As we welcome the New Year, it’s tradition for many to commit to New Year’s Resolutions. Beyond your personal resolutions this is a perfect time to commit to making changes and improving on things within the operations of your HOA board. At IKO Community Management we know this is a busy time of the year, so we’ve brought together a short list of ideas to help you get started.
Seek Feedback. Is your community floating on cloud 9 or are dark clouds forming? Even if everything appears to be fine in your HOA community, it’s a good idea to check your community’s pulse. A great way to go about doing this is with a survey. Surveys can be distributed using multiple methods, including:
- Printed surveys distributed through the mail. This is a great way to reach your community, especially is some of your residents are older. Be sure to include a postage-paid return envelope to encourage participation. Residents will be less likely to fill out the survey if they either have to drop the survey off somewhere or pay for the postage.
- Online survey. An online survey can be posted on your community’s social media sites or sent via email. Encourage community members to complete the survey by keeping the survey short. It is also a good idea to send a physical post card through the mail to encourage older community members or members of the community who don’t follow you on social media to follow a listed URL to the survey.
- In person survey. If your community holds an event, ask for feedback before the families leave. Like the online survey, keep this short and don’t overwhelm the participants.
If you have the resources (and time) consider employing all of these methods to reach out to your community. Receiving feedback through the survey will allow you to see what you’re doing well, what needs to be improved, or what is simply not working. Most issues will be resolved with altering your communications efforts (for more information, check out the HOA Board Communications post form a few weeks back).
Encourage Transparency. While getting work done doesn’t allow for the entire community to participate all the time, make an effort in the New Year to keep members of your HOA community updated as to what’s being discussed behind closed doors. Even if your work meetings are everyday, run of the mill tasks, not involving the community in one way or another can lead to suspicion and bad feelings about the board. While there’s no need to broadcast the meetings and work events, here are a few good ideas for encouraging transparency in your community:
- Update your community’s public face. While many communities are choosing not to have social media sites (to avoid frustrated community member comments), it’s important to have some means of communication with your community. Consider a blog for posting updates. If a member of your community has a concern, encourage them to contact your board by email.
- On deck. In correspondence with your community members, list items that are coming up for discussion during the period of time between your open meetings. Encourage members to contact your board via email if they have any questions or concerns.
- Respond. Make sure that someone on the board is responsible for forwarding emails to the appropriate board member who can respond. Lack of or delays in responses will create unease.
People like to be aware of what’s going on around them, especially if it affects them directly. Make a point to encourage transparency between your board and your community in the New Year!
Invest in Mediation. Mediation can help your board avoid a huge problem with a resident further down the line. Mediation is a way to intervene with disputes while keeping everyone’s needs, feelings and issues in mind. When signs of an issue start appearing, encourage a meeting before the issue gets too tense. Invest in mediation training for a few members of your community, or find a mediator who your community can rely on to show up if/when they’re needed. If at all possible, seek mediation training for your entire board. This way you will all know the basic principles that follow mediation and will be able to find alternative methods of communication that will better serve you, your board and your community.
IKO Community Management hopes that these ideas will get you and your board started with doing business in the New Year. Just remember that your board is dealing with your friends and neighbors. Every now and then people will get frustrated, but try not to take it personally. Use these New Year’s resolutions to start building a better relationship between your HOA board and your community.