Perspectives on Virtual Onboarding

Governance consultancy Spencer Stuart recently discussed the challenge of onboarding executives in the remote environment. Many boards have continued to hire and recruit even during the pandemic, finding creative ways to interview and get to know new and potential board members. Spencer Stuart’s article highlights several helpful principles for boards, some included below, that are adding new members despite not meeting in person.

  • Virtual introductions to management: A sponsor or mentor director can brief the incoming director about who the key stakeholders in management are and how to engage with them effectively. Boards may wish to develop a “deliberate strategy” for initiating and developing these relationships with management.
  • Learning board culture: A mentor/sponsor director can provide guidance on board culture virtually. For example, a mentor/sponsor director may debrief the newer director after virtual meetings or make quick one-on-one calls after an important group discussion to help the new director “get a read on the culture.” A mentor/sponsor director may also provide informal feedback to the newer director on how she is interacting and communicating with the board.
  • Facilitate better communication: Many boards are having shorter, yet more frequent meetings. Spencer Stuart supports these frequent meetings and suggests directors find other ways to make communication more meaningful. “Create rapport in team meetings by starting with a personal check-in and sharing your experiences; be authentic. Encourage informal virtual interactions (coffee, lunch, happy hours, etc.).”