There’s an old saying about how there’s more than one way to…well, let’s say “peel a potato” (we’re kind to our furry friends here at HireSmart Virtual Employees). In any case, the same can be said of community association managers – there are many right ways to do the job. Often, though, managers tend to fall into one of two categories of CAM management style: task-oriented or relationship-oriented. Neither is inherently right nor wrong – both are incredibly valuable in many ways!
While both CAM management styles have advantages and disadvantages, management company executives need to identify which category each of their managers falls into to set up ways for all of their staff and clients to succeed.
To identify your CAM’s management styles, consider the following:
Once you've identified which CAM management style each of your managers falls into, you can better understand their strengths and weaknesses, how to foster their success, and how to translate that into success for your clients.
Task-oriented management is focused on getting things done efficiently and effectively, and these managers know the importance of the timely execution of responsibilities. This CAM management style places a high priority on completing contractually designated tasks and meeting deadlines. These managers are rockstars in efficiently managing day-to-day operations such as paying vendor invoices, posting notices about meetings or announcements to the community, and keeping records appropriately filed digitally and physically when needed. They also tend to excel at quick thinking and decision-making, which can greatly benefit monthly meetings.
However, there is a downside: task-oriented managers may not emphasize building relationships with residents as much. This lack of focus on relationships can lead to communication breakdowns and resident dissatisfaction. They also may not prioritize community involvement or building a sense of community, causing a lack of engagement and participation from residents.
Overall, while a task-oriented CAM management style can effectively manage day-to-day operations, management companies need to give these task-focused managers the tools they need to better their communication skills and foster more successful community engagement and satisfaction.
Relationship-oriented CAMs build and maintain positive relationships with board members and residents. These managers know every current resident is a potential future board member and stress the importance of every interaction in the community.
This CAM management style prioritizes communication and engagement to create a strong trust between the association and the management company. These managers are great at instilling a stronger sense of community and generating high resident satisfaction. Residents appreciate managers who listen to their concerns and provide timely, friendly responses! These CAMs offer improved communication, transparency, and increased resident involvement and participation.
Of course, it’s not all sunshine, even if their attitudes say otherwise. Relationship-oriented managers may be less efficient at completing tedious, routine tasks and struggle to meet deadlines. Their focus on relationships may lead to long meetings and discussions, which can take away time spent on other important tasks.
So, while relationship-oriented management can lead to a strong sense of community and resident satisfaction, management companies must offer these managers adequate resources to help them succeed in task-oriented respects so that day-to-day operations run efficiently and effectively. Community associations can achieve a successful and thriving community.
Ultimately, the success of your community association managers (and the communities they serve) depends on balancing task-oriented and relationship-oriented CAM management styles. By identifying each manager's strengths and weaknesses, you can be better equipped when the time comes to find resources and tools that will help them grow in their careers and support their communities.
HireSmart Virtual Employees provides a wide range of services to help managers thrive, regardless of their CAM management style. For task-oriented managers, this can mean offering a helping hand in resident outreach, email communications, and board relationship management. For your managers focused on relationship-building, this can mean creating daily to-do lists to keep management tasks on track, setting up calendar reminders and email alerts to guarantee deadlines are tracked and met, and working with the board or vendors to move tasks when needed.
Regardless of what CAM management styles you have in your management company, a CAM Virtual Employee (VE) can be a game changer in how they support their communities. Click here to set up your free 30-min consultation and learn what a CAM VE can do for you today.
The dreaded tax season is upon us once again. As with any business, management companies need to ensure their tax filings are in order. The 2023 deadline to file is April 18th, so there are still a few months to manage your management company’s tax return prep. Here are a few things to remember:
Every year, businesses (and individuals alike, honestly) struggle to submit their tax returns on time. It’s a daunting, cumbersome task, and time can get away from all of us when important deadlines loom overhead.
Knowing application deadlines for all your various forms is an excellent step in tax preparation. Because the 2022 Tax Season officially began on January 23, 2023, businesses can now submit completed tax returns, but not all are prepared to do that.
If you’re not ready, the best first step in your management company’s tax preparation should be to apply for an extension as soon as possible. Businesses can use this extension to file taxes for the company beyond the original deadline of April 18, 2023. Getting in as quickly as possible means one less task on your checklist to worry you’ll forget about.
