Hold Orientation Sessions for New Board Members

Hold Orientation Sessions for New Board Members

Inevitably, for one reason or another, a community association board member gives up his position. When this happens, the association has the sometimes difficult task of replacing the outgoing member. But the challenging part of replacing a member comes after the new member is found and elected to the board. That's because, depending upon the new member's experience with your association, or associations generally, there may be a lot of information for him to quickly get up to speed on—especially if big decisions are in the process of being made.

The more a new board member knows, the more he'll be able to contribute to the association in a meaningful way. Help your board's new member successfully transition into his role by holding orientation sessions.

Holding two orientation sessions can be valuable. Hold one session with the new board member, the board's chairperson, the vice-chairperson, and executive staff right after elections. A second orientation session could be held with the full board of directors about a week later.

The first session should provide an overview of the community’s history, as well as the governing documents. The second—full—session should focus greatly on the strategic plan for the association.

You can create a policy obligating new board members to attend any orientation sessions that are held. The policy may also require that the first official meeting of the new board be a “transition” meeting between the old and new boards, where outgoing board members can share pertinent information. For more tips for helping a new board member transition into his role and an example of a well-worded information sharing policy that you can adapt for use at your community, see “Help New Board Member Transition Into Role,” available to subscribers here.


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