Four distinct generations—matures, baby boomers, Gen Xers, and millennials—own homes in community associations and are in today’s workforce. The mix of characteristics and diverse workstyles of these generations has the potential to lead to miscommunication and discord. It’s little wonder board members and managers are looking for guidance on how to create more compatible and efficient living, governing, and working environments.
Marston, the author of Generational Insights, identifies clear behaviors in each demographic.
The matures (also known as the silent generation; born between 1928 and 1945) and baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964), for instance, favor collaboration, teamwork, and hierarchy. They tend to arrive early, stay late, and embrace plenty of meetings.
Gen Xers (born between 1965 and 1980) are independent and self-sufficient. They are also technologically adept and well-educated. Because of their independence and resourcefulness, Gen Xers believe the best way to manage people is to get out of the way and have as little contact as possible.
Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) are multitaskers and comfortable with both group and individual interaction. They are generally adept at social media and prefer to text than call or email, Marston says. Like their baby boomer parents, the millennials embrace teamwork and like building relationships. However, unlike the boomers, millennials value work-life balance over career.
Marston believes the biggest leadership gap is with the Gen Xers. Their “reluctance to get involved” can get in their way of being strong, effective managers, he says. Yet they need to start getting a handle on the millennials. “As a group, the millennials are like a huge boulder barreling down hill, and the Gen Xers need to learn how to engage now to be able to guide and lead these workers in the future,” he says.
Those who want to create high-performance workplaces, whether within a management company or an association board, should learn “to recognize their own inherent workstyles as well as those of their colleagues” and then set their own workstyle aside, Marston says. Doing so demonstrates an understanding of generational differences and motives that can help people connect with each other.
Marston recommends treating colleagues at work or peers on boards as if they were people from another country or culture. Making one change in how you interact with each other could lead to better relationships. “Usually, one change creates momentum,” he says.
And before you get too comfortable with these four generations, the iGen is on its way. Individuals born after 1997 will be joining the workforce in large numbers and could become homeowners in a few years.
You might be able to guess the fastest-growing state in the U.S. is out West. But did you know that it’s Idaho?
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Gem State’s population increased 2.2 percent to 1.7 million from July 2016 to July 2017. Nevada (2.0 percent), Utah (1.9 percent), Washington state (1.7 percent), and Florida and Arizona (both 1.6 percent) saw the next largest percentage increases.
Idaho’s capital of Boise is seeing the largest growth in the state. The city’s low cost of living, strong economy, and developing tech sector has made it a sought-after city for young professionals to work in and call home.
The state’s population spike can be attributed mostly to domestic migration. One in four people who moved to Idaho came from California, according to a 2015 state-to-state migration report from the Census Bureau. Washington state and Oregon residents also are flocking to Idaho.
Those communities have seen increased regulation. In recent years, the Idaho state legislature has addressed community association homeowner account statements, the disclosure of association transfer fees, rental restrictions, and rule violation fees, among other changes.
Idaho’s population growth, emerging housing market, and increased regulation were the catalysts behind creating CAI Idaho.
Until now, the state’s community association volunteers, managers, and business partners didn’t have an organized voice to advocate in the legislature.
“One of the things we had happen this year was another piece of legislation came to town because somebody had a representative and was able to bend his year,” says Mike Madson, CMCA, president of MGM Associations Management and a CAI Idaho Chapter founding board member.
The bill passed, and no one asked community association experts anything about it because “we don’t have an organized group that (legislators) can get one voice from,” Madson says.
CAI Idaho is the state’s first and only professional association representing community associations, condominiums, and housing cooperatives. It is CAI’s 64th chapter.
Rules and regulations help community associations maintain property values and protect a quality of life. These standards are typically described in detail in an association’s governing documents, which all homeowners should have an opportunity to review before purchasing a home in a common-interest community.
Association rules and regulations should be reasonable. When board members—along with their community manager, attorney, and other expert advisors—are reviewing association rules or considering establishing new rules, they should follow these guidelines:
- Develop rules only if they’re necessary
- Base rules on the proper authority—either governing documents or local/state/federal law
- Consider how rules will be enforced, taking extra care to be sure they’re enforced uniformly
- Implement rules that encourage understanding and compliance
- Write rules that tell owners what they should do instead of what they shouldn’t, and explain why that rule is necessary
Community managers have two primary responsibilities: to carry out policies set by the board and to manage the association’s daily operations.
Some residents expect a community manager to perform certain tasks that just aren’t part of their job description. When the community manager doesn’t meet those expectations, residents are unhappy. The following should help homeowners better understand a community manager’s role:
• A community manager is trained to deal with conflict, but they will not get involved in neighborhood quarrels. However, if association rules are violated, the community manager is the right person to call.
• A community manager works closely with the board, as an advisor—not a member of the board.
• A community manager is responsible for monitoring contractors’ performance but not supervising them. Contractors are responsible for supervising their own personnel. If you have a problem with a contractor, notify the manager, who will forward your concerns to the board. The board will decide how to proceed under the terms of the contract.
• A community manager inspects the community regularly, but even an experienced manager won’t catch everything. If residents know about a potential maintenance issue, report it to the community manager.
• A community manager does not set policy. If residents disagree with a policy or rule, contact the board.