Condo Media - August 2011 - (Page 40)

FEATURE by Nena Groskind To Tip or Not to Tip T ipping service providers is a common practice in the United States, generally expected (by the wait staff in restaurants), often encouraged, implicitly if not explicitly required, and almost always appreciated. But what about in a community association setting? Should an owner tip the kind security guard who always helps with her bags? Should boards give bonuses to their onsite managers? Should they give holiday gifts to vendors and association staff? Three industry executives explain why they think “gratuities” for any reason in any form are almost always a bad idea. Paul W. Carroccio, CMCA, AMS President and Operations Manager TPW Management LLC The question of tipping probably arises more often in the resort communities Vermont-based TPW manages than in residential associations, because vacation property owners are receiving hospitality-type services for which they would expect to tip elsewhere. “But we don’t think that’s a fair way of recognizing good service,” Carroccio says. The company emphasizes a “team” approach, and singling out one member of the team for recognition undermines that philosophy. Allowing staff members to accept tips also creates the risk that they will favor owners who tip them, to the detriment of other residents (who get less attention) and possibly to the detriment of the community as a whole, if an employee’s focus on tip-generating services for individual owners takes time away from his or her association duties. For these reasons, TPW has a longstanding policy that forbids employees from accepting tips from clients. If an owner insists on tipping, employees are instructed to say they will contribute the money to a pool that will be distributed among all team members. “That usually kills the idea,” Carroccio says. TPW provides housekeeping services to a large resort company that includes a gratuity in its guest fees, which the company requires TPW to accept. “We distribute it evenly to employees based on the hours they’ve worked and their performance,” Carroccio says. “Employees who don’t do the work or don’t perform well don’t get a share.” TPW has the same negative view of the holiday gifts community association boards often want to give management company staff members and vendors. With vendors, Carroccio says, gifts raise the specter of improper “kickbacks” that have sullied the industry’s image in the past. “We want association vendors to provide good service at a fair price, and we don’t expect anything more from them,” Carroccio says. In return, associations treat their vendors fairly and pay them on time, “and we don’t think the vendors should expect anything else.” Its policy doesn’t forbid employees from accepting gifts, but it does require advanced approval from management before soliciting or accepting “gifts of any kind” from customers, suppliers or vendor representatives. If associations want to provide holiday gifts or bonuses to their managers or staff, TPW encourages putting the funds in the general pool the company allocates among all of its employees. If a board insists on rewarding only the staff members serving their community, Carroccio says, TPW will create a separate pool for that community. “It’s still recognizing a team, not an individual,” he notes. 40 CONDO MEDIA • AUGUST 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Condo Media - August 2011

Condo Media - August 2011
From the CED’s Desk
Editorial Board
CAI News
CAI Regional News
Asked & Answered
Homeowner’s Corner
Smooth Operations
Vendor Spotlight
Industry Perspective
Advertisers Index
Classified Service Directory

Condo Media - August 2011