Once you sort that out, you can build the rest of your calendar. Remember to include the following dates at a minimum:
Management company tax documentation can be complicated because your business works with many other businesses. Keeping track of all of those files is, fortunately, less of a hassle in this digital age we’re in, but still not an easy task.
You’ll likely need to go through multiple technology platforms to get the paperwork the IRS requires and find a convenient way to allocate it all in one place. While time-consuming, it isn’t impossible, and hopefully, digital copies mean fewer chances of misplaced receipts or coffee-stained invoices.
A good approach to this hurdle is to start by segmenting the types of documents and paperwork you’ll need to get together to file correctly. Here are a few to add to your list, but remember to check with an accountant for any forms we may have missed:
The list of documents you need to prepare for vendors can get lengthy depending on the kind of vendors you utilize and how much you’ve paid them. This list can include, but is not limited to:
What this whole list really amounts to is a lot of paperwork. Paperwork to file, paperwork to send out, paperwork to take in – it’s a lot. And it’s something your HireSmart Virtual Employee can easily handle on your behalf.
Now to be clear, a traditional Virtual Assistant shouldn’t be used to replace an accountant. This is important stuff, and the actual filing and final accuracy checks should all be done in-house by trained staff or an accountant. But having your Virtual Employee (VE) aggregate all of your documents, set your schedules, assist with tedious tasks, and essentially manage your time can make your 2022 Tax Season run much more smoothly.
When you’re ready to take care of your business tax return, a HireSmart Virtual Employee is just a click away. Contact us today for your free 30-minute consultation to see if a VE is the right choice for you.
Virtual employees add diversity of experience and perspective to your team.
Many business owners hire consultants, coaches, advisors to help them see things in a different way, to get a different perspective from a trusted source.
It’s especially common in real estate and commission sales-type businesses where outreach and messaging are critical to success.
There is value in bringing in not only an extra pair of eyes but an objective outsider point of view that isn’t bogged down by too many details.
The outsider holds a valuable perspective simply by being an outsider.
When you’re so caught up in your business, knowing all the problems, all the details – you might be missing the forest for the trees.
Consultants and coaches and advisors are usually pretty expensive – especially the ones with good reputations.
So, you might not be ready to pay for that kind of outside analysis and support.
There’s another way to get a fresh take on your business from people who are already on your payroll and care about your success.
Yes, I’m talking about your employees and in this case specifically HireSmart Virtual Employees.
Virtual employees have an outsider perspective that can be valuable if they’re encouraged to express their ideas and insights.
They’re an excellent way to diversify your team.
Diversity is a term that gets thrown around a lot.
Where I’m coming from, it’s not about showing that you have a diverse staff, so people think you have enlightened business ethics.
Diversity is valuable in business because fresh ideas, new ways of understanding, and creative approaches are born from being able to see things in different ways.
When your staff is diverse, you can benefit from a diversity of experience, cultural values, styles of education – even different ways of thinking.
HireSmart Virtual Employees are known for their high quality and low labor cost value.
They also have value because they bring their own unique cultural approach to business, work and life.
If you’re interested in taking advantage of highly skilled, dependable and motivated virtual employees who can also see your business from a fresh perspective, click here for a free consultation.
Why being understaffed is bad for your health.
Health is related to stress, that’s what the research and science tells us.
It’s not all stress that’s bad, it’s excessive stress that can tax your body and mind and lead to illness.
Managing a business comes with a certain amount of necessary stress because at the end of the day you’re responsible for delivering a quality product or service.
Add in employees and competition, taxes, and inflation and it’s easy to see how the pressures and challenges can build up.
That’s just the baseline level of stress for a business owner or manager, that’s the amount that comes with the territory.
As a successful business owner, over time, you learn how to delegate, become more efficient and adopt strategies to create a healthy relationship with your work-related pressures.
That’s what I think of as the “sweet spot”, when stress is manageable, there’s support from staff, and you have enough time to devote to family life.
It’s like you’re floating down a river on a fully blown-up raft, enjoying the scenery, paddling just enough to guide the boat and steer clear of major obstacles.
