According to our 2015 Board Engagement Report, board member satisfaction is decreasing. From 2014 to 2015, it dropped by eight percentage points. In addition, 13% of boards believe they have little to no impact on the organization’s strategic direction.
Low member engagement can lead to high board turnover rates. Boards must identify the causes of disengagement and take proactive steps to overcome them to foster long-term member relationships.
Identify a Disengaged Board
To address disengaged board members, you need to recognize red flags:
- Low meeting attendance is a clear warning sign of disengagement. Know who is attending meetings, or missing them, by tracking presence. An attendance record makes it clear who may be at risk for turnover.
- Members who don’t follow through with commitments may lack interest in projects or need more clarification. Solve this by clearly defining roles, responsibilities and expectations, and keeping record of members’ skillsets to assign projects accordingly. Aligning projects with skills can increase member interest and improve results.
- Frustration and a negative attitude from board members are noticeable symptoms of dissatisfaction. Though there are a number of causes, this can be partially alleviated by making it clear to members how their efforts make a difference. Members should know how their work and time impacts the organization’s mission.
The Keys to Board Satisfaction
Now that you know what to look for as precursors to board member turnover, it’s important to know what engages members and leaves them satisfied.
- Gather feedback. The best way to know if your board members are satisfied is to ask them. Only 64% of members think their board has a process in place to collect, evaluate and implement suggestions. Yet, members who believe their opinions are valued by the board are more satisfied overall.
- Stay organized. When board resources, such as meeting minutes, documents, communication and data, are accessible, organized and easy to use, board member satisfaction increases from 53% to 82%.
- Tie together efforts, strategy and results. Clarify how boards are making an impact on the organizations they’re serving. Thirteen percent of board members feel that their impact is little to none. This leads to frustration, negative attitudes, disengagement and, ultimately, board turnover.
- Define expectations. Board members need to know exactly what is expected of them. Clearly defined expectations lead to higher deliverability on commitments, less member frustration and a lower turnover rate. In fact, when board expectations and role responsibilities are not defined, 50% are satisfied, compared to 80% when they are.
Download our 2015 Board Engagement Report for more facts and statistics about member engagement.
Have you had to address your board’s turnover rate? Share your experience below.
Image Source: National Farm Worker’s Ministry