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January 18, 2022

Three Strategies to Find Your Board’s Best Fit

Practical Tips for Recruiting New Board Members

Board members have an immense impact on the current and future success of an organization. When a board vacancy comes up—or when a company is creating a board of directors for the first time—choosing the right members is crucial.

When there’s an open board position, the pressure to fill it can lead some organizations to act in haste. In an effort to keep operations running smoothly, the position is sometimes given to the first name mentioned, without due process.

Don’t let a pressing deadline lead to blindspots and rushed decisions. Take your time when choosing new board members, and use these three strategies.

Pause & Define the Role

Prior to launching the search for a new board member, company executives and the board of directors should outline the responsibilities, expectations, and criteria for the incoming member. Defining the role can help narrow the board recruitment search and ensure the board finds the best fit. 

As with a job posting, an open board position should list key duties and responsibilities, as well as details about the commitment. Board directors and executives should also consider what necessary skills or other requirements will qualify candidates for the position. 

The board of directors should identify what an ideal candidate will bring to the board, including their

  • Skills
  • Experience 
  • Values
  • Diverse perspective
  • Connections and network

As the board identifies what a new member could bring to the organization, existing board members may look at what skills or qualities their current board lacks. A new recruit can fill gaps in experience, knowledge, and skills. The outline of responsibilities and other recruitment materials can be stored within a board portal. 

Once the role has been defined, use the following strategies for the board recruitment process. 

Strategy 1: Establish a search committee

Boards often make use of committees in order to fulfill specific tasks. So, why not create a search committee in order to find and screen candidates?

“Committee members must have a clear understanding of the extensive and time-consuming process of vetting candidates.”

These committees are typically organized by the board of directors. They may include board members and those who are part of the organization in other capacities. Committees should have a chair head to help coordinate the recruitment process. The structure of your search committee may be stipulated by your bylaws. If not, discover the best structure for your organization. 

Committee members must have a clear understanding of the extensive and time-consuming process of vetting candidates. They must also have a firm commitment to the process. 

The roles and responsibilities of a search committee may include

  • Develop application requirements for candidates
  • Identify and assess candidates
  • Interview applicants
  • Coordinate background checks and risk assessments, where necessary
  • Present candidates to the board and/or select the new board member

Finding a board member with values, skills, and experience that align with your board may be challenging, but the significance of an excellent board candidate cannot be understated. Take your time with the process in order to protect your organization. 

Strategy 2: Reach out to investors for recommendations

The gut reaction of most board members is to look within their own network to fill a board vacancy. This isn’t necessarily a bad idea. Someone already in your circle of influence may be the perfect person for the role. 

But limiting yourself to your own network, or the network of other current board members, can be restrictive.

Instead, consider leveraging the network of the company’s investors. They are, as their name suggests, invested in the success of the organization. Investors own shares of the company, and they want the company they partially own to thrive. 

Since investors have experience and skin in the game, they are a great resource for identifying potential board members who could improve the board or directors’ effectiveness. 

Strategy 3: Find a recruitment network

Recruitment networks are designed to help corporations recruit and assess board members. These platforms allow organizations to cast a wider net and find talent from various backgrounds and locations. They also streamline the process of board search and evaluation. 

Using these tools, boards can contact and communicate with prospects, and they can also use reports to analyze and track recruitment efforts. These platforms serve as a form of the vetting process, too, since the people in their network are typically credentialed. 

Contact Govenda

Govenda is a secure board portal software, designed by corporate governance professionals to transform the way companies engage and collaborate with their board. By providing a unified solution for preparing and managing board meetings, file sharing, electronic voting and surveys, eSignatures, and more, companies increase efficiency and save time. 

Trusted by more than 25,000 board members worldwide, Govenda ensures a streamlined and persistent partnership between organization executives and their board of directors.   

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