The board of directors is the person responsible for the well-being and smooth running of their organization. For the board to be truly effective, the entire board is expected to attend the meeting, and it doesn’t matter whether in person, remotely, or by proxy. Regular attendance contributes to improved decision-making and is a sign of a responsible participant. However, is the board only for directors? In this article, we’ll break down who can attend board meetings, and why attendance is so important to the meeting.
Why board meeting attendance is important
Board attendance is the responsibility of every board member. For some good reason, not all directors can attend a particular meeting; instead, they can attend remotely, or send a proxy. But if members don’t attend the board regularly, without taking any action to support discussions, votes, and so on, it causes some problems for other members. First, they lose a lot of time so that non-regular participants can keep up to date and vote consciously, and second, they have to listen to their reports for months at a time, not just one.
But there is simply no alternative in such cases, for if the board chooses not to initiate the occasional member into the present situation, they will be harming the entire meeting process and the company in principle by voting without any knowledge. Thus, the irregular attendance of board members interferes with the full conduct of business, and they waste a lot of other members’ time that could have gone into planning the future of the company.
Also, poor attendance harms the working relationship between directors, creating an inequality effect, and impairing management performance.
Can non-board members attend board meetings?
A non-board member may attend a board meeting only by invitation of the chairperson or another board member on behalf of the board. It is up to the council to determine the item(s) or portion of the meeting that the guest may attend. Non-council members shall not participate in the discussion of items at a council meeting unless asked to do so by the chair, and shall never participate in council decisions.
The chair shall warn outside guests that as a condition of their attendance at the meeting, they must refrain from discussing any issues raised at the meeting with non-board members. If an outside guest is provided with any council papers, access to them is restricted only during the meeting, unless special alternative arrangements are made for their use and return.
How do I increase board attendance?
Below we will highlight a few recommendations on how to increase the frequency of attendance at your board of directors:
- Attendance policies – Attendance policies are rules that are a must, without them, meeting attendance will be out of control. You can shape them yourself, for example, you can spell out the measures you will be forced to take if a board member misses meetings, and you can also set permission for “non-physical” attendance of a member
- Focus on the company – The board leader is also responsible for attendance, so he or she should make sure that all board members receive notices and invitations about the meeting, and any additional materials that would help attendees prepare
- Time management-The effectiveness of meetings, and the frequency of attendance, is greatly improved when a member knows that their leader values their time, and will not delay them indefinitely for minutes or even hours