing staff. Sometimes boards get  involved in managing the employees or vendors by default because the property  managers aren’t doing it,” says Laderman. “But that’s what they pay us to do. They are volunteers getting paid zero, and that is not  their job. If we are not doing it, then they’ll step in and get involved.”  

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