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Installing a new software program increased transparency among the board, the manager, and the staff.
PAGE #p. 79
Boards think the biggest flaw in the management industry is lack of transparency.
President, Sigma Real Estate Services
Shift the Information Dynamic
Setting the Scene
A large flaw in our industry tends to be in communication and transparency. As a company, we’ve tried to mitigate this through the use of technology. In 2016 we made rules for employees and added policies and procedures that altered the way we do business. The major impact was the level of communication the employees have with the board members and the community overall. We put in parameters on visits, on meetings, on weekly phone calls – all to enhance the level of communication our employees have with the board members. In addition to that, we actually interviewed board members and asked, “What is the problem? What do you see as the biggest flaw in the industry?” It all came back to transparency. They wanted information at their fingertips.
Following the Action
We migrated to a software platform that allowed us to open our business data to clients. In addition to having an online portal for homeowners to pay their monthly charges, make a maintenance request, and get all their documentation, we’ve actually created a board member login to our data bank. In that, they can find the data that they want – financial numbers, delinquency reports, site inspections, you name it. We didn’t have that typical fear of, “Don’t release this unless it’s been reviewed 65 times. Don’t release this unless it’s in the PDF format.” We told our boards, “If you really want the data, let’s get you the data.”'
Doing It Right
These changes have given us the ability to meet the board requirements and enhance our communication with the board and, further, educate the board as to what they can and can’t do. It has managed to shift this dynamic of “I don’t have enough information” to “Now I have all this information. What does it mean? How do I deal with it?”
The next level in this education process is teaching them what to look for in the numbers, where you might say, “Here is what your overruns are. Let’s try and mitigate that.” Or, “You’re spending too much money on payroll, so let’s cut this or reorient the organization so that doesn’t happen. It’s not cost-effective.” That’s the kind of impact we’re trying to have on board members, so they can be better and more involved members of their community.