Bringing in new board members can be exciting, but it can also be stressful. The process can go a lot smoother, though, by adopting some tips to welcome new HOA board members.
How to Welcome New HOA Board Members
It’s no secret that every new undertaking can seem daunting, and that’s exactly how new board members feel. There’s a lot to know as an HOA board member, so you’re likely worried that they won’t be brought up to speed quickly enough. But, there are a few areas you can focus on teaching them. The sooner they know the basics, the sooner they will be able to contribute as an active member. Here are the best tips to welcome new HOA board members:
1. Get Everyone Acquainted
Although HOA board members are typically neighbors in a community, there’s still a likely chance that they’re not well-acquainted.
This particularly applies to larger neighborhoods. Board members may not know each other well or only know each other by face.
Allocate time on your first meeting to get everyone acquainted. Allow new board members to introduce themselves to each other. Board members tend to work better together when they have a good relationship. This allows them to form a rhythm of sorts and really get into the flow. If nothing else, it’s a good way to break the ice and let everyone’s guard down.
2. Share an HOA Board Welcome Packet
There are a few pieces of information that should be used from past meetings to show new board members right away. It’s a good idea to pull these from the last four meetings so that the new person can get a good sense of how things work in your association. Put together an HOA board welcome packet consisting of the following items:
- Minutes. By reading past minutes, the new member can see recent issues and projects that the association has been dealing with in the past few months. Plus, it will save you time working to catch them up if they can read the information themselves.
- HOA Management Reports. If your HOA works with a management company, showing the new members the reports from the company is also helpful. And, don’t forget to show them processes for deed restriction enforcement and logs from architectural compliance reviews. This combined information should give the new member a good view of your recent activity.
- Governing Documents. Although all homeowners should have a basic understanding of the governing documents, it’s still a good idea to include a copy of them in your welcome packet. Not only will it come in handy, but it will also give them a chance to review any stipulations they find confusing.
3. Have a Q&A Session
After allowing the new board members to familiarize themselves with the contents of the welcome packet, make sure to allocate time for an open forum. This is when new members can ask questions and clarify rules. Existing or past board members can then answer these queries.
If possible, have the new members sit down with a seasoned HOA board member (or members) who knows the ropes well. This will allow them to ask any questions about the written information you’ve just given them. You can schedule it an hour before the meeting or as one of the last agendas. You’ll just want to make sure you’re following any state mandates about notifying homeowners of additional meetings.
4. Involve Them Right Away
It’s best not to give new board members an adjusting period of sorts. Sure, they might not work like a well-oiled machine yet but not letting them work right away can dampen their momentum. They just won a position on the board, so they must be excited to get started.
Assign them work and involve them in projects or committees at the first meeting. Make them feel welcome and important. Encourage them to give their two cents on matters concerning the community.
5. Get a Facilitator
More often than not, the board president takes over the role of facilitator. That’s only fitting since the president runs the meetings anyway. However, you can also go with an outside hire — a professional with actual experience in facilitating training and welcoming sessions. You can also ask your HOA manager to do it, especially if you don’t have the budget for someone else.
6. Send Copies of the Minutes
After the training and welcoming session, make sure to send everyone a copy of the minutes. It’s not unlike any other board meeting. Minutes remind everyone of what transpired during the meeting and what commitments they made. Check your governing documents on how soon you should send out minutes. As a general rule, though, you should send minutes within a week of the session.
The Importance of Welcoming New HOA Board Members
It’s essential to welcome new HOA board members for a number of reasons. For instance, newbies tend to feel awkward or uncomfortable when they’re first starting out. They usually don’t know what to do and what specific responsibilities they must fulfill. They might also feel intimidated, especially by other board members who have been serving longer. Having a welcoming session can address these issues.
It’s also a good way to form a connection. New and existing board members should get along well, especially since they’ll be working together for a long time. It’s hard to work with someone you don’t know. This kind of welcoming session can also help align everyone’s expectations and goals. The association has a specific function, and all board members must work towards achieving that.
Welcome New HOA Board Members the Right Way
New board members can feel lost or uncomfortable when they’re not welcomed properly. They don’t know what their roles are and how they fit in the grand scheme of things. Make the best out of bringing in a new board member to help with your HOA by giving them the best information to fulfill their position. Welcome new HOA board members by getting them involved at once. And, if you have an HOA management company, they will likely be able to assist with the process, too.
- Making The Most Out Of Your HOA Board Orientation
- Tips For Running Successful HOA Board Meetings
- An Overview of HOA Board Duties