Bringing on new board members to your association is exciting—new energy, new ideas, new experience and knowledge. But how can you onboard new members quickly, consistently and make it beneficial, both for them and the organization?
“Proper onboarding not only engages that new board member, but also integrates them with the existing members,” says Cristine Carpluk, vice president of customer experience at OnBoard, a maker of board management technology.
“They probably have a good amount of expertise, but what does that mean to the board? And what is their responsibility when they walk into that boardroom?”
Before new board members report for service, here’s a top hits list to help you ensure a smooth and successful experience—the five Ps of onboarding.
No. 1: Purpose
It’s important to orient new board members about the association’s mission and ground them in how they can help deliver on its purpose.
“It’s really getting everyone in alignment, getting everyone educated, and creating bonds between new board members and existing board members,” Carpluk says. “And to really understand what the goals of the organization are and how the new members can be effective in their roles.”
No. 2: Present, Past and Future
It’s also valuable to set the stage for where the association is now, where it came from and where it wants to go—and the missions tied to those journeys. That might include sharing past meeting minutes; current and past financials; information on strengths and weaknesses; potential threats as well as opportunities; and underlying strategic plans.
“That’s where the whole digital transformation is super important for boards, especially right now with every board typically being remote because of COVID-19,” Carpluk says.
“Having a board management solution can provide all members with a central repository where they can access all those materials, whether it’s historical information, board meeting minutes, financials, who the people are, bylaws and committee charters.”
New members have a responsibility here too, she points out, to make sure they read through all the materials so they’re ready to be an engaged and effective addition to your board.