And then, inevitably, something changes.
Let’s say your assistant needs to move somewhere else to take care of his aging mother.
He can’t give you any more than two weeks' notice and that’s nowhere near enough time to find, onboard, train, and get a new assistant up to speed.
That raft you’ve been floating on starts to lose some buoyancy and you have to paddle harder to avoid the obstacles.
Let’s say this all happens when your business is particularly busy, or you have a deadline to get something done.
This is another level of stress, one that starts to move into unhealthy territory.
I hope you don’t know the feeling of being overwhelmed by the demands on your time, losing sleep from knowing just one more crisis or bad break would be devastating to your business.
But you probably do know the feeling – it’s part of the game.
At HireSmart, we want you to know that you’re not alone in those types of dangerous situations when your stress levels are maxed out and you feel like you’re spiraling out of control.
Not only can we find you highly capable, dependable, affordable virtual employees ready to join your team, but we also provide onboarding strategies and ongoing HR support.
Our business is designed to make your life less stressful and your company more successful.
There’s a lot more value to a relationship with HireSmart than simply quality virtual employees.
If you’re feeling stressed out trying to replace staff or build your team, let us be your employment partner and we’ll take care of you.
Click here for a free consultation.
Disaster preparedness is a crucial component of success for all businesses, including community associations and their management companies. From mundane scenarios like planned water shut offs or unexpected loss of power to natural disasters like coastal hurricanes and midwestern earthquakes, it’s important to plan ahead.
But that planning and the interim preparation that should come with it (consistent training and plan updates) can be a huge time commitment – for your boards and your managers. Finding the time to schedule plan reviews, training modules, and document maintenance is tedious. Virtual Employees (VEs) can be a big help to you before, during, and after disasters.
A Virtual Employee (VE), or virtual assistant is a great asset when it comes to organization and maintenance. So, it makes sense that for a long-term project like a business continuity plan, a virtual employee is an ideal solution. VEs can help with planning by:
You know how your board members can be – many are in their golden years, galivanting off on trip after trip. Sure, they get together occasionally for the required board meetings, but even those can be held remotely now. Scheduling between multiple concurrent vacations can be dicey, and when your team is spread across the country (or worldwide!), it can be challenging to find time for extra meetings.
Still, maintaining a disaster plan is an important step for the company's overall safety. A VE can create a schedule that outlines when each community’s disaster plan will be reviewed and updated and ensure that all board members are made aware of the schedule once it’s finalized. That way, your boards can either plan ahead and schedule travel time around those meetings or work with the VE to negotiate a new meeting time.
Having a plan is important, but so is maintaining that plan safely and consistently. A VE can attend each of the scheduled review meetings that the plan to help facilitate any changes that need to be made and streamline the document maintenance process.
They can also be tasked with ensuring the documentation is accessible by all necessary parties – that’s not just board members. Any sort of information that residents might need can easily be generated by a VE:
Ensuring that someone has eyes on this information and is diligently keeping it as updated as possible is the best way to guarantee accurate information and assistance is available when an emergency occurs.
Virtual Employees or virtual assistants are often very efficient at helping you plan ahead so that any disruption to your business as a result of a natural disaster will be minimal.
This starts in the planning and preparation phase. Not only can a VE maintain business continuity documents, but they can also help create some of them. For example, a VE can create checklists of assigned duties that each board member needs to handle in the event of certain emergencies.
This can be as simple as making phone calls to residents reminding them of scheduled maintenance that could impact their electricity or water, or as complex as coordinating with local energy providers due to dangerous downed power lines. Whatever the task lists look like, knowing which person is responsible for what tasks will be critical in keeping the community calm and progress moving when a disaster happens.
Also, because they are remote employees, VEs likely won’t be impacted by localized crises like natural disasters, making them ideal to assist in ways those in the thick of it cannot. When a community is forced to evacuate due to flash floods, a VE can be available and ready to field phone calls and emails from scared residents, removing that burden from equally frightened board members.
Being prepared for a disaster is vital to any business. It's also something that can sometimes seem overwhelming, especially if you're just starting out on a board and have never had to deal with emergencies before.
