We all remember the days in grade school when we gathered in a circle to play the game telephone. Starting with a simple phrase, the first person will whisper their given phrase in the ear of the person sitting next to them. As each person whispers their given phrase to their neighbor, you sit with suspense in hopes that the last person will be able to say the starting phrase accurately. That leads us to the question — what does the game telephone teach us? For starters, the game illustrates how quickly a message can be altered even when passed through multiple people. It makes us consider that what we say can sometimes have an altered perspective on the person that they are talking to. Most importantly, paying attention to detail and thoroughness is a crucial part of communication.
When it comes to communication between management companies and HOAs, communication is a large contribution to its success. As a way to better help your organization, we would like to address 5 important tips on improving communication.
An essential part of communication is providing transparency. When transparency is present, people are more prone to be clear, honest, and open to building trust with other members of the group. Members are also more likely to share information more freely in an effort to benefit the group vs. the individual. This is especially true when it comes to setting boundaries and expectations.
For example, the following is an example of a transparent response that an HOA management company might give someone in the situation that they are unclear about a specific situation.
HOA board member:
“I feel out of the loop on the issues that were addressed during our HOA board meeting. I wasn’t aware that certain projects were approved to block entryways in our neighborhood.”
HOA management company:
“Thank you for reaching out to us about your concern. To better help you, let’s discuss in more detail the approved projects that were addressed during the meeting. It’s important to us that our community understands the process of each project and its overall goal. We are also happy to address any additional questions or concerns that you may have.”
In times when executive decisions are made within an HOA management company, board members may not always agree. These situations can sometimes lead to an assumption that a particular decision was made due to one individual's opinion vs. a group. By providing an HOA directive of communication and hierarchy, members are able to have a clear outline of how decisions are made, voted on, and who to address when additional information is needed.
How to Create a Directive of Communication:
Start by providing a list of all HOA members' contact information, along with their current role. Outline each person's responsibilities, their primary contact information, and their availability.
Seth Myers - Head of HOA Financial Budget Committee
HOA Phone: 999-999-9999 ext. 4
Availability: Monday - Thursday from 9 am-3 pm by appointment only.
Responsibilities: Oversees all HOA financial budgeting and organizing financial meetings. * If an appointment is needed, please contact our assistant Tina Holms to schedule.
Tina Holms - Financial Budgets Committee Assistant
HOA Phone: 999-999-9990 ext. 3
Availability: Monday - Wednesday 9 am-3 pm
When creating a directive of hierarchy, be sure to review your HOA governing documents for guidelines on knowing what particular committee member or executive should oversee certain topics. Here is where directives on voting or following parliamentary procedure can be addressed as well. As another alternative option, consider creating a visual chart so that everyone can see how all roles communicate among one another.
When someone new joins a management company, it is essential to provide each new employee with a clear set of expectations. Most importantly, be sure to give each new hire a proper amount of time to meet with each HOA board member or manager. Use this opportunity to create a list of expectations and additional topics related to their job description. Another vital part of setting clear expectations is providing a thorough training program — here is where new hires can keep track of accomplishments and ways to improve as they adjust to their new role.
As we convert into a new way of living due to Covid-19, communication has become an essential part of how we are able to connect to other people. One large solution comes with providing the proper tools necessary to communicate. This includes alternative non-contact options such as the following:
Providing consistency is key to improving communication between management companies and HOAs. The more an HOA sees that a process is consistent, the more an HOA is likely to respond positively. Some examples of consistency include: