The Value Board Committees Contribute to Organisations

February 9, 2022

February 8, 2022

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Board Roles & Responsibilities

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Sean McDonald

With the pressures from shareholders and regulatory bodies, board agendas are consistently jam-packed with to-dos. And it is because of this and the little time boards have, becoming efficient in delegating, completing and discussing these items is key. 

This is precisely where board committees can come in, as they help set up a foundation where boards can handle issues that demand specialised expertise in different areas and subjects. 

As opposed to boards, board committees don’t have to complete or document routine tasks regularly. This means that board committees have more time to create agendas to focus on what matters most without wasting any time on other issues that in the grand scheme of things, are less important. 

The goal of board committees is to assess the specific talent, knowledge and skills of individual directors. With this, these specific directors can teach and enlighten the rest of the board on a particular subject or area of concern and provide any information they need. Board committees also allow boards to split their work into manageable chunks, thus helping them become more efficient. 

What are the advantages of setting up a board committee?

Some of the issues boards have to deal with are so complex that they require a lot more time than the board can spend in a meeting or two. Therefore, to properly deal with these issues, boards can set up board committees to cover specific topics and needs so they can be more efficient. 

Board committee members have strong accountability because they are assigned specific tasks to complete. Rather than relying on the rest of the board to make recommendations or amendments, board committee members now have specific responsibilities to fulfill. 

Board committees also allow board members the time they need to research different issues. Although they have limited time to address agenda items, board committee members are still expected to be thorough and diligent in their job while making the most of their time. Ultimately, boards want to receive comprehensive information presented concisely and clearly so they can make informed votes on specific, complex matters. 

Though board committees must have a wealth of expertise, their work often overlaps with other board committees. This is why the board designs them with multi-committee directors, to guarantee efficiency and avoid the risk of duplicity. As a result of this, this also allows broader participation from all board directors. 

Directors sitting on multiple board committees can share useful information and they tend to have unmatched expertise in many different areas. 

What is the purpose of a committee charter?

Committee charters define the duties, expectations and responsibilities of the board committees, as board committees are held accountable for providing appropriate reports to the entire board. 

But not only that, but committee charters also outline the limits of the board committee’s authority and any relevant timeframes. When board directors create the committee charter, they must do so while understanding that the board committee is mostly advisory. For this reason, the charter must be clear about the kinds of recommendations the board committee provides to the board. 

Who are the members of a board committee?

Board chairs don’t necessarily need to be an expert on the issue that the board committee is meant to address. However, they should understand the decision process very well so they can be effective facilitators and help guide the discussion. A good facilitator should have experience in leading the committee so it can reach its objective and complete the work. 

A board committee must consist of members who want to and are willing to spend whatever amounts of time and effort necessary to research the different issues. These board committee members may be directors or outside experts with the expertise that is required to fulfil the task. In addition, the president of the board should be the ex-officio representative in all the board committees.

It is also essential that board committee members understand the work they do for the committee is additional to the work they do for the board. They cannot and should not neglect either one or make sacrifices that would affect either of their roles. Board committees members need to understand the extra responsibilities, and therefore it is that much more important to find committee members who are dedicated and passionate about helping the board solve problems.

Committee members should be active and collaborative because their work is very focused on having discussions and building on the ideas of other members. They must be open to asking important questions and explore as many perspectives as necessary to reach a conclusion. As such, they must help each other elevate the competence of the available information and have the disposition to take extra time if necessary to find more sources of knowledge or expertise before presenting their final recommendations. The board committee must have active members because they are essential when it comes to arriving at the most helpful recommendations. 

How can technology support board committees?

Softwares, such as board portals, have made a big difference for boards in terms of efficiency. This technology is extremely helpful to committees that are responsible for such important tasks. The more tools boards have access to, the better. 

This is where BoardPro comes into play. An outstanding software solution, BoardPro reduces the risk of data breaches or hacks, offers a higher level of security than email platforms and provides committee members the peace of mind of knowing that all their interactions are safe and secure. Members of board committees are free to share all kinds of documents and information without having to worry about safety. 

Additionally, BoardPro includes user permissions to ensure that only the members of the committee have access to agendas, documents and minutes. BoardPro also makes the process of creating board agendas and keeping a record of official copies of meeting minutes a breeze.

BoardPro can be accessed both in the boardroom and remotely. Being mobile-friendly, board members have the convenience and the freedom to work from home, the office or other locations that may help them be more efficient. Overall, software solutions like this one support good governance principles and it helps board committees accomplish their goals more timely and effectively than ever before. 



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