Proper communication is vital to the success of an HOA community. When HOA board members talk to each other, they’re able to work harmoniously and accomplish essential tasks. On the other hand, poor communication can lead to negative consequences such as misunderstandings and low productivity. Here are the top management issues caused by poor communication in HOA communities.
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What Are the Consequences of Poor Communication in HOA Communities?
All HOA board members want their communities to operate seamlessly and efficiently. However, not many realize how poor communication can affect the community’s bottom line. Apart from low productivity, poor communication in HOAs can also lead to a breakdown of relationships — specifically between the board and their homeowners, management employees, and vendors.
To further stress the importance of proper communication, here are the top HOA management problems that can arise due to poor communication.
1. Unfinished Management Tasks and Subpar Work Performance
Just like the role of managers in the workplace, HOA board members must be able to communicate with their management staff. It is through proper communication that you will be able to clarify job descriptions and work expectations.
If you have an office-based staff, you need to make clear who is supposed to answer phone calls and respond to emails and who is responsible for running management errands around the community. If staff members aren’t clear on what they are supposed to do, tasks could be delayed and hurried. As such, failure to communicate your staff’s roles can lead to unfinished management tasks and subpar work performance.
2. Missed Deadlines and Over-Budget Projects
HOA board members need to communicate with their vendors to establish maintenance schedules, construction timelines, and budget restrictions.
For example, when it comes to maintenance tasks, HOA management should regularly schedule with their vendors and communicate the services they need to perform during each visit. Otherwise, the community’s curb appeal may suffer due to overgrown landscapes and broken facilities.
Meanwhile, when it comes to capital improvement projects, HOA boards must communicate with their contractor about timelines and budgets. You also need to explain your vision for the project. If not, you might end up having to redo elements of the construction. This, of course, will put a strain on HOA finances. Moreover, missed deadlines can prolong community projects and further deplete your limited budget.
3. A Toxic Work Environment
Lack of communication can lead to a toxic work environment. As a consequence of missed deadlines and unfinished tasks, HOA boards may start arguing with each other. Management staff will also bear the brunt of the board members’ arguments and disappointments. Instead of having a collaborative and harmonious workplace, board members and employees will feel tense and stressed.
In place of friendly conversations, HOA management may also become passive-aggressive and combative when speaking to each other. With heightened emotions and low morale, HOA management will see a significant drop in productivity levels.
4. Dissatisfied Homeowners
As community operations break down due to poor communication, homeowners will see a drop in the quality of service from their HOA board members and management personnel. Homeowners may start to complain when they see that their HOA assessments are going up, but the quality of HOA management seems to be going down.
Again, if the HOA board is unable to communicate properly, homeowners will start to lose confidence in the board’s ability to manage the community.
How to Address Poor Communication in HOA Communities
If HOA communication problems are left unaddressed, it could lead to disastrous consequences for your association. Here are ways to improve communication in your HOA community.
1. Meet With New Hires and Explain Work Expectations
When someone new joins the management staff, an HOA board member or HOA manager must personally meet with them. Use this opportunity to explain their job description and your performance expectations.
When management employees know their responsibilities, they will be able to accomplish tasks within the expected timeframe.
2. Follow Up on Management Tasks
HOA board members should utilize communication tools such as email and messaging apps to follow up on tasks. Even if they are not physically present, they can still communicate with each other and with employees. If a project is not moving along as expected, following up can encourage employees and vendors to work faster and meet the original deadline.
3. Learn to Prioritize
If HOA management is currently overwhelmed with tasks, the HOA board must know when to intervene. You should be able to communicate which tasks are urgent and which tasks can be temporarily sidelined. So, by properly communicating, board members can ensure that the community is still able to operate despite having a heavy workload.
4. Celebrate Accomplishments and Provide Feedback
Celebrating the accomplishments of your fellow board members and employees can do a lot in lifting morale in the workplace. If people feel that their work is appreciated, they will be motivated to maintain a high level of performance.
Meanwhile, if an employee is not meeting expectations, meet with them to provide feedback. Rather than berating them for their failures, communicating your thoughts in a constructive way can encourage them to address their shortcomings and work harder to meet expectations.
5. Seek Professional Help
If poor communication in HOA is already causing significant problems in your community, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. You can have a workshop or seminar that will teach proper communication skills, ways to improve productivity levels, better emotional management in the workplace, and so on. HOA board members can also consult with their management company on ways to improve communication in the HOA.
The Need to Address Poor Communication in HOA Communities
Not everyone is aware of how poor communication in HOA communities can cause management issues. So, if your community has low productivity and inefficient operations, try to see how the HOA board is communicating with employees, vendors, and homeowners. When these communication issues are addressed, HOA boards may be able to see a drastic improvement in their communities. The seemingly tough job of managing the community will also become easier.
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