It is good practice to provide a
structured, comprehensive and practical orientation to the activities,
policies and structure of the association.
Board induction is
essential to ensuring that new board members become productive
contributors to the Board as quickly as possible.
Roles and responsibilities
well designed board induction process will help to ensure that new
board members are aware of their roles and responsibilities and to
understand the organisation's objectives and operations. It will assist
new board members to more easily grasp the processes, procedures and
aims of the organisation, which will in turn help to boost their
confidence and decision making.
Most induction programs for board members only include a series of organisational papers. These papers typically include:
- the constitution
- board minutes
- organisational charts
- the last annual report
- strategic plan
- governance policies and procedures
- governance handbook
- copies of the past financial statements.
major problem with this type of induction program is that it almost
solely relies on the director reading masses of information that are
primarily historical in nature. Whilst these documents are essential to
bring the director up to speed with information, there is also the risk
that the director will not be ready to contribute to the discussions and
decision making of the board.
This unwillingness to contribute
can often be attributed to the director feeling they do not understand
the culture of the board, or that they are unsure of what they need to
know or ask.
A more strategic and conscious governance induction program focuses on the key behaviours and attributes.
A well planned board induction process should ensure that the following are considered:
- The process of decision making is explained
- The types of values and expectations of the board are highlighted
- The key roles of the board are discussed and what these mean in terms of expectations of the director
key legal requirements of the director are discussed, and particularly
what this means in terms of behaviour and expectations of the board
induction program should also include the facility for the director to
self-assess their knowledge in key areas, and to seek further
clarification and knowledge where needed
- A number of board induction programs include a mentor system.
Questions to ask your board about board I=induction:
- Do we have a formal Board induction program?
- What are the key expectations of the Board?
- What are the critical documents I must read in the first three months?
- Does the Board have a formal mentor system to assist new directors?
- Who are the key people I need to meet?