Every board of directors, no matter the size, should be prepared for a new member orientation. Why? Educating new members to the best of your ability on what is currently happening within your organization and the community will mean fewer headaches and confusion down the road. Every community has different expectations and dynamics that keep it running smoothly. That is why a new member orientation must be required to explain the nuances and help new board members get acquainted with responsibilities. In addition, the HOA’s key players, including the president, treasurer, etc., should be there.
While there is no exact formula to conduct an orientation, it is important to know which topics that should be addressed. Depending upon the organization’s needs, the orientation can last a few hours or be sectioned off into chunks.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as your board prepares its orientation.
How Orientation Benefits New Board Members
The orientation sets the tone of the board, its dealings, and its functions. That means the orientation process is a first glimpse at how your HOA runs. The new member walks away with a greater understanding of their role and the role of the entire board. The orientation also serves as a time to be completely transparent. This includes disclosing financial outlooks, community demands, and any ongoing issues within the board’s purview. Lastly, The orientation process should help new members get up to speed to so they can immediately begin performing board duties.
Role of Existing Board Members
New member orientation is also a time for existing board members to meet the new members coming in. This is a great opportunity for you to have collaborative discussions and for the new members to see everyone in their current roles. While this may not have the same feel as a regular board meeting, meaning that it could be a little less formal, it should make new members feel a part of the whole.
In many cases, the chief executive will take the lead role in conducting the orientation or an independent facilitator can be present as well.
What New Board Members Should Learn at Orientation:
There are many things that a new board member should be made aware of, but here are a few of the most important things you should cover:
• Key organizational issues in detail
• List of meeting dates, locations, and times
• Contact list of key individuals
• Requirements for board member involvement
• Review of the board handbook
• Copies of recent meeting minutes
• A short summary of financial standings
• Question and answer session
As always, we are here to answer any questions that come up along the way.