Burnout: Physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress
It’s human nature. In organizations of all types—including HOAs—there’s potential for a few members to shoulder the work on behalf of the group as a whole. Often, those members are goal-oriented types, and tend to tackle the work head-on simply because that’s the way they approach obligations. This can sometimes lead to burnout, and that’s not good for the individual or the organization.
How can you ensure that members of the HOA don’t end up overburdened? Here are some ways to help offset the load:
1) Adopt active committees. Committees not only spread out the workload, they also help members focus on certain aspects of board management. Create as many committees as make sense and engage as many board members as possible to participate in the committee system.
2) Keep board seats to a minimum. 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. Texas law says there must be three members, unless otherwise outlined in Articles of Incorporation.
3) Provide information upfront. Ensure that potential board members fully understand the commitment of their role from the outset. That way, there are no surprises. Clearly outline the weekly or monthly workload, key deliverables and expectations associated with being on the board. You can never over-communicate!
4) Make the work digestible. What scares many 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) Maximize productivity in meetings. Meetings should be run efficiently and with order. 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. We may be biased, but oftentimes it does pay in terms of mental peace to outsource certain tasks. One of the primary reasons you need a community manager is to take the workload off the board. This model works because it takes a lot of the pressure off of the board. The execution of the day-to-day operations is done by a manager. Then if there’s burnout, the community manager isn’t living up to expectations and that would warrant further discussion.
A closing thought: We know there can be a lot at stake when managing an HOA or association. 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 really make a big difference.
This is where we let our proven approach speak for itself. Our professionals 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 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 in the Austin area achieve this goal. Visit our website to learn more.