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.
“From my standpoint of management the term ‘human resources’ are the staff that the property has hired to do the day-to-day maintenance of their building,” says Maryann Carro-Caputo, president of Tribor Management Inc. in Flushing. “For larger properties, the staff can include doormen, but for the majority of buildings in all but Manhattan, they generally are the supers, handymen, and porters. Our managers must be able to deal with the issues that come up, such as sick leave and holiday/vacation scheduling, and job-related injuries and disputes. Most buildings do not have more than a few employees, but as a management company, you are working with multiple buildings and you have to deal with the issues that a larger firm would have: larger staffs, even though, technically, these workers do not work directly for you.”
“We specialize in managing smaller co-ops and condos. Because of our specialty, we feel that the human resources involved in this context include, not just the staff, which may work for the condos and co-ops, but the shareholders and unit holders as well,” says Ralph Westerhoff, president of Brickwork Management Inc. in New York City. “These people are often a wonderful resource for helping to improve and enhance the properties in which they live. This context also extends to the resources who regularly work for the property. In the end, we try to treat everyone with respect.”
Value Your People
Well-trained, positively-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 of staff 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 manager, and the manager will 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, while the actual hiring of new employees is usually a board function.
“The board/association creates the policies, which govern how they want the building to run,” says Carro-Caputo. “With the help and direction of the agent, they create the schedule for their workers, the duties and tasks for the employees, and how they wish the staff to interact with the building’s residents. An actively-involved board is a good thing. Most board members live at the property managed so they are the sounding board for the residents.”