7 Tools To Support Corporate Governance

7 Tools To Support Corporate Governance

Good corporate governance protects employees through honest actions

If you're building or running a business, you want to make sure you have good corporate governance policies in place to avoid ethical conundrums that can break your business. Corporate governance ensures that all stakeholders in the company follow the rules and that each decision is made with the organization’s wellbeing in mind.

We consulted with six experts about their favourite tools and techniques for supporting corporate governance:

Questionnaires and Registers

Jessica Lipton, Founder of Elevate Delta 8, believes in having directors fill out a register of interest. This can make sure that the interests of the governing body align, or at least avoid conflict with the interests of the company.

"An organization should keep records of its governing body's financial interests and update them annually to discourage acts of self-interest. This assures shareholders as the register avoids conflicts of interest by letting them be known and by making them easier to manage."

There are a number of similar tools. Brian Dean, CEO and Co-Founder of Exploding Topics, favours the D&O Questionnaire, an extremely popular tool for keeping an eye on the interests of management.

"Directors and officers' questionnaires track directors' background, independence, and conflicts of interest. In terms of regulatory and fiduciary significance, the D&O questionnaire is critical in determining conflicts of interest and independence. The D&O questionnaire process is part of corporate governance professionals' responsibility to help boards succeed."

Board Evaluations

Another important tool is board evaluations. Amber Morland, CEO & Founder of WinCope, describes how a board evaluation can set you up for success every year. These evaluations are helpful when it comes to identifying pain points and planning for the next year.

"Director feedback is turned into strategic action with customizable board evaluations. Moreover, board evaluations assist organizations in identifying growth prospects by generating action plans for the following year. Questions in evaluations are frequently revised each year to reflect current events and societal developments and are swiftly communicated with the leadership team."

Lipton also echoed these thoughts when she suggested board evaluations.

"Board evaluation can help a business grow, increase engagement, and provide actionable feedback from directors. These evaluation forms are valuable tools that can identify growth opportunities by evaluating yearly results and building off them to prepare plans for the next year."

Board Portals

Matt Weidle, Business Development Manager of Buyer's Guide, recommends using board portals, which are becoming increasingly popular.

"Board portal is designed to expedite corporate governance operations, increase efficiency, and improve meeting effectiveness. A board site not only houses meeting materials but also serves as a single repository for historical meeting records, such as committee charters, bylaws, and certifications, strategic plans, and financial reports.”

Role Descriptions

Eric Carrell, Chief Marketing Advisor at Surfshark, believes that in order to prevent ethical misconduct, having a proper role description is a must.

"Role description tools like upBOARD for the entire board, individual board members, office bearers, and the CEO are all necessary. Giving them to possible new board members before they are appointed ensures that they understand what is expected of them. When role definitions are linked to the board member evaluation process, it becomes easier to identify effective behaviours and any gaps. Committees should have written terms of reference to ensure that they are undertaking board-level work and not overlapping with senior staff duties."

Away Days

Lipton believes in the power of an annual retreat called the "Board Away Day." She explains what it is and how it's beneficial to the organization.

"It entails a day away from the usual place of meeting to set a strategic direction for the entire organization. This is a useful corporate governance tool as it encourages thinking outside the box, builds morale, develops better internal relationships, and can help identify clear board objectives and skill gaps."

Calendars

Having a good calendar tool is a game-changer, says Dean. When important due dates are documented, and you're reminded about them well in advance, fewer things will slip through the cracks, and there will be fewer messes.

"Setting all of your meetings for the year and making sure all of your critical actions are outlined in a logical order can make a big difference. It's helpful to know when organization returns to statutory agencies are due, especially if there's a change in key personnel. Legal duties include ensuring that new directors are signed up as directors, and that retiring directors' resignations are communicated to the Companies Registration Office.

By agreeing on dates for all board and committee meetings, members will be more engaged, and committees will be able to report to the board in a timely manner. Calendars for governance, such as Calendly, can be linked to dates for releasing papers and meetings for the Chair and CEO to agree on the agenda and reports. As a result, proper preparation, which is critical to meeting quality, is possible."

Code of Conduct

Darsh Somashekar, Founder & CEO at Solitaired, finds that setting out a distinguished and defined code of conduct is the best way to support corporate governance.

"To be genuinely effective, a code of conduct should be created by the board and physically signed by each of its members to ensure a sense of ownership. Attendance, respectful listening, and giving and receiving comments are all governed by the code of conduct. It can significantly help in the development of trust, which is a crucial component of a high-performing board of directors."

When businesses implement and adopt the proper tools, this can only help drive the business in a direction towards success because these tools will help support that business' goals and objectives.

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photo Amanda Nieweler

Amanda Nieweler

Amanda writes for WhistleBlower Security about ethics, compliance, workplace culture, and whistleblower hotlines. Amanda brings her nearly two decades of risk and compliance experience to the WBS blog where she is dedicated to helping people and companies promote speak-up cultures.