The Human Factor What You Need to Know About Staff Management

Property managers know that whether they're running a small, contained walk-up building, a multi-unit high rise, or a sprawling condo development in the suburbs, materials, capital and personnel all fall under their administrative jurisdiction.

Many of the jobs handled by property managers can be described in well-defined terms—send out monthly bills, attend meetings, file paperwork—but regardless of the size of the project, human resources are typically considered the most important and involved piece in any management puzzle. Managing human resources is both an art and a science, and requires a very specific skill set, particularly since peoples' homes and personal assets are involved.

Even a great manager may not be an expert in the management of human beings, but nevertheless, depending on the size and nature of a community, a manager might have to coordinate operations with a single superintendent or work with any number of doormen, porters, custodians and handypersons. Well-trained, motivated employees enhance the appeal and ambiance of any property adding to both the real and perceived value, but just as managers aren't necessarily born human resource specialists, great workers don’t just show up that way by magic their first day on the job. Good managers will avail themselves of the resources available to maintain and improve their own human-management skills as they build a viable support staff.

Who’s in Charge?

'Workforce,' 'staff,' 'human capital'—no matter what name is given to the people who service and maintain an association, it all comes down to “people power. According to Dan Wurtzel, president at FirstService Residential in Manhattan, staff management requires that a manager come to the task with a few fundamental tools.

“Whether a new property or an existing one, the tools are the same, a detailed job description, schedules, and training must be in place,” Wurtzel explains. “Make sure the job descriptions and the schedules are in sync and customized for the building. Every building is different, with different amenities and different nuances. Templates don’t always work.”

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