But VEs aren’t just great for your board members’ disaster prep planning – a VE can help management companies in the same ways. That's why we suggest using virtual employees for ALL your disaster preparedness plans, whether they’re for your communities or for your management company.
A virtual employee is there to keep everything running smoothly during an emergency event – for everyone. Click here to schedule your 30-minute consultation today to learn more about how a HireSmart Virtual Employee can streamline your next disaster prep meeting.
An HOA capital expense (CapEx) project can be stressful. It’s a big undertaking, and you must make sure that your community association is organized and on schedule. If you don’t have time or the resources to do this yourself, hiring a virtual employee (VE) can save your community association time and money by helping with a capital project.
Project managers are in high demand for a good reason – doing the work is hard enough without having to PLAN the work you’re trying to do! A HireSmart VE is the perfect asset to help manage your community’s capital project from the sidelines.
Now hiring someone to manage your capital project might feel like you’re adding costs to an already expensive process, but it can help to save you money in other ways. For example, a VE can work without distraction from any other projects which might be going on in your community association right now. This means they're more likely to finish the job quickly, saving time and money long-term.
VEs can tackle just about every component of a major capital project, from research and record maintenance and management, liaising between the board, the vendors, and the community, and handling important timelines to ensure progress and timely project completion.
A HireSmart VE is the ideal person to handle research for your CapEx project. They can find out all the information you need about a project to make an informed decision, such as:
When it comes to keeping records, a virtual employee can help you stay on top of the details. Your VE will help keep track of important information related to capital projects. This includes:
A key component of project management is effective communication. When it comes to communicating capital project details, your virtual employee can be an invaluable asset.
VEs can act as a liaison between your community association board members for any project components that require their approval, such as changes or delays in construction schedules or new vendors. They can also provide regular status updates on project progress to ensure everyone is always up to speed, eliminating time-consuming games of “telephone.”
Your VE can also handle community-wide communications about the project’s progress. Updates about parking structure clearances, road closures, lighting or electrical updates, or any other information that might impact their daily routine, can all be handled by a Virtual Employee. Emails, phone calls, SMS texts, or bulletin board notices can all be handled by a HireSmart VE.
As a collective board of people, managing relationships between multiple points of contact can get … dicey. Your virtual employee can manage all contractor communications so that they only have one point of contact if or when issues arise during production or installation processes — saving everyone involved time by reducing communication overhead associated with multiple people needing access simultaneously (i.e., notifying multiple parties).
This makes tasks like scheduling and meeting management significantly less difficult. With only one person managing the board’s calendar, there are fewer chances for meetings, installations, or vendors to be double-booked by accident.
Ready to kick off your community’s next big project? HireSmart Virtual Employees are custom trained to handle whatever workload you need and can make CapEx project management seamless for you and your board. Contact us today for your free 30-minute consultation to see if a VE is the right choice for you.
Have you ever hired someone and wished you hadn’t their second day on the job?
Allowed a non-performing staff member to continue way past their effectiveness date, just because you didn’t want to face letting them go?
Hired a friend or relative because you knew them and thought they would care, but later found out, they were ripping you off?
Have you had a revolving door of people because you couldn’t find consistent talent that wanted to do a repetitive job?
It doesn’t have to be this way.
As business owners, we know we can’t effectively do all the work ourselves and have any true scale. We need people and systems to leverage so we can enjoy our work, provide better service, and have a life.
Yet, hiring the right person can be challenging. We are great at what we do, but very few business owners are good at hiring and managing people. We aren’t taught how to hire people, and so we just “wing it.”
At HireSmart Virtual Employees, we are in the staffing business. We help clients find global talent from the Philippines by doing all the heavy lifting for them. We provide excellent staff for a fraction of the price of local employees.
My husband and I own and operate several businesses. One of which is a property management firm. I have worked in staffing and HR for most of my career and have always been great at building good teams that work well.
I was shocked when several years ago an employee of 4 years quit via a text message while we were on our first vacation in 7 years. It was devastating. Looking back, it was the best thing to ever happen to me. But at the time, it was pure chaos.
It was frustrating trying to rebuild my team. We had been overstaffed in the past, and with the new laws and regulations, payroll was continuing the escalate. I wanted to do something different. When we were introduced to hiring and using global staffing, I put my HR skills to work and figured out how to hire talent in the Philippines for a fraction of the cost.
