What does a successful boardroom review process look like in 2022?

Share this article on...

successful boardroom review

The boardroom culture is changing. I doubt anyone thinks the forbidding and remote director stereotype still exists in a modern business environment, but that does not mean that the boardroom is a perfect place. The workplace has changed dramatically in the last few years, and as new cultures and working practices embed, there is naturally a desire to extend the benefits to the top-level management. Reviewing and then reacting to the findings of a review processes are key to development in any area of a business. However, the unique nature of being at the top of the management structure can make recognising the need for change (if there is one) and the implementation of any cultural or practical adjustments challenging. 

Recent changes in the workplace 

It is almost impossible to talk about reviewing any part of the workplace without reflecting on several recent significant changes to the culture of the working environment that are acting as catalysts for change. Of course, the top of the list when it comes to stimuli affecting work culture is the pandemic. It has had a profound effect on how employers and employees see the workplace and what constitutes being ‘at work’. Working from home (WFH) and hybrid contracts have had a significant impact. New measures for everything from employee engagement to cybersecurity have been implemented as WFH become, if not the norm, certainly a very large part of many job roles. 

There has been a notable increase in the awareness of the importance of diversity and inclusion in recent history. The competitive and employee welfare benefits of targeting a more inclusive work environment are now high on the agenda of many board meetings. Health and wellbeing and specifically increased recognition of the role mental wellness plays in a successful workforce have also played a very important part in changing cultures. 

Add into this mix the financial and commercial impact of the last two years and, of course, Brexit, and you cannot help but see the reason why boardroom review may well be more a necessity than a desirable goal. 

What does boardroom review look like? 

Undoubtedly, there will be an increased reliance on digital in the coming year and beyond. That will mean ensuring compliance with not just the legislative requirements of GDPR and privacy but also internal processes. Cybersecurity is, therefore, likely to form part of any review at board level. Virtual board meetings in themselves, for example, require different parameters. Video conference environments tend to benefit from strict agendas and clear guidelines, and that can be a cultural change from the freer exchange of a face-to-face meeting. There is a real opportunity presented by digital, though, in the form of online productivity and task mapping tools. 

Ensuring board members are aware and educated on the changes happening throughout the workplace is another important factor. That could mean training as well as changes to more traditional practices. Additionally, more and more board-level decisions are being made with an awareness that the board themselves may well benefit from a clearer focus on the same diversity and wellbeing goals as the wider workforce. 

A review is likely to follow some clear steps which need to be decided in advance of the process. Naturally, these are likely to vary based on the local circumstances, but a general framework is probably going to be along the lines of: 

  • The board and any advisors meet to define the objectives of a review. 
  • A ‘buy in’ is agreed where the board members concur on the goals of the review and take the all-important step of agreeing to abide by and implement the outcomes. 
  • Approach, timescales and methodology are decided, and a leader is chosen to spearhead the initiative. This may be internal or, as is often the case, facilitated by someone outside the business. For boards with long-standing relationships or a family business, an outsider may well be a good choice. 
  • The process of review and evaluation begins. 
  • A midpoint review of progress is likely. 
  • Highly practical action plans and feedback for improvement are presented and approved. 
  • Key performance indicators are used to measure ongoing success. 

As with all development processes involving the senior management, the repercussions of any changes adopted (or not) will echo into the workplace and affect the ethos and company culture. The most pivotal aspect of any process of review is the same at board level as it is anywhere in the business. Everyone must accept the result of the review and agree to implement the results. 

In the rapidly changing business environment that is likely to be the norm for the foreseeable future, review and change at board level could well be one of the most valuable tools for any successful company. 

Posted in

Subscribe to our email updates

Receive all our latest blogs and "In Conversation" articles straight to your inbox

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.