What makes an effective board? Every company secretary, nomination committee and chair will ask themselves this question. In reflection, and due to the pandemic pressing the pause button, we have been able to answer it with more clarity and confidence than before; the answer is culture.
A board where a culture of meaningful assessment is cultivated and nurtured, where positive culture (leading to effective leadership) is a new currency and a new payoff for shareholders and stakeholders, will stand a better chance of survival than a board with next to no engagement policy.
Technology in the boardroom, can help facilitate this culture growth and help protect it in many ways. Technology in the boardroom can combat inclusion issues, for example when certain voices are not being heard in open conversation. Technology can provide educational safe havens for NEDS, allowing for educational development around the role and easily accessible information. Audit trails of boardroom developments, strategic conversations and next steps can be easily recorded. Holistic advantages, alongside more traditional advantages of regulatory compliance and remote working involvement, make a powerful case for board tech.
We have seen from a recent QCA survey on Board Performance reviews on small to mid-sized quoted companies, that a significant number of boards are adopting more structured approaches in the boardroom to help facilitate effective reviews. In fact, 72% of these boards asked, use structured questionnaires as a method for annual assessment of the board; something that can easily be enhanced through technology. This type of approach allows boards to track specific themes or competency areas that may require attention. Boards are increasingly looking to technology to help facilitate this kind of approach to board evaluation.
Technology is driving a new era of board communication and can drive more effective external and self-evaluation board reviews. The necessity of board scrutiny and transparency, and the function of digital audit trails has already been mentioned but the critical role of information access – how to ensure intelligence on the right issues is shared among board members – is greatly improved through tech adoption.
An organisation where the organisational culture embraces these tools in the boardroom will have a greater chance of survival in a post pandemic world, but also a greater sense of itself – and its culture – through a structured, secure evolution of the evaluation process. The impact of technology on board oversight of regulation, risk, and compliance and how digital has eased the governance and administrative burden of board committees is significant and should be embraced by modern boards.