Contributed by Nicole Tacktikos

Finding talented young professionals to recruit, develop, and retain has become increasingly more challenging for numerous industries, including community association management. Mentorship and career development have become critical components to cultivate loyal, knowledgeable, and effective community managers.

Community association management companies and associations need to adjust their hiring strategies to attract and motivate young professionals in a highly competitive job market. Follow these steps.

Make candidates feel special. Show that your company or association cares about its people. Explain how new team members are formally trained to give them the skills needed to grow at the company or in the long-term career path they choose to pursue. For example, during the interview process, you might have the strongest candidates meet with high-level team members and executives to walk them through every aspect of the company and what can be achieved in the position.

Partner with local universities. There are strong, potential partners in higher education wherever your management company and communities are located. These institutions are eager to give their students access to prospective employers and viable careers. Some colleges have hospitality and accounting programs; you might consider participating in job fairs and obtaining direct referrals from faculty members. A successful partnership can consistently provide access to great talent.

Incentivize employees who provide referrals. An employee referral program is a fantastic way to supplement broader recruiting efforts. Young professionals who are enjoying their experience at your company or association will be motivated to find like-minded peers seeking a similar opportunity to learn and grow. Set a minimum length of time that a person must be employed before the referral incentive is awarded to keep both the new employee and referral source accountable.

Establish a formal mentoring program. This can be a game-changer for the recruitment and retention of talented young professionals. A formal development program for recent college graduates gives them a substantial advantage and demonstrates the potential that a career in community association management offers. Participants can shadow employees from each department, including community managers at all levels, and work toward obtaining a professional manager credential or license. Those who succeed can be put on the path to roles with increasing responsibility.

Encourage and support continuing education and credentials. Many companies will at least partially reimburse employees for the courses required to achieve different community association management credentials. This small investment greatly helps with retention and advancement of team members, especially young professionals. 

Nicole Tacktikos is a recruiting manager at KW Property Management & Consulting, a Florida-based property management company. 

>> Learn more about the community association management profession in Opportunities Knock: Opening the Door to Careers in Community Association Management, a new guide for job seekers at any stage of their professional lives. Access now in the CAI Career Center.

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