Deborah Fromberg, the director of co-op and condo management at David Associates, noticed something happening like clockwork every year. Around Thanksgiving, as building employees began anticipating customary year-end tips from both residents and their employer, staff performance miraculously improved. It remained at a high level through New Year’s Day. Then, early in January, performance slid back to pre-Thanksgiving levels.
“At one particular Manhattan co-op we manage,” Fromberg says, “the difference in staff performance was so obvious that the board of directors asked us what we could do about it.”
Working with the board, the David Associates team took the annual holiday bonus pot and divided it by four. Then it developed a list of performance criteria for each staff position and assigned a maximum score for each – such things as “personal appearance,” “taking initiative,” “building appearance,” “interactions with shareholders.” Finally, every three months, the board and management would evaluate staff performance and award quarterly bonuses based on the scores.
The result? “At this co-op there has been a building-wide consensus that staff performance improved throughout the year once the program was implemented,” Fromberg says. “So the program has accomplished its goal. With happier shareholders – and happier building staff members who get consistent feedback on their job performance – the building is easier to manage, and the board participates more directly in the whole process.”
Fromberg adds that the quarterly evaluation service is included in this co-op’s management contract at no extra cost. But if she were to implement it at other properties, she says, David Associates would probably charge an administration fee because quarterly staff evaluations are “a lot of work.”