Board Management Blog

Board Management Best Practices:

6 Ways to On-board and Integrate New Board Members Effectively

You have gone through the process of finding promising new talent and are ready to introduce a brand new member to your board of directors. Congrats!

It can be exciting to have a fresh new face on the board, but on-boarding your new hire can be challenging, especially if your board is working through a crisis, is in the middle of organizational changes or has a complicated relationship with its stakeholders.

The most important thing to remember is that current state of your organization will impact your new hire’s contribution. All too often promising talent fails when the individual is not able to exercise the authority they were given, is forced into inefficient practices, or is exposed to a toxic environment. Just as the board is only as strong as its members, the members are only as strong as the support they get from the group.

Assuming that you have already done the work of establishing a strong company culture and organizational practices, below is a checklist to integrate your new member on Board Management’s portal.

1 – Clearly Identify Roles and Responsibilities.
Expectations for your new hire must be clear to both the new member and to the rest of your board. This requires some pre-planning among the directors and consistent review during the on-boarding process. Even if your new member has a small role, they need to be able to perform the full scope of their duties with the support of the group.

2 – Add a Complete Profile To Your Member Directory.
Encourage your new member to fully complete his or her profile and connect with other members through the directory. Especially if meetings are infrequent, this is a great way for them to get acquainted and familiarize themselves ahead of time. Assign your member to whatever committees they will serve, and let them know who their key points of contact will be.

3 – Share Data and Documents Appropriately.
Determine the necessary level of data access according to the responsibilities of the role, and grant the appropriate permissions. Share all documents and folders that your new member will need for their duties and encourage other members to include the member on new items as projects develop.

4 – Assign Tasks Mindfully.
When you add your new member to projects in the portal, begin by assigning a few tasks that they can tackle effectively. Do not give them a mass of unclear duties or assume that they can jump in on assignments that they know nothing about. Being mindful of task assignment will motivate your new member to keep up with their responsibilities as they taken on more.

5 – Foster Inclusive Group Communication.
The easiest way to integrate your new member into the group workflow is to include them in existing discussions. Encourage other members to chat with the new member and include them in posts on the message board. For example, a member could include a note in a post or make a comment that says, “Laurie – this one of our biggest projects. We will be working on this through May.”

6 – Maintain Accountability Using the Member Activity Log.
Follow your new member’s activity on the portal to see how they are contributing and make adjustments as needed. Obviously, you will still need to give one-on-one feedback and formal reviews, but this can provide another layer of insight and will keep the new member accountable on a daily basis.

On-boarding new members will be different every time, but if you have an organized system in place it can be seamless and streamlined. With strong communication and organization in place, new directors will have a clear path to follow, and it will be easier for new leaders to steer the ship.

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