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How to Welcome a New Board Member and Help Them Get Started

Here are a few tips to welcome your new board member as they become a compelling new team member.
Kimberly Sutherland | Apr 10, 2024 | 4 min read
How to Welcome a New Board Member and Help Them Get Started
  

When a new homeowner association board member is appointed, there is always something to celebrate. Boards with active and enthusiastic members are the most lively. Every new member brings new ideas, energy, and oversight to the team. But, of course, being a new board member is also an extensive experience. It is a volunteer, a neighbor, and a local homeowner who is taking on leading the community.

Chances are, however, that they've never governed a community before. They'll need to learn the ropes, meet your vendors, and pick up their share of the board's duties. As a current board member, the best thing you can do is to welcome them with resources and mentorship as they grow into the role.

Here are a few tips to welcome your new board member as they become a compelling new team member.  

Assemble the On-Boarding Packet

  • CC&As
  • By-Laws
  • Community Amenities and Maintenance
  • Calendar of Community Events
  • HOA Board Structure
  • Summary of Board Roles and Responsibilities
  • HOA Financial Documents
  • Vendor Contact Information
  • Current Contracts
  • HOA Board Member Handbook

Load up the welcome wagon; it's time to get the packet ready for your new board member. And by package, we mean everything. Not just the CC&Rs and Bylaws you hand out to homeowners. They need everything to understand how the community works logistically, financially, and as a community. They need the board structure, the contract list, and the vendor list. They also need insider tips on when to call, which contractors to call, and when.

If your HOA has a board handbook, go over it to ensure it's still providing appropriate advice and recommendations. If it's a few years old, run it past your HOA lawyer, too. If there isn't an HOA handbook, consider putting one together with the rest of the board to complete the packet.

Write a Welcome Letter

Take some time to write a personal letter of welcome. This is an excellent time to make a friendly overture and provide a written record of all your best tips as a current HOA board member. Write your little guide and encourage the other board members to do the same. A welcome letter is your chance to explain that your best roofers can do same-day, but only if you call them before 3, or how to reassure that one neighbor who is worried about the neighborhood dogs.

In your way, write the letter you wish you'd gotten on your first week as a board member, and what you'd say to that earlier you now that you have experience.

Provide Mentorship and Independence

New board members benefit from onboarding just like anyone new on the job. Shadowing board members and then having someone to ask questions and check in with is extremely useful. Offer mentorship or see if you can pair the new board member with the right mentor in your group. If you have multiple new board members, mentor each a different current board member so everyone has a mentor and no mentor gets overwhelmed.

Show Them the Works First-Hand

Reading documents is enlightening, but most people learn better by doing and seeing. When onboarding your new board member, walk them through everything. Show them how each board member takes care of their duties, the situations to call a contractor, the signs to watch out for, and how you typically handle homeowner requests.

In addition to what they are and how they are done, we need to understand why things are done that way. For example, why do you nudge the pool robot hose every time you check in the pool? It unsticks the little guy and keeps the pool clearer. Why do you book snow removal in July? So the removal guys know where the curbs are under the snow, and you're first in line when the snowfalls.

Include Training from Your HOA Management Team

If you have a community manager or management team, loop them into the onboarding. They may have a new board member program to help your new member. Even if they don't, your community manager will have a few tips and advice to contribute to the onboarding. They can participate in the mentorship, contribute to the guidebook, or put together an onboarding program that wraps everything together

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