A lack of communication leads to conflict in almost any situation. Same goes with associations. Despite a probable low meeting attendance and community engagement, residents still want to be kept in the know of the latest news, updates, and events in their community.
Follow these 5 best practices to improve the communication within your community, quickly and easily:
1. Communication Workflow
- Who is your first point of contact?
- If a member of your community has a specific question, comment, or concern to whom do they go first?
- Through what means can they reach the first point of contact: email, text, phone call?
- What days and what time are your communication hours?
- What is the standard response rate?
Having a communication workflow guides both the board and the community members in facilitating open and effective communication with each other. Have one and disseminate it within your community.
2. Communication Voice
The HOA board is made up of people with different personalities and “tones” of expressing themselves. Make sure that the board, as a whole, speaks with one voice.
Consensus extends to communication as well. The board should agree on the voice in which you’re going to relay information and address association issues. This voice should be singular across all forms of communication, may it be in print, verbal, or digital (email, social media, website).
3. Social Media Use
Social media platforms are an easy way to reach out to people and disseminate information. However, social media is NOT a business application, nor should it be used as such. Any association attorney will say the same. Whatever the board posts on social media can be used against them in a court of law, so do NOT use social media to communicate with the community.
4. Contact Information
It is best practice to keep an updated record of all of your residents’ contact information, including rental tenants. Make sure you have their current cell phone numbers and email addresses. These are essential in any urgent situation that needs rapid communication.
However, constantly reminding and collecting community members’ updated contact information can be unbelievably time- and energy-consuming. It’s best to delegate this task to an association management community, which will act as a liaison between the board and the community.
5. Homeowner Issues
Families move into HOA communities for the benefits. However, there will come a time when their personal desires go against the community by-laws and policies. Keep a calm head. Remember that in all likelihood, it is not an issue that they have with you personally.
Although it’s important to enforce community laws and guidelines, you are neighbors at the end of the day. Put yourselves in their shoes and try to be diplomatic at all times.
In case you have a delinquent resident, make sure that all letters that you send to them are filed. In the worst case scenario that you need to give them sanctions or you have to take a legal action against them, you are well-prepared.