Volunteer and Young Board Members Need Development


There are many factors that result in an effective board: a defined recruitment process for candidates, accountability, diversity of both backgrounds and ideas, a varied range of expertise, accountability, chemistry between individual board members as well as with the CEO and staff, a sound strategic plan, knowledge and experience among others. The list is long and daunting, especially for new and inexperienced board members. Yet many organizations are increasingly interested in bringing on relatively inexperienced directors—in part due to a trend toward having younger board members but also to gain new perspectives.

The focus on younger, less experienced board members may be due, in part, to the need for missing talent, skills or expertise. In particular, boards say they lack expertise in technology, which is why it may be important to note that of new directors under 50, 34 percent have a background in technology or telecommunications.

Most in-demand skills chart

Having the right level of technical literacy is currently one of the top trends for governance, as many boards find themselves struggling to keep up with the pace of innovation, especially in the financial services sphere.

Hit the ground running

First-time board directors have their work cut out for them. Doubly so if they lack industry-specific knowledge or CEO-level experience. Companies are running into the challenge of getting these board members to hit the ground running. Credit unions need to identify knowledge gaps in their board and pinpoint areas where their board could use additional training or governance support.

Factors for improving board performance

Is board development needed? Questions credit unions need to ask themselves:

Consider a dedicated governance software solution

Instead of reinventing the wheel, credit unions should consider free or affordable resources that aid in building and training their boards. The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) offers a video series that covers a number of topics applicable to board members, including mergers, succession planning and understanding financial statements.

For credit unions looking for more in-depth and sophisticated tools, there is also dedicated software, such as CU Solution Group’s governance solutions.

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