Do educated Home Owner Association board members and owners save community managers’ money, time and headaches? Yes, Yes, and Yes!
If you are in the community management world, you will relate;
It’s 11 p.m. a Saturday night and your office phone rings. An HOA resident is panicking. His car has been towed and he can’t figure out where to call or why it happened,… or your HOA’s board member interacts with a resident and the conversation should not have taken place the way it did!...
As a community manager, you know you need to address these issues; de-escalate them and educate those involved, so it doesn’t happen again the in future.
However, what if you could more effectively keep these incidents from happening in the first place?
Let’s talk about board members first. We all know it is not automatic that board members receive training. Most community managers will agree that trained board members make better decisions, they lead better and require less community manager interface. The problem is, many community managers do not have the time to train board members in the art of good leadership, in Robert’s rules and what should be said or never said. When leadership problems persist, PM’s have even less time to train and in some cases, the lack of training can lead to a downward spiral.
It is no secret that many new owners do not read their community’s covenants and other governing documents given to them at the closing table. Residents also frequently do not read the community welcome packages, prepared with the best of intentions, by community management companies, as well!
In an ideal world, your board members and residents should be provided knowledge and training. That is simple and obvious enough, but how do you achieve that goal so that the intended parties actually learn it.
Let’s talk about solutions. Ways to get the training to board members and residents range from face to face meetings, in-person classroom-like training and online learning are all obvious.
There are several educational programs offered by organizations, including Community Association Institute, that have in-person training sessions for both HOA board members and residents alike. The challenge is to get people to attend these sessions and while there, actually learn from their experience. For those who do attend, learning something new can be limited because most people can only absorb so much information in a face-to-face situation, and some information can easily get glossed over by the instructor. Studies suggest that in a 40-minute face-to-face lecture, very little to no information is recalled after the first 15-minute mark, and recall begins getting spotty even earlier than that.
A better option is an online format that includes light weight quizzes to check comprehension, and as a result your board members or residents are much more likely to internalize that information and apply it in the future.
Online learning allows a viewer to process the information at their own pace, which is essential because of how people learn. Being able to take a break while learning new information is essential for comprehension. An online learner works at his or her own comfortable pace. When he or she begins to “zone out,” the learner is able to take a mental break, stop viewing the information, and then re-engage when ready. The learner doesn’t lose critical information and the educator doesn’t fail to convey information necessary to complete a lesson.
Quizzes are a huge asset for online learning. When a learner demonstrates his or her knowledge, ignorance is no longer a valid excuse for breaking a rule or violating a policy. The learner has provided clear proof he or she understood, internalized and recalled critical information. “Online learning [is] superior to classroom-based instruction in terms of declarative knowledge outcomes,” a study found4.
Just imagine!,…educating your board members and owners about where to park, how to interact, how high the weeds can grow in a yard, rec room and pools rules can be meaningfully provided to every new board member and owner. Now imagine all of this taking place online with just a few clicks of a community mangers’ mouse, thus saving money, reducing headaches and increasing company profits!
We can all agree, however it happens, educated board members and owners … priceless!
Written by Bob Jones, CEO and Founder of Key Success Company
Bob’s companies specialize in online property management efficiency, resident training, online video training and promotional videos production for business.
Bob’s websites are:
 Swan, Karen. “Learning effectiveness online: What the research tells us.” Research Center for Educational Technology, Kent State University
 Johnstone, A. H.; Percival, F. “Attention Breaks in Lectures.” Education in Chemistry, 13, 2, 49-50, Mar 76
 Burns, Ralph A. “Information Impact and Factors Affecting Recall.” Annual National Conference on Teaching Excellence and Conference of Administrators (7th, Austin, TX, May 22-25, 1985).
 Roediger III, Henry L.; Agarwal, Pooja K.; Kang, Sean H. K.; Marsh, Elizabeth J.
 Davies, Graham M. (Ed); Wright, Daniel B. (Ed), (2010). “Benefits of testing memory: Best practices and boundary conditions.” Current issues in applied memory research. Current issues in memory., (pp. 13-49). New York, NY, US: Psychology Press, xiii, 262 pp.