Best practices for board governance in digital age | Aprio
modern board governance
November 17, 2020
Ian Warner

Best practices for modern board governance in the digital age

When the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in the spring of 2020, it forced boards to work remotely, changed how board of directors behave and communicate, and ultimately reshaped board governance.

With remote working arrangements and virtual meetings here to stay, how do boards stay on top of modern board governance in this new era of digital transformation? Here’s some best practices to consider.

Best practices to incorporate into your modern board governance

Lead with an eye to the future

Adopting a forward-thinking philosophy involves readying your board to expect the unexpected, and that means empowering your board to work remotely and embracing new technology.

As the pandemic has illuminated, in times of business disruption or a crisis situation, your board must be able to function remotely. The pandemic upended everything, but many practices adopted out of necessity may be here to stay—like more virtual board meetings. 

With the shift to remote board work, board technology has become essential to help directors connect with each other and prepare for and participate in board meetings. 

Prioritize privacy and security

Despite the advantages of the shift to remote work, there’s a dark reality as well: an unprecedented rise in cybersecurity threats. Experts at Deloitte point to a drastic escalation in phishing scams, hacking and ransomware attacks. There’s even an increase in individuals impersonating CEOs

The time is now to make it a priority to safeguard your data. Take inventory of the data protection and security measures you employ right now and take an honest look at any weaknesses. If you haven’t already done so, carry out an audit to gauge how your security measures up including for your board technology

Recruit with a focus on diversity

Recruiting new directors is a way to bring passion and fresh insight to your board. Getting recruitment and orientation right helps new directors to quickly contribute value and feel engaged and accountable to help realize your vision.

Diversity—whether it’s gender, age, or ethnicity—brings forth innovative ideas that help your organization best compete in the future. Amy Nelson, CEO of Point West Credit Union and member of our expert panel on modern board management explains: “The value of having a diverse board is that we are better prepared to understand the needs of a variety of populations and hone our services to their specific needs.” 

modern board governance for virtual board meetings

Foster board engagement

Boards are most effective when they achieve a level of top engagement from directors. Board engagement is more than showing up on time, attending meetings and casting votes. It also means having directors who challenge the status quo, initiate productive debates, and consistently consider how they make a contribution to the board, organization, and community at large.  

Equip your board with tools that make communication easy while ensuring information exchange is simple and secure. When board engagement conditions are right, innovative thinking emerges along with the ability to take on new challenges.

Get the full guide to modern board governance in the digital age

It’s never been more important to design a strategic approach to best practices in modern board governance. Administrators and directors need tools and techniques to be agile to ensure the board operates efficiently and can address the needs of their stakeholders when it counts the most.

Learn more on each best practice above, plus see additional ones to incorporate into your modern board governance by downloading the Guide to Board Governance in the Digital Age.

Download the Guide to Board Governance in the Digital Age

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