People have been different for as long as they have existed. But, the shift into recognizing and celebrating these differences is a more recent transition that’s still underway. We all have something to gain from dwelling in places that welcome and honor the things that make us unique, whether in our schools, workplaces, or self managed HOAs.
Diversity and inclusion efforts have become increasingly popular across industries, and for good reason. More diverse groups tend to perform better, be happier, generate more innovative ideas, and solve problems more successfully and quickly.
But what does diversity really mean, and how do these efforts translate to a self managed HOA?
What Does a Diverse HOA Board Look Like?
The word diverse is defined as “differing from one another.” In practice, this means understanding that each person is special and their individual characteristics contribute to the world.
When evaluating the diversity of your HOA board, consider a multitude of characteristics that society uses to define people, such as:
- gender identity
- physical ability
- language preference
- religious background
Board leaders should represent the community they serve. Consider people’s careers and socioeconomic backgrounds. When it comes to defining diversity on your board, consider the personal characteristics people choose, such as career, as well as those over which they have no control, like ethnicity.
Why Does it Matter?
Creating a diverse board isn’t solely a moral imperative. Unique perspectives lead to better decisions. A board of lawyers of the same age, race, gender identity, and socioeconomic background will have a similar understanding of the world. We grow by listening to and interacting with people with different perspectives.
Studies have found that companies with diverse executive teams are 33 percent more likely to achieve above-average profits. Although this isn’t the goal for an HOA board, the idea that groups with more diverse skills and perspectives can lead to a more productive and successful team translates. It proves the entire HOA community will benefit from a board representing everyone living in the area.
Working and living among diverse groups of people contributes to personal growth. Learning about different cultures and embracing new traditions allows us to gain valuable insights into our world and our place in it.
Reflecting the Community
An HOA is a microcosm of the larger city, state, and country. It is a close-knit community of people of different gender identities, ethnicities, careers, and interests. The HOA board should reflect this community.
If the board represents the community it serves, it can better understand residents’ needs and concerns. For example, a board composed of members from various religious backgrounds might have insight into making holiday parties and decor reflective of all residents’ personal beliefs and practices and, therefore, a joyous time for all.
You should still seek residents’ input, even with board members representing the community. Self managed HOA software allows you to survey residents and have them vote digitally. This ensures your board is acting in the best interest of the community.
HOAs have a history of discriminating against people based on race or ethnicity during their rise to popularity in the 1960s. Even after the Fair Housing Act was passed in 1968, some HOAs have been guilty of discrimination based on race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, etc.
A commitment to avoid repeating the wrongs of the past and paving the way for a better future doesn’t mean just recruiting board members who represent the community. The board must create an environment where diverse members feel welcome and supported in voicing their true thoughts and opinions. A diverse board that sees the landscape of America realistically may prevent bad decisions that can alienate minority groups.
Fostering an inclusive environment for people of diverse backgrounds helps ensure the HOA’s policies are fair and inclusive. Self managed HOA software can help manage and track violations so that leadership may notice any disturbing trends, such as disproportionately fining people of color for violations. Recording and systemizing the violation process helps ensure policies are enforced fairly.
Enhancing Creativity and Innovation
People draw ideas from their lives and experiences. The more diverse a team’s experiences, the more creative and innovative ideas can arise from their meetings. Innovations like cauliflower rice, which has become a mainstream food product, arose from someone searching for healthier options to manage her family member’s diabetes. This is just one example of how one person’s experience led her to propose an innovative idea. Since her thought was listened to and appreciated, the result remains on grocery store shelves today. Unique perspectives and experiences drive creativity and innovation.
Not only do diverse groups come up with more innovative ideas, they can execute them more quickly and cost-effectively due to the expansive set of skills that comes with groups of people with unique backgrounds and perspectives.
Strengthening Community Trust and Engagement
Recruiting and supporting a diverse HOA board can benefit your HOA community in ways as numerous and diverse as its members. Strengthening community trust in your board and increasing engagement among residents is hard to quantify, but essential.
Residents able to see themselves in their leadership will feel better-represented. When people are uncomfortable disclosing personal details such as sexual orientation, or a disability, it’s nearly impossible to build trust and rapport. A board of leaders that represents a wide range of unique characteristics will show community members these differences are valued, not a cause for discrimination.
The creativity that comes with employing a diverse board will spark new ideas for community engagement. Community events and celebrations will be created with thoughtfulness to all community members, bringing residents from all walks of life together. Using communication tools within self managed HOA software to share details of community events and tracking them on a community calendar can ensure everybody knows when the events are occurring and what to expect.
Self Managed HOA Software That Supports Diverse Boards and Communities
Giving your board the right tools to manage your HOA successfully will help recruit and retain diverse board members. Simplifying their volunteer duties ensures opportunities remain feasible for people with external commitments like demanding jobs and children. Intuitive and simple software allows anyone to participate as a volunteer, not just those with finance and HOA experience.
PayHOA is invested in long-term community success, including promoting and supporting diverse board members and residents. Our collaborative and transparent software has features that promote collaboration and conversations between diverse groups of people and between residents and the board, including:
- community surveys with voting
- two-way communication between residents and the board
- access to documents such as board meeting minutes
PayHOA is designed to make running a successful self managed HOA simple. Our unique platform supports an HOA’s accounting, tracking violations, taking payments, and more. Schedule a call today to see how our self managed HOA software can help your diverse community shine.