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Your Board and Employees – The Best they Can Be?

Looking after your Board and Employees – we explore how the right training and professional development can be the key to success!

There’s something about September that, even after we’ve all long left school, sparks the idea of ‘new beginnings’, time to refresh and perhaps think about the possibility of self-improvement, improving our skills and thinking about training and professional development.

Board training and continued development

Whether your company is a listed public one, private, not for profit or a charity, it is imperative that the Board members are skilled, knowledgeable and have appropriate experience for their role. Whilst directors or trustees should already have relevant skills, abilities and experience on appointment, the continued effectiveness of these individuals in a Board environment will depend on the ability and desire to extend and refresh their skills and knowledge. This should start with receiving an appropriate induction on appointment.

Director Induction

Inductions should be tailored to the individual and their content will largely depend on whether the person is coming onto the Board from inside or outside of the company. An executive being appointed to the Board should already have a detailed knowledge of the company’s business but may need to receive a heavier focus on the role of the Board, corporate governance, and how it fits into the strategic direction of the company, for example. A non-executive coming into the business for the first time will need to learn about the company’s business and get to know the executives.

Here are some areas that could form part of a suitable induction programme:

  • The role of the board and committees including matters reserved for the Board
  • Powers and duties of directors as dictated by law and the company’s governing document
  • Format of board meetings (frequency; contribution of directors; role of the Chair and Company Secretary)
  • Board responsibilities for governance
  • How the Board monitors risk and internal controls
  • Oversight of management
  • Relationships with shareholders and other stakeholder groups
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Potential liabilities of directors

Ongoing Training and Development

Many companies may provide a detailed induction programme for their new directors, but may not realise the importance of ensuring continued training and development. The new Corporate Governance Code states that individual directors should “take appropriate action when development needs have been identified”. But it is widely accepted that companies of all sizes and in all industries benefit from a trained and skilled Board at the top.

Ongoing training may include:

  • Learning about statutory and regulatory duties
  • Learning about the responsibilities and potential liabilities of directors
  • Specific training on areas such as Health & Safety responsibilities; Data Protection; Risk Management; Regulatory changes
  • Leadership Skills
  • Strategic thinking
  • Understanding Finance for non-financial directors

Training can take place in many forms from bespoke training delivered face to face, to webinars and online courses and Boards should consider a range of different tools to help deliver the best professional development to its Board members.

Training and development beyond the Board Room

It is also imperative that companies invest in their employees in the form of providing effective and appropriate training and development opportunities. Earlier this year, Jeff Boss writing for forbes.com, said that employee turnover is the highest it’s been in 10 years. Further, Victoria Willis of thehrdirector.com recently advised that “millennials are predicted to have exhausted four different jobs by the time they are 31”. The cost of staff turnover can be high and seriously eat into a company’s profits. As well as the monetary cost of hiring and training a new recruit, and carrying vacancies in the meantime, there is also the equally valuable loss of knowledge and skills every time someone leaves.

One way to help boost retention is to invest in employees by providing effective training, development and where possible, career progression. A survey carried out by Webrecruit found “53% of candidates are attracted to a company because of its career development paths including training, progression and qualifications, compared to just 10% who are most attracted by salary.”

Boards should therefore spend some time looking at the company’s HR strategy; considering turnover levels and employee satisfaction and whether it supports optimum staff retention.

For assistance with Board individual and group training and development, or any other Governance needs, please contact us here to find out more.

Sources: ICSA Corporate Governance, 5thEdition; ICSA Corporate Administration, 6thEdition; https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffboss/2018/02/26/employee-turnover-is-the-highest-its-been-in-10-years-heres-what-to-do-about-it/#161ceb7f478c; https://www.thehrdirector.com/features/career-development/employee-turnover-millennials/; http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hub/206900/file-66589059-pdf/Retention