Hello fellow directors,
This post is a bit different because it’s a collection of tricks and tips from seasoned directors who have valuable advice to share! It's a content collaboration between directors who have served within their condo communities for years have seen their fair share of resident expectations and concerns and learned a few best practices that have helped to manage these issues effectively.
Directors are spilling their (not-so) secrets with you - because it really does take a village to not only build one corporation’s community, but a collective condo community!
📅 First and foremost, it's important to be proactive. As the saying goes, “a stitch in time saves nine”. Don't wait for residents to come to you with their concerns. Take the initiative and reach out to them regularly; when residents understand the ongoings of the corporation and the reasoning behind decisions, the amount of times you’ll have to deal with conflict and upset people will decrease (and so will your stress levels!).
You can achieve this by:
Conducting regular surveys to gather feedback and identify potential issues before they become bigger problems.
Setting up a suggestion box or online forum where residents can share their thoughts and ideas.
Implement preventive measures, such as regular maintenance checks, to avoid issues before they occur.
Provide resources and training to help residents stay informed about community rules and expectations.
🔑 Communication and transparency are key, even if that expression is cliche. It's essential to keep residents informed about any changes or updates that may affect them, and regularly communicating with residents is the best way to manage expectations and address concerns. Make sure the information you share is clear, concise, and easily understandable.
To create a culture of trust in your community, boards must be transparent. Be upfront and honest about any issues or challenges that the community is facing. Often, the biggest challenge with transparency is when the matter includes any financial or operational issues that may impact residents, and the hesitation is usually out of fear of a negative reaction from the ownership. Explain any decisions made by the board and the reasoning behind them in a way that is easy for residents to understand and get behind. Be honest and straightforward when communicating with residents - it really (really!) matters.
You can achieve this by:
Setting up a Communications Committee with a mandate to create a communication plan and identify channels to reach residents.
Whoever you choose to communicate to residents can also develop newsletters, emails, social media posts, and community meetings to keep residents in the loop.
Setting up a regular communication schedules and sticking to them.
Share relevant documents (such as financial reports, meeting minutes, information on capital projects, and other important community documents) with residents.
Provide regular updates on community projects and initiatives, such as capital projects and how carrying them out benefits them and may affect their day-to-day ongoings.
Encourage feedback from residents and address any questions or concerns they may have.
Speaking of resident feedback…
👂 It's important to listen to residents' concerns and take it all seriously. When residents come to you with an issue, be empathetic and practice active listening. Remember that residents are the lifeblood of your community, and keeping them happy is essential for the success of your community.
You can achieve this by:
When discussing issues with residents, always give them your full attention.
You should also ask follow-up questions, and repeat back what they say to ensure you understand their concerns correctly.
Even if you can't solve the problem right away, take steps to address it.
Keep residents in the loop throughout the process: even sending them a simple email (to let them know that you haven’t forgotten about them and are still working on their concerns) goes a long way!
🤝 Finally, always remember to be respectful and professional. When communicating with residents, always be polite and professional, even if the conversation is heated. Treat everyone with respect, regardless of their background or position within the community. Avoid getting defensive or argumentative, even if a resident is being confrontational. Try to use de-escalation methods, such as acknowledging the validity of residents' concerns (even if you don't agree with them).
Ultimately, managing resident expectations and addressing concerns can be a challenge, but by following these best practices, you'll be well-equipped to handle any issue that comes your way. Consider starting a Communications Committee, communicate regularly, listen to residents, be transparent, be proactive, and always be respectful and professional.
By doing so, you'll be creating a community that residents will be proud to call home, and you’ll be proud to lead.
P.S. Want to stay on top of how you can build community? Register now to join Stratastic’s collective condo community, where everyone is eager to collaborate and share tips such as those in this post!
Tags: condos, condo directors, community building, resident expectations, transparency, communication, proactivity, maintenance, survey, suggestion box, online forum, resources, training, newsletters, social media, meetings, feedback, professionalism, respect.