Burnout: Physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress.
It’s human nature. Those who serve in organizations and associations of all types, including HOAs, sometimes encounter the reality that a few people shoulder the burden for the whole group. The goal-oriented types who tend to take on more than they should can sometimes be on the path to burnout sooner than later, and that’s no good for anyone. However, burnout doesn’t have to be the norm, nor should it be. Here are some ways to help offset the load:
1) Adopt active committees. Engage as many board members as possible to participate in the committee system. This can spread out the workload and help people focus on certain aspects of board management.
2) Limit the number of board seats. The smaller your board, the more residents/owners you have at your disposal to tap when people feel like they’re spread too thin. In this case, bigger isn’t better. In fact, most experts would suggest you have the smallest board your state allows.
3) Communicate effectively from the beginning. One way to prevent burnout is to ensure that potential board members fully understand the commitment from the outset. That way there are no surprises. Be upfront about the weekly or monthly workload and the key deliverables that will be expected from members. You can never be too clear or over-communicate!
4) Make the work digestible. What scares many people away from taking on a board leadership role is the perceived amount of work. While the workload may be sizable, that doesn’t mean you can’t pare it down into manageable portions. Everyone will benefit in the end.
For instance, on an HOA board, you might have policy-making tasks vs. policy-executing ones. People will probably have preferences about which ones they want to take on—and that can work out beautifully if you have people who agree to own these various tasks and stay in their agreed-upon lanes.
5) Make meetings count. Meetings should be run efficiently to maximize productivity. A call for agenda items should be sent out a few days before the meeting. And once drafted, all members should be provided with ample time to review it so they can show up prepared. Also in the name of respecting people’s time, a meeting chair should be appointed to keep order. Similarly, make sure you follow the voting procedures as they are outlined in your governing documents. After the meeting, the chairperson should summarize the discussion and reiterate action items and next steps. Everyone should have a clear understanding of the outcomes and the path forward.
6) Hire a community manager. Outsourcing certain tasks can pay off in a big way in terms of mental peace for the members of the board as well as the community itself. One of the primary reasons you need a community manager is to take the workload off the board. This model works because it takes the pressure off of the board, placing responsibility and execution of the day-to-day operations on a dedicated manager or team.
A closing thought: We know there can be a lot at stake when managing an HOA. Board members need to feel engaged and invested in the work to have the best outcome. This can get complicated fast when people are juggling multiple priorities. This is why hiring a manager can make a significant positive difference.
This is where we let our proven approach speak for itself. We have the savvy to implement proven, yet flexible, systems that meet the needs of the modern HOA. For instance, we can custom-design a solution around your Phoenix-area community’s requirements and budget needs. Our objective is to help increase the value of your community. Our managerial staff provides a variety of ways to help your association achieve this goal. Visit our website to learn more.