Navigating the Transition: A Guide to Welcoming New HOA Board Members

New team members introducing themselves at a meeting. Blog article on new HOA board members.

Homeowners’ association (HOA) boards often experience turnover, whether due to term limits, voluntary departures, or members moving away. Consequently, welcoming new members becomes a common occurrence. Joining a board, even for those familiar with its workings, can be daunting because of steep learning curves, decision-making demands, and high resident expectations. Board members can take some proactive steps to ensure that new board members in the HOA feel comfortable in their roles.  In this blog article, you will learn strategies for welcoming new board members into the fold and how to leverage technology for a smooth transition. 

Table of Contents:

  1. Roles, accountability & transparency 
  2. Create a welcome packet for board members
  3. New board member orientation
  4. Technology access and training 
  5. Board meetings
  6. Collaborating on tasks
  7. Encourage education

Roles, Accountability & Transparency

When a new board member comes on board, it’s essential to give them a clear picture of their roles and responsibilities. Ensuring clarity on who is responsible for what can facilitate a seamless transition, improve teamwork, and minimize potential conflicts.

Board members have a fiduciary duty to act in the community\’s best interests. This involves making decisions that enhance the community\’s welfare and preserve property values. Additionally, board members must strive to improve the overall experience of the community they oversee. Their responsibilities include:

  • Governing the community – Ensuring that the community operates within the governing documents\’ guidelines and local, state, and federal laws.  When a new board member is elected, they must learn about the CC&Rs and regulations. 
  • Financial management – Oversee the HOA\’s finances, including budgeting, collecting assessments and monthly dues, and managing reserves.
  • Rules and regulations – Enforce community rules and regulations outlined in the governing documents, identify violations, and ensure resident compliance. 
  • Maintenance, repairs & long-term planning – Oversee maintenance and repairs in common areas and amenities.
  • Communication with homeowners – Board members must communicate with residents regarding HOA matters, policies, meetings, and updates.
  • Hiring – Board members may hire and oversee management companies, vendors, and other service providers to manage the community. Board members must prioritize transparency and avoid conflicts of interest when selecting vendors. Additionally, they should ensure that vendors have up-to-date certificates of insurance (COI).
  • Decision-making – Board members make decisions regarding community matters, policies, projects, and expenses through regular board meetings and voting.

Create a welcome packet for board members 

When welcoming a new board member into the fold, it’s essential to gather all necessary information about the community so you can help them get up to speed. 

Consider creating a welcome packet with essential documents, such as CC&Rs, meeting schedules, contact information for board members, the latest meeting minutes, and community resources.  The welcome packet should also include the HOA’s history, bylaws, ongoing projects, preferred vendors, standard operational procedures and issues, and upcoming initiatives.  

Additionally, it can be helpful to assign a mentor from among experienced board members to provide new members with support, guidance, and firsthand insight into the responsibilities and expectations.  These steps will help nurture growth and instill confidence in your new board members so they can successfully operate the community.  

New Board Member Orientation

Introducing new Board Members marks an exciting moment for the community.  New members can bring fresh perspectives and energy to push initiatives forward.  

You can organize a new member orientation for existing and new members to connect and build the camaraderie needed for effective community leadership.  During this meeting, be sure to highlight the roles and responsibilities of each member.  Additionally, setting clear expectations on communication channels, meetings, and overall commitment is essential.

Technology Access and Training

While your community association may already have experience with technology, it’s essential to provide your new board members with the proper access and training to succeed in their roles.

Setting up a new board member in Pilera

You can give new board members proper access by changing their occupant type from an owner to a Board Member in Pilera.  

Based on their responsibilities, you can designate the appropriate user roles. You can then layer on different roles in the User Admin section in Pilera, such as vendor admin, task admin, message admin, support contact, and more. 

Video: How to Manage Board Member Information in Pilera

HOA Management Software Training for New Board Members

Once you grant new board members proper access, start training them on the following topics:

Resident Communications

Communicating with residents frequently is vital to keeping them formed, building trust, and instilling a sense of community.  Train new board members on:

  • The types of communications sent out to the community and messaging
  • How to send routine and emergency messages
  • How to track the delivery of messages

Pilera\’s automated communication system simplifies the onboarding process for new board members, allowing them to adapt and start sending messages quickly.  Board members can:

  • Review past messages in the message archive.
  • Use templates that managers or fellow board members created as a guide to draft their messages.
  • Send residents automated phone, text, email, or postal letters based on their communication preferences.  
  • Use the Preview and Send option to review a list of all residents who will receive the message and the communication type they prefer. This feature helps board members ensure accuracy and gives them peace of mind before hitting the send button.

