Best Practices to Attract Younger Directors | Aprio

Retirements looming? Best practices to attract younger directors

Recruitment and revitalization are some of the toughest challenges facing boards today. As a recent KPMG report reveals, 80% of S&P 500 boards have an average age in the 60s, and there is little difference by industry or company size. Older board members are retiring and needing new ones to take their place. And new members will be drawn from a workforce that, according to Leading with Vision, will be 75% Millennials by 2025.

In this environment, the practice of finding new board members through current members’ connections is not enough. And trying to recruit new members without taking stock of whether you have outdated governance practices is also sure to fail.

Here are five board best practices to attract qualified, next-generation board members.

  1. Align to a vision. As the 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey reveals, the younger generation is full of business idealists. They want to make business better and aspire to make positive contributions. Your organization’s vision can spur them into action, and they will be motivated to support you because of what you’re trying to achieve.How you communicate your vision is important, too. In board meetings, reminders of your purpose should be woven into each meeting, and decisions should be tested against your broader mission.
  2. Provide a chance to learn. Potential board members are looking to learn from peers, find mentors, and increase their business networks. Establishing mentoring relationships between new and older board members can help provide this support. Providing connections to other directors live and online, plus providing self-serve access to a knowledge base, is essential. Your board portal is critical here.
  3. Run high-input meetings. This point may seem obvious, but younger directors will want to contribute, and to make a difference. We hear very positive feedback from young directors about having a digital agenda in a board portal with direct links to related documents, and time-boxed discussions. Directors old and young are best engaged with focused, efficient meetings that discuss strategic topics and address difficult issues. Ask for the fresh perspectives of new board members where relevant, and be candid about the knowledge they must gain to help make informed decisions. They will welcome the challenge.
  4. Offer anywhere, anytime access. Seventy-five percent of Millennial workers value mobility, and 77 percent want more mobile connectivity in their jobs (2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey). As you engage younger directors, you will find a demographic used to juggling their commitments their way.Younger board members will simply expect to see board documents on their tablet or laptop. They will expect you to have board technology that’s intuitive and comprehensive. If you rely only on email, they’ll be frustrated by the manual effort to stay apprised, and are likely to flag the security hazards.
  5. Recruit for diversity. Across industries and organization types, up-and-coming new leaders increasingly strive to be part of diverse, progressive organizations. To be attractive, organizations need to consider opportunities to increase gender, age, ethnic, and racial board diversity. Recruiting highly connected, diverse next-generation leaders also gives you reach into their personal networks for future recruits

Want to evaluate how a simple, affordable board portal can modernize how your board works? Our training is proven to engage directors old and young. Let us give you a tour.

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