Boards must operate efficiently and securely despite having to perform their duties in an ever-fluctuating economy. Economic and social issues are increasing in volume and complexity, forcing boards to stay on top of their game. Crises and major media happenings can happen in an instant, creating an impetus for board members to communicate swiftly. Cell phones are great for two-way conversations, but boards often need to have partial or full board discussions and collaborations in between meetings. In addition, those board members need the assurance that their board discussions will remain confidential and stay out of the wrong hands.
Electronic board portal solutions make it easy to connect and share information across the miles. It’s never been easier to manage and store documents than it is to store them in the cloud for safekeeping. Board portals assist busy board directors with managing and following up on tasks and seeing their projects through from start to finish.
Gathering Data and Collaborating
Well-composed boards bring varying perspectives from their experiences and network to board discussions. Having as much data as possible helps board directors make fully informed decisions when making strategic plans, evaluating risks and overseeing their organizations.
Board portals allow them to share links, reports, articles and other insights online for peer review. Having the ability to share information quickly and easily allows board members to attend meetings armed with better information, which leads to more interesting and valuable board discussions.
Clarifying Topics for Agendas for Productive Meetings
The best board meetings are insight-driven and results-oriented. Most board members know this and approach board meetings with that attitude. However, they’re often disappointed in how much their boards accomplish. According to the career advice magazine The Muse, upper management spends about half their time in meetings. Of those respondents, about 67% of executives expressed disappointment in the quality of their meetings because of the lack of productivity.
Communication is the key to having productive meetings. Going into meetings, board members should know what their end goal is for every agenda topic, and they should have the necessary information to take appropriate action steps related to their discussions. Good board communications help boards prioritize their discussion items and consider who or what may be affected by their decisions.
Board Portal Improves Communications Before Meetings
Board portals provide a secure and proper platform for building an organized agenda that sets the stage for productivity. Board members can use board portals to access upcoming board agendas in real time.
The portal allows them to share financial reports, committee reports and other supporting documents before meetings start, which gives board members the proper time to read and study them.
No one is a fan of last-minute additions to the board agenda, least of all the board secretary. Board portals allow for last-minute changes to board books without having to reprint the entire board book. Board portals make it possible to keep board books updated in spite of any last-minute changes.
Board administrators can set user permissions on the portal so that committees and workgroups can collaborate with each other securely and without fear of cyber attacks or phishing schemes.
Board Portal Improves Communications During Meetings
The board chair is the primary person with responsibility for engaging the full board. Boards that use board portals assure board chairs that their board has had plenty of time to review board materials and that they’re ready to engage in informed discussions. This makes it easier for board chairs to facilitate points of interaction during meetings. Having documents ahead of time keeps key individuals in the loop of board discussions and helps to foster robust discussions from varying perspectives.
Board Communications After Meetings
It’s a little easier for boards to stay connected when they meet at least monthly. However, some boards only meet on a quarterly or an annual basis. Board members may find it difficult to stay apprised of board matters when they’re not exposed to the issues as often as boards that meet on a more frequent basis.
Boards that utilize a board portal allow members to stay connected on the issues and with each other regardless of how infrequent their meetings are. Rather than checking in with other board members by phone or email on whether any issues are emerging in between board meetings, board administrators can set a board portal to notify all users when someone makes a change or an addition to the board portal. Board portals provide the necessary high level of security to keep board communications inside the board even when they occur only occasionally.
Laws and regulations can change between the times some boards have their meetings. Board members appreciate how board portals give them a platform for discussing sensitive issues in preparation for adding these items to the board agenda. The board portal ensures that their discussions remain confidential until they decide to formally release information.
Issues related to crises often demand that boards communicate and collaborate on an emergency basis. Board portals assist board members during times of crises, such as school shootings or safety issues on campus, so they can decide if they need to have an emergency meeting or hold a press conference immediately.
Board Portals Offer Mobility
Technology and transportation have made it possible for us to be a mobile society. Board directors expect to be able to communicate from any location they happen to be. National access to the internet makes it easy for boards to conduct their business remotely just as people who work from their homes do.
Not all board members are tech-savvy, but that doesn’t mean they can’t easily learn how to use a board portal and remain actively involved with board business. Board portals are intuitive and user-friendly by design. For those who don’t catch on quickly, BoardEffect offers many different types of training and full customer support to acclimate board directors to all the helpful features in the portal.
Board Portals Offer Security for Communications
It’s tempting for board members to use their personal emails out of convenience. Personal email platforms and many business email platforms weren’t designed with strong enough security measures to support the sensitivities that are inherent in board business. Corresponding via personal email accounts could subject boards to a troublesome phishing attack or data breach.
Furthermore, without the security of a board portal, some board members may hesitate to discuss matters over email, which forms a breakdown in board communication.
Consumer and stakeholder expectations continue to rise despite the cybersecurity risks and other challenges that board members face. Board portals like the products offered by BoardEffect improve communication, collaborations and productivity without sacrificing confidentiality and security. It’s a perfect solution for all types of industries from healthcare to financial services, and from nonprofits to every industry in between.