Covid-19 has prompted many boards to embark on a digital transformation that embraces remote-first and hybrid work settings. For those equipped with the right tools, people and processes, the shift has been welcome and seamless — if not overdue.
Collaboration is king
Collaboration among board members has deepened, with more effective ways of serving their missions discovered. Contrary to what may have been expected, during the 12 months to March 2021, 80 per cent of boards became more effective and collaborative and spent more time on vital strategic issues than they did prior to the pandemic, according to the Board Effectiveness Survey by intelligence platform OnBoard — with 23 per cent of the respondents (282 board directors, administrators and staff in more than six countries) citing “significant” improvement. However, for others, the distance of remote work has never been more keenly felt. The pressures to deliver results have increased and weaknesses in good governance exposed.
Upskilling is vital
According to Rob Kunzler, chief marketing officer at OnBoard board management software solutions, the gap between effective and non-effective leadership teams will grow wider over time. “The data shows leadership teams become more effective when the right tools and processes are in place,” says Kunzler. “It is encouraging to see so many boards and leadership teams developing plans to implement additional improvements in board engagement. However, those who remain hesitant about embracing new ways of working are likely to fall even further behind.” There is arguably nothing more fundamental to a board’s success that it being comprised of members who understand their role and remit — and whose skillset is broad as a collective. According to the survey, a majority of boards and leadership team have seized on the opportunity to carry out a skills audit and reflect on their ability to represent diverse communities. Knowledge gaps have been plugged by investing in skills training.
Use up-to-date tools
No matter how talented the individuals, all good teams require the right tools to collaborate inside and outside meetings — and ease of access to information is critical. Many leaders recognised that the moment had come to overhaul their existing tools, turning to purpose-built platforms like OnBoard. “With a board intelligence platform, you have a centralised resource area for papers, policies and other documents,” says Kunzler. “There’s minimal risk of leadership team members referring to out-of-date versions thanks to centralised storage; plus a portal-based document store is far simpler to navigate than a traditional shared drive. We’ve had a lot of feedback about remote meetings actually facilitating more robust decision-making than in-person ones did.”
Communication is paramount
With boards and leadership teams unable to meet in person, a host of online channels have emerged. However, there’s the risk of key individuals being inadvertently left out of conversations outside scheduled meetings. OnBoard can prevent that, says Kunzler. “One of the reasons our clients love OnBoard is because it provides a standard communication channel that makes it easier to include the right people in every conversation.”
A board management software platform such as OnBoard empowers boards with easy access to a web-based portal that can reduce administrative burdens and increase efficiencies, security, and board engagement for optimal decision-making. More information about OnBoard for Education here
Find out more information about OnBoard for Education.