Better Manage and Engage Talent with Board Evaluations

board evaluationBoards are only as valuable as how well they perform.

Effective boards drive organizational vision, serve as internal and community leaders, and become vehicles of change. But when boards fall into slumps, reinvigorating them can prove difficult without a clear cause for their lack of performance.

Regular monitoring is crucial to achieve results-oriented boards. Progress check-ins and evaluations provide valuable insight, promote effective meetings and encourage engagement. Better manage board talent with these three monitoring strategies:

Individual Member Monitoring

Structured individual assessment exercises serve as checks-and-balances opportunities. Invite your board to share their opinions on pivotal initiatives, direction and organizational goals. Implement feedback sessions as either written forms, one-on-one discussions or via polls and messages on board portals. 

One-on-one discussions have the potential for more candid, honest answers, which can be probed deeper. Though still valuable, written performance evaluations limit responses and lack answer context.

Regardless of the collection mechanism, assessments give board members the chance to have their individual voices heard, while helping you align initiatives and goals organization wide. Presidents and Executive Directors should reach out to Trustees periodically to obtain feedback and advice.

Monitor Active Participation

Participation is more than a mark on a grade school report card. It’s an ongoing sign of how committed and engaged you are in a situation. Board participation is no exception.

Evaluate individual members on their attendance and contributions during meetings. To promote participation, consider implementing a board portal. These platforms give members the opportunity to join discussions and formulate ideas prior to meetings, allowing them to feel more prepared and willing to participate in person. They also keep track of attendance data, so you can easily identify those who are slacking.

When board members know that their attendance and participation are being tracked to pinpoint inefficiencies, members often feel valued and motivated to contribute.

Evaluate the Board Director

Don’t forget about yourself! Leadership needs to be evaluated to the same degree as board members. Offer members the opportunity to evaluate board directors for insight into what is and isn’t working in terms of management.

Evaluations can be conducted as reflections of performance versus plans, perceived strengths and weaknesses, or management skills and areas to improve. We recommend combining all three assessment types to gather the most comprehensive feedback.

Encourage anonymity for this process so members feel safe to share truthful answers. Evaluations can often be trying due to their inherent nature—exposing faults. Keep an open mind throughout the entire process for the best results.

Board assessments provide valuable opportunities to identify strengths and gaps in talent to improve overall board performance.

Download our ebook on board engagement to gain more insight and knowledge into managing an effective board.

Have you had success implementing evaluations within your board? Share your experiences below.

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