In the beginning, trying to figure out the technology, how to pay my virtual worker without incurring payroll costs, and how to integrate them took me a while. Then there were the cultural differences. But what I learned, was I could create a hiring system that allowed me to get it right 95% of the time.
When a friend asked me to help her with her staffing needs, it was an easy task. She still has those initial placements working in her business today. They have become integral and valuable parts of her team.
Fast forward and today, we have hundreds of placements. Happy clients who enjoy the benefits of our virtual professionals.
Here is what a few of them are saying:
“I think we are finally getting all of the Virtual Employees settled in their roles and feel like we have a good team. We have been really happy with the results so far and are very grateful for the service that you provide.” D.R. – Property Management Firm in Utah has 8 Virtual Employees
“Thank you for reaching out. Hazel has been doing great here with us. We love using your service." S.B. – Property Management Firm in CA has 1 Virtual Employee
“I have been very satisfied with how quickly April and Hazel have caught on. Kat and Allan have been wonderful as well and very flexible with policy and procedure changes!” R.H. – Property Management Firm in NC has 4 Virtual Employees
We invest a lot of time and analytics into our hiring process to get these results. We use testing and application tests just like the Fortune 500 companies do, but we have adapted them for cultural differences as well as the various roles.
For example, not all customer service roles are exactly the same. The best person to answer your leasing calls isn’t typically the best person to handle maintenance and vice versa. We work as consultants for our clients to help them understand their needs and then work to find the best match specifically for them.
We work with our clients to establish clear expectations and prepare them and their virtual professionals with ongoing training, HR assistance when needed, and to be a sounding board when challenges come up.
The HireSmart Virtual Employees’ difference is the amount of time and effort we put into every hire, so you don’t have to. We provide you with a complete solution for your hiring needs. Whether accounting, leasing, maintenance, back-office administration for insurance audits, lease renewals, or other routine paperwork, we can help you find the perfect match.
Want to know more? Sign up for a free consultation call.
Last week I had the pleasure of speaking at a regional NARPM conference about Solving You Biggest Operational Issue in 30 Days. It was a great event and I loved connecting and providing great information to my fellow NARPM members. As a Broker of my own Property Management business, I know firsthand the troubles and challenges that we all face. However, since I came out of the corporate world of selling IT Consulting, I am all about plugging up the holes with processes and procedures. When we find a problem, we fix it and generally don’t have that issue again.
In my presentation, we were hypothetically walking through the issues with maintenance. If you are a PM, you know the headaches that department can create. It is the number one bone of contention between owners, tenants, and the property manager. As we were walking through the steps, one of the issues that we talked about was tenant’s expectations being too high. I shared some of the tips we use to help with that as well as some things to help tenants solve their own issues.
By far the biggest “ah ha” moment in the room was the introduction of my Green Tags. Want to know about my green tags? They are how we tag every water cut off so that when a tenant has a leak, they can quickly identify a cut off and turn the water off.
They look like this:
You can easily install them on every cut off. When we do a move in inspection, we explain what they are, show them the main cut off and how they work. Whenever a tenant calls in with a water leak, whether during business hours (which quite frankly never happens) or after hours 99% of the calls, my after hours maintenance people ask the tenants to find the green tags to shut the water off to minimize any further damage.
Funny enough, we had this happen the night before the conference. Tenant called at 7:30 stating that there was a leak, the carpet was soaked, they found the green tag, stopped the water, and called. It works like clockwork. It is amazing how some of the simplest things can have a big impact on your business.
At HireSmart Virtual Employees, we help businesses like Property Managers reduce the time and headaches so that they can focus on revenue-generating tasks. If you would like to know if our system is for you, book a call to speak with us.
OK so I’m not going to make the best photographer the world has ever seen but I saw this and it’s indicative of where the industry is heading. A visible proof from Broker/Owner that the PM Business is changing rapidly.
Have you noticed that each year at Broker/Owner there is a certain buzz around a specific topic?
Here’s an insight I’ll share with you because it shows how the industry is changing.
Of all the topics people could list up on the bar camp, there are four main ones. (I’ll list them out to save your eyes!)
