What the research tells us

Brisbane / Sydney Village Manager Professional Development Days feedback

This week Jodie Prosser and her team staged our first Village Manager PD days in Brisbane and Sydney.

Close to 100 village managers attended. Here are some of the comments and some pics.

(It is not too late for you to sign up for Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth, which are coming up over the next few weeks. Check the dates and VM PD membership HERE).

“Just wanted to drop you a quick note to thank you for yesterday. The inaugural NSW State PD day was well facilitated, very informative with excellent speakers providing constructive and useful, practical information and it was also most enjoyable”.

“It was great to meet so many working in the sector, to hear of their passion, the substantial combined knowledge available within the Village Management & PD Network and to come away feeling encouraged about the support available via DCMI, The VM Peer Network and the positive steps toward ongoing development of village management personnel”.

“Feedback from our staff was that they really enjoyed the day and are looking forward to the next one. Personally, I was really impressed with the content and the speakers. It was a bit scary committing so many staff to undergo the training, but I know we made the right decision and the staff will get so much out of the next 12 months”.

Things to watch

Your team, your values

Last issue we talked about ‘customer experience’.

Being the leader of the village community, you cannot deliver or achieve consistent, quality customer experiences alone, without the commitment and engagement of your team.

This is often not a great challenge, as most people choose to work in communities because they like people and enjoy assisting residents.

However, are you getting the best out of your team in relation to harnessing customer experience opportunities?

Village ‘values’ and respect

When you induct a new team member (or permanent contractor that is taking the place of a team member) do you spend time with them going through the Village Values?

It is vitally important to have a short, printed document to give each new team member the values you have and expect.

Have your team sign off that they understand not only that you have values, but what they actually mean in terms of how you all deliver your roles in the village.

Respect is one of the most important values; the document explains exactly what RESPECT means to your residents. For example:


  • treat one another with dignity and fairness
  • show tolerance and have patience
  • are polite
  • show appreciation
  • act with empathy
  • treat others how we would like to be treated
  • don’t talk down to people
  • treat all people as individuals
  • relate and interact positively with people
  • acknowledge we each have a role to play

Team meetings

Having regular team meetings is very important. Use them to:

  • share knowledge
  • reinforce your values
  • regularly share your knowledge
  • celebrate achievements
  • share likely upcoming changes or concerns
  • provide opportunity for your team to share their own suggestions and challenges with you

Your team members will feel included and become ambassadors for you.

Imagine the difference in how a resident will feel if the handyman is asked about an increase the village budget, and he is able to show knowledge of the situation and provide the appropriate response.

It might be, “I am aware of the changes to the budget and I understand it is going to provide an improved service to the residents, however the detail is quite complex so I would recommend you make an appointment with Village Manager if it is of concern to you” versus “Oh, I have no idea but I hear “THEY” are always putting up the fees”. 

This second response reinforces the resident’s concern when it could have been made a positive.

A strong team ethic is so very important to ensuring the culture of the village is maintained and that consistent Customer Experiences are achieved.

Key things to help you everyday

End of Financial Year and budgets for marketing/sales

The hardest thing to achieve is getting ‘new money’ after budgets have been set, so now is the last chance to ‘ask’ for cash to support sales and marketing for the next 12 months.

Not the village budget, but the operator’s budget. Sales activity is the owner’s responsibility.

What should you be asking for? What is going to give you best bang for your buck, is easy to implement and cost efficient?

We all know that word-of-mouth referrals from residents to friends is the best sales tool, plus digital.

Here are three strong suggestions:

First up is the village newsletter. If you don’t have a budget, ask for $1,000. Then you have some cash to support a volunteer, resident or staff member to assemble it and cover any small costs that may come up – even postage of copies to recent sales enquiries.

Second is money for events. A sausage sizzle, wine and cheese night, donation to a local singing group to come in, a band for a Saturday night party. These help to build positive relations with residents, photos for newsletters, events to invite potential residents to, etc.

Check out this video discussion with Patrick Smith, owner of The Henley On Broadwater, a 145-unit retirement village on the Gold Coast. He says this is his best marketing investment – and he has no vacancies.

Ask for $5,000 (or more).

Third, we recommend our web site directory, the number one directory of retirement villages. Nearly 900,000 people a year search for every village in the country here.

This means close to 100% of all people who do a digital search do so on

Every major village has a promotional listing – you may also. If not, the investment is $1,000 a year.

These three actions can add up to $7,000 for 12 months. If you need to ‘sell’, say, 10 homes a year at $300,000 each, that is $3,000,000 in sales. The $7,000 is equal to 0.2%!

Or you can add $600 to each property price.

The important thing in this difficult sales market is to keep doing things that keep the phone ringing and people ‘walking down the drive’.

Good luck.