Encouraging your entire board to embrace a new technology, like a board portal, isn’t always a walk in the park. Some members may be stuck in their ways, and others simply won’t see the value.
Structuring your rollout and training your members is crucial to the adoption process. Keep reading for best practices and tips for implementing a board portal at your organization.
Plan Ahead For Rollout and Training
Make sure organizational leadership and trustee leadership is on board. Their support will help drive adoption. Reiterate why you’ve made this investment, and how it will help members as a group and on an individual level.
Clarify that the portal will help the board organize materials, schedules and tasks. Reinforce the need to stay compliant and how a board portal helps by enforcing stronger security, improved recordkeeping and digitized processes. Describe tracking and reporting capabilities to improve engagement and progress toward strategic goals.
Everyone should attend training sessions to become proficient at using the portal. Patience is key during these. Members are likely on different levels when it comes to their technical skills. During training, identify those who pick up on the software quicker. Let these members take the lead and continue the rollout.
Some vendors also supply training and support services, including product demos.
Set a Realistic Implementation Timeline
Look at your organization’s current processes and decide where to integrate your board portal. While members will go through training and have access to materials to continuously learn, it may be helpful to review specific features with them. For example, at your next board meeting, perhaps you review how the agenda functionality works. If you haven’t used agendas in the past, the meeting should be more structured and efficient than normal, helping to demonstrate the technology’s benefits.
Or, migrate organization-wide documents onto the portal to show how it’s done and how they are accessible via desktop or mobile devices. Overtime, members will become more comfortable adding documents on their own. As a result, less time will be wasted locating documentation, and there will be a decrease in attachment-heavy email chains.
A transition period is necessary when working with new technology. Start out slow, and gradually let members embrace the portal. Members will appreciate the flexibility to move between old processes and the board portal. This is where internal champions can step up to the plate to promote portal usage and answer questions. A vendor that offers support for employees who have questions along the way is also valuable.
Reinforce Portal Use Often
Begin using the board portal to facilitate communication right away to bring members into the system. Refer to the portal in daily conversation, and use it during meetings. This helps board members see the portal’s value in real-case scenarios.
Ready to get started with a new board portal? Download a copy of our free purchasing guide to compare board management solutions and identify what features your board needs the most.
Image Source: Stephan Ridgway