Company financial performance with 22 tallies
Utilizing virtual employees (VEs) with 22 tallies
Employee compensation with 20 tallies
In-office communication with 15 tallies
The next closest was ‘Passing to the younger generation’ with 9 so it was way down the list.
At first glance, those first four may look like they’re not closely related however there is a common theme running through them.
We are all under pressure to make our businesses perform, and so company financial performance is always going to be on a list of topics. We need to make our businesses streamlined, cut costs and improve productivity – we’re all well aware of that.
Similarly, employee compensation is a key point. What is your biggest overhead? Employees. Does it impact your company’s financial performance? Of course, it does.
Is there a way to streamline your business while keeping a lid on employee compensation?
Of course, there is, and the speed at which the industry is grabbing that opportunity is gathering pace… which is the reason that ‘utilizing virtual employees’ is right at the top of the tally marks too.
People know about virtual employees (VEs), they know they need them, but usually, wait too long to make the decision to move forwards… and that’s why the BUZZ is there around these topics.
On the surface, it should be a simple decision to get a VE.
‘My business generates a lot of critical paperwork. Should I have somebody in my office do it with a compensation package of around $50,000 or should I outsource it for less than $20,000 a year?’
It should be simple because that can give a streamlined business with improved financial performance, right?
There’s a big BUT isn’t there? ‘I know it makes sense but…’
…I don’t want to outsource to a call center
…Where do I start? (see my PS at the end and you’ll see how to solve this one easily)
…I don’t have systems in place
…I don’t want to be speaking to somebody with a thick accent I have trouble understanding
…I need this person to do a perfect job every time
…I don’t have time to do it and get them up to speed. It’s just faster to do it myself for now
I had ALL those and more before I took on my first VE.
For me, the real reason I hesitated so long was that I hated the idea of having to ring a call center and not get a clear-cut answer because ‘somebody else was doing the work’, not my point of contact.
I had no intention of being caught in the middle with nobody taking responsibility. That is why when I took on my first VE I didn’t use one in a call center.
I employed them full-time.
It felt like a leap, so I minimized my risk.
I had a set of criteria to do the initial vetting (perfect English, genuine references, and a solid university degree) and only interviewed three people who passed those easily.
And then I held brief, focused interviews and selected the person I felt I could work most closely with and who fit the business the best – Theriza.
I already had my list of ‘tasks I hate and will do the one last time’ ready for her.
I did each of the tasks and noted down the steps. Then I handed it over to Theriza and made certain she could understand my notes and what outcome I wanted.
Now because Theriza was working for me full-time she wanted to do a great job and she helped to perfect the system for each of the tasks I could be certain that if she (or anybody else) followed ‘the system’ they would do the work exactly as I wanted it done.
In a single swoop, I’d streamlined my business, handed tasks I wasn’t too motivated to do, and saved tens of thousands of dollars by having it done overseas instead of hiring somebody to replace Julie and her endless romance-gone-wrong-over-the-weekend stories.
If you’re in a position where you know you want to streamline your business and control employee compensation then a quality, full-time VE is an easy solution to a difficult problem.
But how does that solve the in-office communication?
You use one or two full-time virtual employees to manage all your necessary admin tasks.
What are your employees spending time doing now you have freed them up from the dull, repetitive work?
You want your business streamlined so that now they can focus 100% of their energy on the important aspects. Building relationships with owners, signing leases, and moving forwards.
Suddenly you have a highly streamlined organization where everybody is focused on the goals that matter. How much more productive do you think they will be?
The communication sorts itself out because everybody is pulling in the same direction
And if you want to consider that bugbear of hiring… how much easier will it be to attract the best out there?
‘Yes, you heard that right. If we hire you, we aim to free you up from the tasks that pull your focus from signing new leases (or whatever you want them to do). We want you to be happy and to be focused so as long as you give the admins the work in the correct manner, they’ll take care of the rest of it for you.’
Who wouldn’t want to work in the environment?
That’s why those four hot topics are showing how the industry is changing and changing fast.
PM businesses that use virtual employees are becoming more streamlined and focused and able to outcompete their competitors.
If you’d like to talk through how to make it work in your business, book your FREE appointment here.