A group of happy board members after a meeting

How to Boost Board Member Morale in Your HOA

Morale – a collective set of attitudes, emotions, and satisfaction exhibited by a team, employee, or person. Morality is essential in our everyday lives, workplace, and social life — without it, the world would be a sad place. Think back on a time when you worked for someone that never kept their promise. Perhaps you had a friend that was never dependable or lacked respect for your friendship. Unfortunately, if you’re like one of the many millions of people that have experienced these scenarios, you’re not alone. Being hit by lousy morale can make or break relationships, especially when working in an HOA.

6 Core Moral Values

When working in an HOA board or committee, consider discussing the six moral values. 

  • As a team, discuss what each moral means to your team.
  • Practice exercising each moral in an example or role play. 
  • Discuss ways you can help prevent bad morale.

1. Trustworthiness

2. Respect

3. Responsibility

4. Fairness

5. Caring

6. Citizenship

7  Ways to Boost Board Member Morale in your HOA

1. Keep an open, two-way line of communication

In our pandemic (nearly post-pandemic) world, communication is more critical than ever. Critical communication includes creating virtual ways for your community or board to communicate and connect. 

  • Allow others to have a voice – No one likes when they feel left out, especially when making a team decision. When you allow your board members to voice their opinions, team members are more likely to build trust and acknowledgment. This method also allows your team to connect better and gain respect for one another.
  • Online communication –  Virtual communication is another great way for members to communicate issues or significant updates that may pertain to the HOA board. This type of communication also provides the ability to mitigate and facilitate issues before they escalate. 

2. Use your words wisely

Clear communication is imperative for preventing disagreements between board members.

  • When communicating, consider using words such as “I” vs. “you” when making a statement. Using the term “you” can sometimes show that someone is pointing the finger at someone else. 
  • Encourage transparency between members by providing conflict resolution techniques such as using a moderator. 

3. Invest in community enhancements for increased future use.

To increase participation and morale, allow your board to brainstorm enhancements that can provide long-term benefits for the community. What homeowner doesn’t love a new amenity upgrade! When in the process of working on the project, encourage your board to interact with the community. A higher interaction rate will allow community members to provide additional feedback and praise for all the great work that is being accomplished. As COVID restrictions are lifted, residents will eventually start to feel more comfortable leaving their homes. As a result, the community will begin to notice all the positive impacts of their board on the community.

4. Increase positive environmental impact.

People want to do good while also living well. When many aspects of life feel out of control, finding ways to positively impact the world is one meaningful way to make a difference. Implementing or enhancing the idea of recycling is a robust and sustainable impact that will make an enormous difference for the environment, your community, and your HOA board.

5. Prioritize board members’ well-being.

  • Burnout for board members can be rampant. The most straightforward “hello, how are you?” can make a world of difference on someone’s day.
  • Breaks – Be sure to provide board members with proper breaks. As a suggestion, consider adding a specific location or room where members can step outside their work environment to relax and socialize.

6. Show appreciation frequently.

  • Feeling appreciated is important, especially for board members that are volunteers. As an HOA board and community, show appreciation by verbally communicating or announcing an honorable mention. For example, consider creating an HOA recognition for someone that may deserve praise for something they accomplished. Publish an update in your community newsletter or e-blast. Other forms of appreciation could include:
    • Sending thank you cards
    • Free coffee or lunch
    • Flowers
    • A small gift

7. Encourage board members to bond and share experiences.

The experience of board members is unique. They share experiences and bond as time goes on. Encourage your board to stay connected, even if it’s outside regular business hours. Over time, this will create a sense of unity and trust as they build their professional relationships. 

Bonus: Recognize the signs of low morale — address them directly.

  • Knowing the tell-tale signs of low morale can help address issues directly before it leads to burnout.
  • Educate: Provide your HOA board with a way to recognize signs of bad morals such as: being untrustworthy, unreliable, misleading, or disrespectful. When your team is aware of the symptoms, they are less likely to exercise these habits.

What are the most common issues that can cause an HOA board to decrease its morale?

  1. Lack of or inconsistent communication – Having the inability to communicate is a significant reason morale is decreased in a team or committee. No person likes the idea of suffering in silence as a barrier to feeling optimistic and boosting confidence. 
  1. Misunderstood expectations – Unclear transparency and high morale are enemies. Not knowing what is expected at the onset of being a board member can result in unmet expectations. For example, a board member may exercise bad morale if they are never given clear defined rules on practicing healthy morals. To prevent this, provide clear transparency, along with defined expectations on implementing healthy HOA morale.
  1. Wasted potential – While there are undoubtedly standard duties and expectations set for all board members, each member must realize their potential in this position. Like any work situation, understanding each board member’s skills allows them to explore how their skills can positively impact the community. This will also provide a greater sense of purpose and increase morale.

How can lousy morale affect an HOA board and its community?

  1. A dissatisfied board leads to an unhappy community –  As members of the community, board members’ attitude and morale are not a secret to those around them — it’s those that make up the community. This can lead to an overall sense of negativity that permeates all residents.
  1. Disrespect for guidelines, policies, and CC&Rs – When there’s terrible morale in a community, it can lead to disrespect for all aspects of procedures, policies, and the CC&R. Over time, this will reflect poorly on the HOA board —they may not be able to maintain the standards of the HOA. This can also lead to missed deadlines and payments, low or no attendance, and resistance to community space and residential rules and laws.
  1. High board member turnover equals a lack of desire to be a board member – When board members have low morale for an extended period, it can lead to not coming back or resigning the position. When it’s evident that board members are unhappy in their role, others are unlikely to volunteer. Eventually, due to the lack of members, this makes it difficult to maintain an HOA board.

How can we increase positive morale on an HOA board and its community? 

  1. Increased satisfaction, creativity, and interest in the community – When the board is positive, the community is positive. A vibrant board that is satisfied in its role and work is most likely to create exciting events and innovative solutions to enhance the community overall.
  1. Invested board and community members – A community can have the most beautiful landscaping and amenities. Still, if its residents are not engaged or not supported in participating, the community will not thrive. When selecting board members, consider their level of engagement and desire to create a strong community.
  1. Sense of support and trust – High morale creates a sense of support and trust among the board and its residents. Now more than ever, support and trust are crucial to the overall wellbeing of individuals and the general community.
A group of community managers happy to be supporting their boards.

Recap

Defining Morale 

A collective set of attitudes, emotions, and satisfaction exhibited by a team, employee, or person. 

6 Core Moral Values: 

1. Trustworthiness

2. Respect

3. Responsibility

4. Fairness

5. Caring

6. Citizenship

7  Ways to Boost Board Member Morale in your HOA

  1. Keep an open, two-way line of communication.
  2. Use your words wisely.
  3. Invest in community enhancements for increased future use.
  4. Increase positive environmental impact.
  5. Prioritize board members’ well-being.
  6. Show appreciation frequently.
  7. Encourage board members to bond and share experiences.
  8. Bonus: Recognize the signs of low morale — address them directly.

What are the most common issues that can cause an HOA board to decrease its morale?

  1. Lack of or inconsistent communication.
  2. Misunderstood expectations.
  3. Wasted potential.

How can lousy morale affect an HOA board and its community?

  1. A dissatisfied board leads to an unhappy community.
  2. Disrespect for guidelines, policies, and CC&Rs.
  3. High board member turnover equals a lack of desire to be a board member.

How can we increase positive morale on an HOA board and its community?

  1. Increased satisfaction, creativity, and interest in the community.
  2. Invested board and community members.
  3. Sense of support and trust. 

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