Boardrooms are changing, how to keep up
What you need to know
- Like most things in the past two years, board meetings have had to adapt to our new working environment, which means virtual meetings are quickly becoming the new norm.
- Establishing clear guidelines and standards for both your administrator and board members ensures business is conducted as efficiently as possible.
- Organizations are in a unique position to interact with their member base more effectively with the adoption of the hybrid meeting formats.
After several years of quick and necessary pivots, many boards of directors and their organizations can pat themselves on the backs – you’ve found workarounds for processes, championed new ways of getting work done and continued your important work and meetings virtually and in hybrid models!
Some organizations are now saying, “Let’s get back to the way we used to do business.” But their board members are saying, “Not so fast.” The toothpaste is out of the tube, board members have experienced the convenience and flexibility of virtual board meetings and they’re not looking back. Organizational change can make people very uncomfortable, but adapting to meet the needs of the elected members who serve your organization shows true leadership. And solid, confident leadership is what shareholders, employees, members and customers are looking for, now more than ever. (Looking for more virtual boardroom best practices? We wrote a whole book on it)
So, how does your organization offer that flexible boardroom and maintain security and integrity?
Be in compliance
By now, your organization has likely been holding at least some digital board meetings, even if it has been in an urgent or emergency capacity. Be sure to check your bylaws and state statutes to ensure virtual meetings are allowed. If you haven’t yet done this or are unsure, check with your legal counsel. Overwhelmingly, there is now flexibility from states and organizations when it comes to allowing virtual meetings.
Even if a meeting is offered online, you are still required to send proper notice. Typically, the amount of notice required is driven by your organization’s bylaws, so check and make sure you’re giving the required amount of notice.
Establish rules, guidelines and best practices
Just as with in-person meetings, it’s important to establish rules, guidelines and standards and communicate them widely with all attendees. Items of frequent discussion include:
* Which online meeting program best fits our organization’s needs?
* Cameras on or off for everyone?
* Are custom backgrounds allowed? Should everyone utilize a standard background to minimize distractions?
* Is there a dress code?
* Should participants mute themselves at all times unless they’re speaking?
* How will meetings be moderated?
* How would you like participants to notify moderators they’d like to be recognized to speak?
Be ready to offer assistance to those who want or need it.
Come up with a voting plan
Meeting online is now second nature to many people. Voting online, however, can be an entirely different story.
Meetings with 10 or more participants need a formal method for motions, ensuring adequate time for discussion, drafting motions, opening and closing voting and adding motions as they arise. Votes need to be official, recorded and follow a procedure often laid out in the bylaws.
So, how does your group do that and maintain the integrity, confidentiality and security of the vote while also remaining flexible and open to changes or additions?
SBS created Real-Time Voting Software in response to requests from our member organization partners. Real-Time Voting Software has revolutionized how virtual meetings are managed and virtual votes are cast. This pioneering digital voting tool can be paired with any web conference platform and makes voting easy and user-friendly during board meetings.
Each board member can participate in your organization’s meeting using their own device with unique login credentials to confirm their vote is cast and properly counted. Only designated administrators are provided the number of votes cast, while the identity of member voters can remain anonymous or be kept confidential based on your voting requirements.
If new motions arise during the meeting and require a vote, meeting administrators can simply add those via the simply dashboard and members can vote as they do for previously planned motions.
If your organization is ready for the secure, official future of boardroom flexibility, give our Real-Time Voting Software a try today!
Cole Caldwell has been a Marketing Specialist at SBS since 2022. He holds a B.S. in Entrepreneurship from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Cole oversees company communications, branding, and product launches, making www.surveyandballotsystems.com the go-to source for governance best practices. He’s known for hosting educational webinars, presenting at national trade events, and publishing guides to boost voter engagement.