Dealing with Employees
Social media, email, and the Internet have vastly improved some aspects of business. Your association may have a website or use Facebook or Instagram to promote the benefits of living in the community or condominium building you manage or to post pictures of community events. But when employees spend work hours sending personal emails, going online to shop, or checking their social media channels, it leads to a decrease in productivity.
Although managing a condominium building or planned community well can be rewarding, it can also be difficult to do without the help of qualified and dedicated employees. Effective association management requires a varied skill set: customer service for members, financial savvy, organization, and building good relationships with outside professionals like vendors and contractors, among other talents.
In the not too distant past, it wasn’t uncommon for an employee to work for the same company for many years, or even for her entire career. But today, the average worker stays at each of her jobs for just 4.4 years, according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And the expected tenure of the work force’s youngest employees—the so-called “Millennials” who were born between 1977 and 1997—is about half that.
In the October 2012 issue, we described ways to boost employee productivity (see “Implement ‘Workplace-Improvement Program’ to Increase Employee Productivity”). A recent study shows that this type of initiative is more important than ever. A new Global Workforce Study by global human resources consultant Towers Watson found that almost 63 percent of U.S. workers aren’t “fully engaged” in their work. Moreover, these employees say that they’re struggling to cope with work situations that don’t provide sufficient support.
Q Is there any benefit to knowing about new on-site employees' preexisting injuries? How can I get this information?
Finding good management employees can be tough. Especially, in today's job market, you may find yourself wading through piles of applications from unqualified candidates if you advertise a job opening using traditional recruiting methods.
But there's one recruiting resource that many management companies overlook—their own employees. You can turn your employees into a recruiting team by implementing an employee referral program that pays them for referring job candidates whom you hire, says Patricia Anderson, a Colorado-based human resources consultant.
A U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 14 Penn Plaza LLC v. Pyett from earlier this year may have a significant impact on how your association or management company handles future labor disputes with unionized employees. According to New York attorney William Hummell, a partner at Kucker and Bruh LLP, employers of union employees can now enforce the alternative dispute resolution or arbitration provisions in their collective bargaining agreement rather than have an employment issue, such as a discrimination claim, resolved through protracted federal litigation.
Federal laws require employers including community associations and management companies to post signs explaining legal information to their employees. Failure to post the signs can cost as much as $10,000 per violation. Fortunately, compliance is easy. The signs are available free of charge from the government agencies that oversee the sign-posting laws.
When you hire a bad apple to work in your community, you run some serious risks. The individual may perpetrate some sort of crime due to easy access to your members. If news of the crime gets out, your community's reputation may plummet and you may fall into a costly legal trap called “negligent hiring.” The association or your management office may be liable because you exposed members or visitors to dangerous employees through poor hiring practices.
All management companies and associations have to deal with a problem employee at some point, no matter how carefully they hire employees or how diligently they try to create a good work environment. For many managers or directors, deciding whether and how to discipline or fire an employee is one of the most stressful parts of the job.