- June 6, 2020
- Posted by: Scott Setterlund
- Category: Article, associations, Business plans, communities, Community, HOA, homeowner association
An HOA’s culture, regardless what effort is put into it or not, is more apparent within the boundaries of their association. Its members inherently live under an umbrella of collective values, behaviors, rules and procedures that can shape their neighborhood positively or negatively, and is what ultimately can bring neighbors together or keep them separate. The degree to which these values and rules are followed help define how each association chooses to unite by those collective behaviors.
Board members are tasked to manage their HOA and play a huge role in influencing their community’s culture. Unfortunately, many feel their role is only to collect dues and enforce rules. They often overlook the importance of addressing their community’s well-being. After all, it is the collective behavior of your neighbors that create its culture. To be able to influence a community in a positive way, HOA Board members need to do the following:
What does your community value?
HOA values do not have to be the same each year, but they do need to be reviewed over time. Incoming Boards should start the new year by asking their community what they value and determine specific goals to achieve them.
When the member’s values are determined as a community, each Board member becomes engaged into identifying the elements related to the well-being of their neighborhood. Likewise, homeowners are more likely to participate when their values are reflective of the values of the Board. This leads to a collective agreement of shared values.
Advocate positive communication
We are not talking about random chats when passing by on the sidewalk. We are talking about focusing on positive messages that can assist in encouraging a positive community culture.
Boards need to communicate effectively in order to build a supportive relationship that could assist in excelling a homeowner’s inputs or contributions. In this technology driven society, not one form of communication is effective enough at reaching every member. Social media provides multiple platforms that may illicit engagement. Association websites are an effective way to share and to provide access to governing documents and social calendars. Other examples are mailers, door flyers, banners, a community bulletin board, text messaging and email blasts.
Homeowner feedback is essential, as it shows the Board is interested to know how the association can improve and do better.
Any constructive feedback is good; and, it should assist the Board to understand what areas need work or are lacking. Member feedback makes the community better by helping them to become more effective neighbors.
Show care and concern
People want to feel appreciated and to be contributors to their neighborhood’s well-being. When values are collectively shared, a homeowner will spend more time aligning with those behaviors in their community, i.e., greeting fellow neighbors, complying with rules and engaging in neighborhood activities.
When Boards show appreciation for each member’s contribution, it shows that the HOA is more concerned about the well-being of the neighborhood, rather than rules or paying dues.
Honestly – nobody likes a bully and the energy is unproductive, in fact, can be extremely destructive. Board members need to be sensitive to their community’s dynamics, such as listening to the tone of their community’s feedback, and quickly address people who are always negative. A Board must learn to stamp out negative and venomous comments immediately, redirect, and communicate expectations clearly.
When you allow or encourage homeowners to brainstorm ideas, they will realize their thoughts and ideas are equally as important, as well as to their association. This allows homeowners to have a greater sense of contribution and encourages further engagement. Strive to create a supportive environment in the neighborhood that nurtures personal and community growth.
Reward good behavior
Boards should often give credit and recognition when it is due, even if it is just a pat on the back. Acknowledging simple deeds, like parenting children, can motivate desired behavior, as well as those “on-the-fence” homeowners to contribute.
When an association demonstrates flexibility, homeowners tend to feel less threatened and become more committed to their neighborhood. Giving homeowners the freedom to explore different methods or solutions allows more creative and innovative ideas or alternative solutions to a problem.
Homeowners want a thriving community that is not only about collecting dues and enforcing rules. They want to feel wanted, needed and valued in their community, and they want their neighborhood to be a fun and safe environment. If you would like to create a positive community culture, find an association manager with a history of community outreach. For more information about how to build a better community, contact MGM at (208) 846-9189 or visit, www.gomgm.com.