Five Tips for Engaging new Credit Union Board Members

9/4/18

Credit Unions invest time and effort to recruit new board members but can sometimes gloss over orientation.

In our experience serving hundreds of organizations with the Aprio board portal, we’ve observed how a little time spent onboarding new directors can pay off in getting new directors engaged quickly and maintaining board meeting productivity.

“The role of credit union Board members is becoming more important than ever and Aprio’s board portal eases the administrative efforts so that credit unions can focus on what’s important – their members,” said Jason Smith, Northwest Credit Union Association VP of Strategic Resources.

Here are some steps credit unions should consider at the outset:

Get critical issues out front
Executive role: Sometimes organizations try to put a very positive spin on their strengths and successes during recruitment, but a director can only contribute to resolving issues if they also know an organization’s challenges. Meet with new directors one-on-one or as a group and share essential information about the organization’s strategic priorities, risks faced, and key decisions ahead for the year. Share how key strategic topics will be addressed in board meetings.

Be clear on accountability for security and meeting prep
Executive role: Inform new directors that they are under board obligation to behave with utmost care for privacy, confidentiality, and protection of the organization’s strategic goals. Increasingly, high-performance boards also mandate that directors be well prepared for meetings, reading key materials in advance and sometimes relaying key questions for prioritization before meetings. If the chair will be using a board portal to solicit pre-meeting input online and monitor director login behaviour, say so up front.

Provide easy access to board information and meeting details
Administrator role: Strive to provide secure self-serve access to timely information online to make a director’s role convenient while keeping information secure. Using board portal software can be a big help to directors and administrators. However you manage information and communication, walk through how meeting dates, agendas, and board packages are shared. Be clear about how to communicate securely, including emphasizing no emails on confidential topic. If your board portal provider offers director training like Aprio does, line up a session for each new director.

Partner up
Veteran directors’ role: It’s more comfortable to ask a peer for help than the board chair. Pair up your new recruits with an experienced director for support.

Follow up
Administrator role: In the week after the first two board meetings for new directors, follow up by asking if they are getting what they need.

Have other tips for effectively engaging new directors? Please share your ideas – email them at info@aprio.net. To learn more, check out this article by Aprio.