Related: HOA Communication Tools to Create a More Connected Community

Maintenance, Architectural Change Requests, and Rule Violations

Ensuring the smooth operation of your community is essential for creating a safe and enjoyable environment for residents. That\’s why board members must be well-trained in managing various aspects such as maintenance, Architectural Change Requests (ACRs), and rule violations:

  • Report and track common area maintenance issues and communicate with preferred vendors. 
  • Review Architectural Change Requests thoroughly to ensure they comply with community rules and communicate with residents on whether it was accepted or rejected. 
  • Rule violations – How to identify and report different types of violations in the community based on its governing documents and tracking the violation through compliance. 

With Pilera\’s ticketing system, new board members can easily access and review past issues and resolutions, aiding them in onboarding. Here\’s how our ticketing system can assist new board members: 

  • Use the powerful dashboard filters to view current and past common area maintenance, rule violations, incident logs, RFPs, and support tickets. This overview allows board members to stay organized and informed.
  • Gain insights by accessing every conversation tied to a ticket. This transparency enables new board members to learn from past experiences and understand how to resolve different issues. 

Related: Tips to Create an HOA Maintenance Checklist

Tailoring new board member training to their specific roles and responsibilities is essential. Additionally, the level of involvement from your management company in your community\’s operations will influence the topics covered. If your management company takes a hands-on approach, they will likely handle most of the communications and operations. However, with the help of our community technology platform, new board members can gain insights into current processes, address issues, and find resolutions.

Board Meetings

When a new board member joins, training them on conducting effective board meetings is essential.  During this training session, you can help new board members understand how to organize meetings, create clear agendas, manage time effectively, reduce conflict, and promote respectful communication.

At this time, you can also introduce new board members to technology your community uses to run board meetings, from resident communication tools to online meeting platforms.  You can ensure a smooth transition by empowering new members with the knowledge and skills to schedule and conduct board meetings during onboarding.   

Related: How to Improve Board Meetings with Technology

Task Management & Collaboration

It’s crucial to help new board members become familiar with the community\’s ongoing tasks. That way, they can collaborate and contribute to projects. A task management system is an excellent tool to manage this process. It allows new board members to access relevant tasks, get familiar with ongoing projects, and quickly understand their responsibilities. 

Start assigning tasks and deadlines through the task management tool to clarify what needs to be done and ensure accountability.  With Pilera\’s task management system, board members and managers can collaborate effectively on ongoing tasks. They can track updates and receive real-time notifications, ensuring that everyone is well-informed. By regularly monitoring tasks, you can identify any potential roadblocks and make informed decisions to keep the project on track.  

Related: Guide to Streamlining Board Tasks & Operations

Encourage education for New Board Members

The community association industry is constantly evolving. Encouraging personal development and education can help new members (and even experienced ones) stay ahead. Check your local trade organization, such as the Community Association Institute (CAI) or Cooperator, on the different workshops, seminars, or online classes offered for existing and new board members.  These events can provide insight into recent trends, industry best practices, legal requirements, and effective management strategies.  Furthermore, these educational opportunities can help new board members understand the complexities of HOA management and solve the challenges the community is facing. 

Other sources of educational content include:

  • Educational articles from trusted sources such as trade organizations, management companies, and technology providers. 
  • Google Alerts that you can set up every week with relevant keywords such as community association, HOA, or Condominium will send you regular emails whenever new content that matches your alert criteria is published. 

Summary: Setting your new board members up for success in your HOA

As you welcome new board members, it\’s important to recognize they may feel overwhelmed in their new roles. However, by providing new board members with proper support, onboarding, and the right technology, you can help them contribute and make a real impact.

At Pilera, we believe technology can simplify the transition and empower new board members to become effective leaders.  Pilera’s HOA management software enables board members to stay informed and connected through their responsibilities, from resident communications to maintenance projects to operational issues. 

It\’s important to remind new board members to approach the role with dedication, open-mindedness, and a commitment to serving the community\’s best interests. Community leadership can be challenging, but it\’s also incredibly rewarding. Together, you can build camaraderie, create a strong team dynamic, and ensure the success of your community.

About Pilera

Pilera helps make your job as a board member easier by gaining visibility into your operations and improving collaboration with other board members and managers.  With Pilera, you can manage your tasks, oversee community projects and trends, streamline approvals, share documents, and more.  To learn more about these features, contact [email protected] or book a demo.

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