Soft Skills Required in Residential Properties

Monday, January 12, 2015

Canadian Property Manager 

The concierge is a fixture in many condominiums: morning, noon and night. Beyond staffing the desk in the lobby, however, security in residential condominiums must be wide-ranging to address both physical aspects of the building and the needs of the residents.

“It’s not enough to be a licensed security guard with the appropriate training to meet the technical demands of the position. We need to ensure that new recruits have the softer interpersonal skills to manage a range of potentially delicate and sensitive situations," says Jon Shaw, Business Development Manager with the security services provider, Commissionaires. “That takes special abilities that you sometimes can’t teach.”

Condo security typically entails foot patrols of the floors and parking garage, mobile patrols of the building perimeter, managing the security of recreational facilities, responding effectively to noise complaints, identifying maintenance issues and potential safety hazards in the building, issuing tickets for unauthorized parking and monitoring security cameras. There’s also paperwork to complete, including the filing of incident reports.

Yet, effective and professional condo security is as much art as science, requiring intangible public-facing assets like demeanour, judgement and personality. Recruiters look for these soft skills, and also recommend specialized on-site training tailored to the particular needs and dynamic of the building.

"This should occur in consultation with property managers to ensure security staff understands the idiosyncrasies and special requirements of the particular property they’ve been assigned to," advises Jan Kwasniewski, Director, Client Services, with

Commissionaires. "These are not ‘off-the-shelf’ training modules, but customized programs tailored for each building.”

Occasionally, something as innocent as a minor noise complaint can escalate if not defused skillfully and sensitively. In such situations, a guard's interpersonal skills, words, and tone can be just as important as security expertise. A groomed, professional appearance is also important, given that the concierge is working in peoples' homes and is the first person with whom their guests will interact.

By Mandy Chepeka

Mandy Chepeka is the Manager of Communications and Marketing with Commissionaires.