7 Ways to Attract & Retain Talent in the Community Association Market

Last modified on April 1st, 2022
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The tight labor market has made it difficult for businesses to find and keep employees, hitting the association management industry particularly hard. With more open positions than candidates, management companies are competing to build their workforce.

In this article, we take a deep dive into how the labor market has changed and provide some practical ways you can rethink your hiring and retention strategies to overcome these challenges.

A Changing Labor Market 

In 2020, the Foundation for Community Association Research reported that 97% of association management executives and hiring teams are seeing a shortage of community managers. Approximately 59% reported having two to six job openings. This shortage of workers is largely due to the rapid growth of community associations. 

Additionally, employees’ needs have shifted. With industry-wide disruptions in the past two years, many have reevaluated their priorities and desire more flexibility and a better work–life balance. Employers have noticed this shift in employee expectations across the industry. In fact, 49% of association management CEOs and hiring managers say that candidates want to achieve a better work–life balance, flexibility in hours (24%), and the option to work remotely (19%).

Why it’s Critical to Rethink Your Hiring & Retention Strategy

Now more than ever, it’s important to evaluate your hiring and retention strategy. If you don’t, you could end up losing talent or your top performers to the competition. Being short-staffed can negatively impact other aspects of your business — from customer service to productivity — and even cause employee dissatisfaction due to burnout.

To solve this, many businesses focus on how they can improve their company culture, employee benefits, and work–life balance. Below are a few simple ways you can enhance your hiring strategy. 

7 Ways to Level Up Your Hiring Strategy to Attract Top-Tier Talent

Follow these seven tips to stand out from the competition and build a winning workforce.

1.) Evaluate & Ask for Feedback 

Before implementing any new strategies, you should take an honest look at your current hiring strategy to see where it may be falling short. Use this hiring tactics worksheet as a starting point. Additionally, ask your current employees and new hires for feedback. By asking your employees for their honest opinions and ideas, you can more closely align with their needs and wants. You can also use anonymous surveys to gather information in a safe space.

2.) Use a Multi-Channel Recruitment Approach 

The wider the net you cast to recruit new hires, the more applicants you’ll capture. Utilize both online and offline channels. Place ads on your website and job sites, such as Indeed.com and LinkedIn. Spread the word offline by attending job fairs and networking events. 

3.) Prioritize Flexibility for a Better Work–life Balance

Give your team more flexibility by offering remote work options. If you don’t already have technology in place that enables your employees to complete tasks and communicate remotely, consider adopting a fully mobile management software like AppFolio Property Manager. 

4.) Make Onboarding Easy

New employees can quickly become overwhelmed and frustrated if onboarding isn’t clear or they don’t have access to the right information. Simplify the process for new hires by having a dedicated onboarding plan that includes detailed instructions and steps for how to complete each workflow. A system like AppFolio can accomplish this with guided workflows and digital records to standardize the training process, making it easy to follow.

5.) Create Space for Meaningful Work

Employee burnout is a leading cause of turnover. Prevent churn and improve the employee experience by automating repetitive, tedious tasks, such as manual data entry, accounts payable, and mailings. This allows your team to focus on more meaningful projects that add value to your business and associations. For instance, AppFolio’s Automated AP forwards all your invoices to AppFolio via mail or email, where they are then received, scanned, processed, and digitally posted to your online portal for review.

6.) Help Your Team Develop and Grow 

According to the Foundation for Community Association Research, 42% of association management professionals say that a lack of opportunity for advancement would cause them to quit. Additionally, 28% say that not covering costs for professional development (including education courses and credentials) would cause them to leave their management company. Show your employees you care about their development by giving them opportunities to grow their skillset and expand their knowledge with training courses. Set up regular one-on-one meetings and annual performance reviews to ensure you understand their career goals and they know what they need to do to achieve them.

7. ) Put Company Culture First

A positive environment can go a long way in creating a happy, motivated workplace. People often willingly risk their current employment to work at a place with the culture they desire. In fact, the top two reasons community managers say they would leave a management company are because of a toxic work environment and an unpleasant company culture (Foundation for Community Association Research). There are many ways to enhance your company culture. You can start by expressing your gratitude, being open with your teams, and focusing on your employees’ wellbeing. Read this article on improving company culture for more tips.

Even if you’re not recruiting, it’s a great time to assess your hiring and retention strategy. The labor market has changed, and it’ll continue to evolve in the coming years. If you don’t rethink your processes now, it may be challenging to stay competitive and attract future talent. Make use of the tips shared above to help you create a workplace that people want to be a part of.

 

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