Contributed by Melissa Guyott, CMCA, AMS, PCAM
Anyone working in community association management is likely aware that the industry is facing a talent shortage. At CAI’s event for management company executives in October, attendees were questioned about the scarcity, with 85% of respondents reporting current openings. In a time of high turnover and the so-called “great resignation,” how do we attract and retain new talent?
Community association managers are the professional backbone of the condominium communities and homeowners associations that they serve, providing the skills and expertise that are essential to successful operations and governance.
As managers, management company executives, and CAI members, it’s our responsibility to promote the profession. Let’s expand our search by looking for skills and qualities in candidates from other industries. Let’s explain our job responsibilities and how this career can be a rewarding one. We can share with candidates the success stories of those who started in other professions and succeeded in community management. A lot of what you’ll need to promote community management you’ll find in CAI’s Opportunities Knock guide.
New talent does not always have to come from within the community management profession. Ultimately, we are relationship managers, so we need to hire people who have experience with that skill. I look for people who work in food service, hospitality, and parks and recreation. I look for stay-at-home moms and schoolteachers. One of my favorite employees I have ever hired was a school bus driver. If someone can wrangle 20 little humans, they can handle five large ones in a board meeting.
We also see high turnover in the profession. Managers who jump between companies or who leave the profession often cite that their job is hard, their boards are fussy, or they’re tired of night meetings.
I highly encourage young managers and those new to the profession to wait out those initial challenges and work through them. It can get overwhelming, but once managers understand the pitfalls, know what to anticipate, and are ready to smoothly handle the challenges of the job, they can reap the rewards of a career that is just as rewarding as it is challenging.
As we look to solve the talent shortage issue facing our industry, it is crucial that we think of new solutions. Whether that means creating more resources to help managers take on the first years on the job, or expanding our search for finding new talent, I am confident that we will be able to attract and retain people to our industry.
Melissa Guyott is co-owner and president of Ponderosa Community Management in Spokane, Wash., and chair of CAI’s Community Association Managers Council.
>>Learn more about community association management and peruse opportunities in the industry by visiting the CAI Career Center.