How to Motivate Community Association Managers

How to Motivate Community Association Managers

Hiring a community manager is a valuable investment for a homeowners' association (HOA) seeking to enhance its operations and streamline responsibilities. According to the CAI 2020 Homeowner Satisfaction Survey, 74% of homeowners expressed satisfaction with the value and support provided by their community managers to both residents and their associations.

Fostering a strong partnership with your HOA’s community manager is essential to success. By implementing specific strategies, an HOA can create an environment that promotes effective collaboration, growth, and improved mental health for community managers. Here, we’ll explore key points that can contribute to achieving these goals.

What is a Community Association Manager?

A community association manager (CAM) is a professionally trained individual hired by the board of directors to support leaders, offer advice, and help manage and oversee a community association's day-to-day operations. The primary role of a CAM is to ensure the association's governing documents, policies, and procedures are followed and that the community functions smoothly.

Responsibilities of a Community Association Manager

Responsibilities can vary depending on the size and complexity of the community they serve and the management company contract. Some common tasks include:

  • Administrative duties
  • Project management
  • Meeting and agenda preparation
  • Financial and billing management
  • Budget preparation
  • Property maintenance and inspections
  • Dispute resolution assistance
  • Vendor and contract management
  • Communication and community relations

Community association managers may also guide and support the association's board of directors, helping them make informed decisions, comply with legal requirements, and navigate complex issues. They stay updated on relevant HOA laws and regulations affecting community associations and ensure that the association operates under these guidelines.

In some cases, CAMs may be employed directly by the association, while in others, they may work for a professional management company that provides management services to multiple communities. CAMs may hold certifications or designations specific to community association management, demonstrating their expertise and commitment to professional standards.

Overall, the role of a community association manager is crucial in maintaining the smooth functioning and well-being of a community association, confirming it operates efficiently, meets the needs of its residents, and preserves property values.

6 Ways to Motivate Community Association Managers in Your HOA

Creating a motivating work environment for community association managers is essential for job satisfaction and effectiveness. Here are six strategies that can inspire CAMs, leading to enhanced performance and a thriving community.

1. Establish Good Communication

Good communication is the cornerstone of any successful relationship. HOAs should establish channels of communication with their community managers.

  • Regular formal and informal meetings let everyone discuss ongoing tasks, address concerns, and exchange ideas.
  • An open dialogue builds trust, allows for a better understanding of expectations, and promotes a healthy working relationship.

Being present and actively listening as a board member will give anyone speaking a sense of trust and improve teamwork.

2. Set Reasonable Goals

To ensure community managers remain engaged and motivated, set reasonable and achievable goals. Collaborate with the manager to establish measurable objectives aligned with the HOA's vision. Clear expectations enable community managers to focus their energy and positively impact the association.

  • Collaborate with the community manager: Set goals that align with the manager's capabilities and expertise.
  • Align with your HOA's vision and objectives: This guarantees the manager's efforts contribute to the association's success.
  • Make goals measurable: This helps assess progress and provide feedback to the community manager.
  • Break down larger goals: If a goal seems too daunting or overwhelming, break it down into smaller, more manageable tasks or milestones.
  • Prioritize goals: Determine priorities to help them manage their workload.
  • Set realistic timelines: Consider the available resources and time constraints when setting goals and avoid putting unnecessary pressure on the community manager.
  • Regularly review and adjust goals: Goals should not be static; adjust them based on changing circumstances, emerging priorities, or new information. Flexibility allows for adaptation and keeps the goals relevant and attainable.

3. Provide Opportunities for Growth

Investing in the professional growth of community managers benefits both the individuals and the HOA. Encourage managers to participate in industry conferences and workshops that refine their skills and knowledge. This helps them stay updated with best practices and demonstrates the HOA's dedication to their development.

Additionally, CAMs can benefit from various training opportunities to improve their skills and stay up to date with emerging trends in the industry.

For example, a community manager course will help CAMs:

  • Enhance their knowledge of HOA management best practices.
  • Develop communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Acquire a deeper understanding of HOA financial management.
  • Learn conflict resolution and problem-solving strategies.
  • Stay updated with current laws and regulations impacting community associations.
  • Gain insights into effective leadership and team management.
  • Expand their network and connect with other industry professionals.
  • Fine-tune their ability to handle challenging situations and adapt to changes.
  • Build confidence and competence in their role as community managers.
  • Foster a sense of professional advancement.

4. Recognize High Performers

Recognizing and appreciating community managers’ efforts is vital for boosting morale. Implement a system for acknowledging their achievements, such as Employee of the Month awards or public recognition during HOA meetings.

Celebrating their wins generates a positive work atmosphere and encourages continued excellence.

5. Create an Environment of Trust

Trust is fundamental in any relationship and plays a key role in the manager-HOA dynamic. HOAs should evoke a culture of mutual respect. Empower community managers to:

  • Make decisions within their delegated authority.
  • Share constructive feedback.
  • Support their initiatives.

6. Take Care of Employee Health

Lastly, prioritizing community managers' mental and physical health is critical for their long-term engagement and productivity. HOAs can support their employees' health by offering benefits such as:

  • Paid time off
  • Flexible work arrangements
  • Access to mental health resources.

Encouraging a healthy work-life balance and presenting avenues for stress management influence the community managers' overall job satisfaction and mental well-being.

Start Motivating Community Association Managers with These Steps!

By implementing these six strategies, HOAs can nurture a productive relationship with their community association managers while backing their mental health. Remember, a supported community manager is more likely to be actively engaged, motivated, and committed to fostering a thriving community.


What makes a good association manager?

A good community association manager possesses several qualities, including:

  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Excellent organizational abilities.
  • Sound financial knowledge.
  • Problem-solving capabilities.
  • Deep understanding of the governing documents and regulations that govern the association.

They should be responsive to the community's needs, build relationships with residents, board members, and vendors, and proactively manage and resolve issues that arise within the association.

Community association manager vs. property manager: what's the difference?

A community association manager primarily manages homeowners, condominiums, or single housing associations. They oversee the community's day-to-day operations and work closely with the association's board of directors.

On the other hand, a property manager typically deals with individual properties, such as residential or commercial rental properties. Their responsibilities may include finding tenants, collecting rent, handling maintenance and repairs, and ensuring compliance with rental laws and regulations. Property managers work on behalf of property owners to maintain and maximize the value of their investment properties.