3 Tips to Help Recruit and Retain Leaders in Community Housing
The following content was adapted from the Board governance: Best practices and change management strategies session at the 2021 ONPHA Conference. Thanks to Dr. Wendy Cukier, Lisa Madter, and Gautam Mukherjee for their contribution and information provided at the session.
Succession planning is the process of identifying, assessing and developing new leaders who can replace outgoing leadership and ensure the continuity of the organization. Your goal for successful recruitment is to attract a diverse group of community members who will commit to taking on the important role of providing quality housing to tenants and to be stewards of a public asset.
As boards start to plan for a complex and ever-changing future, how can current leaders attract and keep directors with the skills, experience, and passion needed to lead the organization?
Here are 3 great tips we learned at the 2021 ONPHA Conference:
BONUS CONTENT: For help creating your very own succession plan, check out ONPHA’s Succession Planning Toolkit bundle. It’s FREE for upgraded members!
#1 Have a good strategic plan in place
A strategic plan determines what an organization intends to accomplish in the long term and outlines at a high level how its resources will be used.
Strategic planning provides a helpful navigational tool for decision-making and growth. Having a good plan in place also helps board members – and employees – get excited about the work, and outlines the role they play in the bigger picture.
BONUS CONTENT: For help creating your very own strategic plan, check out ONPHA’s Strategic Planning Toolkit bundle. It’s FREE for upgraded members!
#2 Bring in people from the community to engage in sub-committees
You can invite people from your community – such as staff or tenants – to join a working or advisory committee that reports to or is a part of the board of directors. This creates a great opportunity for non-board members to learn about the processes and the work being done, plus, it allows potential board candidates to engage with the official members.
Another great tip is to put youth on your board, not as voting members but as observers. Not only does this allow you to start building a pipeline into succession planning, it also helps youth develop the skills and capacity they’ll need to become great leaders in the future.
BONUS CONTENT: For tips on how to successfully engage tenants in your board, check out ONPHA’s Tenants on the Board Handbook bundle. It’s FREE for upgraded members!
#3 Help candidates succeed in the interview process
When interviewing candidates, look for diverse skills and experience that align with your vision and values, the strategic plan, and the direction you’re heading. It will be easier later to retain board members when they align well to the work you are doing.
A great tip here is to educate candidates before the interview. Send them more information about the organization and share with them your strategic plan prior to the meeting. This helps potential board members understand your vision and their role, and it helps them have more accurate expectations for what they are signing up for.
BONUS CONTENT: For help recruiting board members, check out ONPHA’s Recruitment, orientation, training, and succession handbook. It’s FREE for upgraded members!
For non-profits, an effective board is a critical component of success. In today’s challenging climate, many non-profits are looking to their boards for leadership in managing major transformation, planning for uncertainty, and meeting the increasingly complex needs of the community.
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