An engaged and forward-thinking board is one of the greatest assets of an organization. Engaged board members are motivated to work collaboratively and develop critical strategies to take the organization in a creative direction. In an involved and proactive board, the directors and other board members are prepared for the meetings and excited to work towards the long-term strategic goals of the business organization. To keep your directors and board members engaged, boards should encourage effective learning, provide constructive feedback, and offer an inspiring and challenging board experience.
Strategies for Improving Board Engagement
An engaged board is essential for the health of an organization. Engaged boards are naturally more impactful as they are passionate about the business. Here are some ways you can boost your board’s engagement:
Having a well-informed communication strategy is the key to improving your board’s engagement. If there is open communication between board members, they will be more willing to collaborate with each other to work proactively to solve strategic problems. During the pandemic, many companies have started using virtual tools to ensure that the board members communicate with other. These digital tools can also help streamline the meeting planning and execution. Additionally, you can hold informal gatherings to help members connect on a personal level as well. Some companies have a “buddy system” where senior board members support the new ones to navigate through the business.
The best high-functioning boards are those that combine learning experiences with structured feedback. An evaluation mechanism can be set up to regularly review the individual performance of board members and the board's performance as a whole. Communicating the strengths and weaknesses of the board helps in the improvement of overall board performance. This can be done through one-to-one sessions where the chairperson talks with each board member to identify their individual needs and recognize areas for improvement.
The moment you welcome a new board member into your company, you must make sure that they understand their roles and responsibilities as board members. You should provide them with all the information they need regarding your company’s missions, goals, and vision. Share additional resources that will help them understand your company better. If the board members are clear about the expectations and their responsibilities, they will make a meaningful contribution to your company. Therefore, investing time in a thorough onboarding experience is the first step to having an engaged board.
To make sure that your board members are engaged during board meetings, you must send them all the information they need before the meeting. The information must be precise and digestible but detailed enough to cover the most critical strategic matters. If you send them a lot of material that is not relevant to the meeting, the board members will not be productively involved in the boardroom activities. Therefore, they must receive all necessary documents that highlight the main strategic issues, risks, and decisions that need to be made.
Creating a comfortable environment for your board members to freely share their ideas and opinions is critical. If some board members do not feel comfortable speaking, you will have a strategy driven by a few individuals that might not be in the best interest of your business organization. Therefore, creating a safe and inclusive environment where everyone is comfortable speaking is essential. Sometimes, people do not feel comfortable speaking if they are in the minority. And as such, you must strive for greater diversity in your boardroom. Create a culture of participation and engagement that encourages all directors to voice their opinions in the board meetings.
While recruiting board members, look for qualities like leadership, organizational and collaborative skills. After recruitment, make sure that you identify their individual needs and provide them with adequate learning opportunities that allow them to be proactively involved in your business goals.
An engaged board is an asset for any business organization. If you have a proactive and involved board, it is more likely that your business will flourish. Board management is one of the key components of good governance. To boost board engagement, you should create a comfortable and inclusive environment, establish free communication, make sure all board members are aware of their roles and responsibilities, and provide consistent and constructive feedback.