As community associations continue their upward trend, the need for qualified community managers to assist boards in fulfilling their responsibilities will grow as well. Recruiting and retaining talented individuals in the profession requires management company executives to prioritize employee engagement by addressing challenges that can lead managers to feel unmotivated in their job.

According to a new report from the Foundation for Community Association Research, Attracting Talent to the Community Association Management Industry, 59% of community managers surveyed say a toxic work environment is the top reason they would leave their job with a management company. Forty-two percent indicate that the lack of opportunity for advancement would lead them to quit, while 47% cite decreased morale as a reason for moving on to a company that is a better fit.

Community association management company CEOs and senior executives from around the country gathered this week at CAI’s 2021 CEO-MC Retreat in Boca Raton, Fla., to gain insights on tackling these challenges and finding solutions for retaining and engaging top talent. Keynote speaker Jill Christensen, an expert in employee engagement, presented four strategies that can lead to highly motivated community managers:

Hire the right person for the role. Employee engagement starts with hiring the right individuals. “You accomplish this by being incredibly selective in the hiring process. You must hire people who are both a good fit for the job and a good fit for the culture you are creating,” says Christensen.

Create a line of sight. When employees feel a sense of purpose, they are more engaged and productive, which translates into your company’s strategy being executed more quickly.

Build a two-way communication culture. Communicating openly and honestly and giving your employees a forum to be heard by soliciting their input are critical to eradicating disengagement and building trust between employees and company leaders.

Recognize people. There’s nothing more effective in the workplace, and in life, than a sincere “thank you” for a job well done. Be it written or spoken, the most powerful form of recognition is to be acknowledged and appreciated.

In addition, Christensen notes that a major driver of employee engagement is whether individuals feel that leaders have a genuine concern for their well-being. She says the best way for management CEOs and senior executives to accomplish this is by engaging face-to-face with managers and other staff to show they are listening intently and completely present.

When these four strategies are used by community association management executives, the positive leadership culture will spread to staff and, ultimately, to clients, Christensen emphasizes.

Amy Repke

Amy Repke

Amy Repke brings over 20 years of experience to CAI serving as the organization's vice president of communications and marketing. Amy's communications career began in television news where she worked as a producer, writer, and assignment manager for both local and network news channels. In 2013, Amy launched a communications and marketing firm, consulting with clients representing political, financial services, trade associations, and nonprofit organizations. Amy has been nominated for four Washington Regional Emmy awards for writing and producing. Amy is a graduate of Old Dominion University and received a master's degree in Strategic Public Communications from American University.

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