• By: Jenni Burton
  • September 16, 2020
Reading Time: 4 minutes

We are all still adjusting to the massive change experienced in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a company that builds collaboration and meeting tools for boards and leadership teams, all of us at OnBoard are incredibly proud to see boards quickly adapting to video conferencing tools, virtual meetings, and remote governance. Our customers have proven to be resilient and dedicated!

As boards continue to adjust and adapt, we are excited to see boards and leadership teams using a key OnBoard feature – surveys – to boost their productivity. Surveys enable meeting organizers with the ability to request board and committee members answer questions, collect opinions, or vote. Survey participants then submit their responses or votes, and the results are automatically recorded. These results can then be exported in a number of different ways, making decision-making, record-keeping, and compliance easier for your organization.


Below are five recommendations on how to use surveys to drive board success in 2020 and beyond.

1. Adjust Meeting Cadence & Times

From the moment COVID-19 forced most organizations to go remote, we saw a substantial uptick in the cadence of virtual meetings for a portion of our customers. Others were forced to pause all meetings. Now is a great time to survey board members on what meeting cadence feels appropriate and effective. Additionally, it can be valuable to ask questions about specific times, dates, meeting length preferences, and availability. After all, nearly everyone’s calendar has changed in some way.



Be sure to verify that your bylaws permit virtual meetings and update them if need be. Additionally, it may be pertinent to review any of your users’ technology needs. After all, remote and virtual meetings will remain the status quo for quite some time.

2. Realign Committees

Everyone’s world has changed, and you may need to rely on your board for more support than usual. Understanding where board members’ interests and knowledge are and aligning this with vital business decisions will continue to play an essential role in your organization’s governance. For example, a board of trustees for a university will need to call upon board members with specific expertise in eLearning and technology adoption.

Utilizing a survey to gain these insights has two benefits. First, it allows for less vocal members to express themselves. Second, CEO’s can obtain a deeper understanding of where the board members can be the most engaged and impactful for the business.

3. Revise (or Confirm) Missions & Values

Because COVID-19 has impacted every organization in substantial ways, many are taking another look at their core mission and values. Many are even revising or updating them to reflect their changed environment.

Using a survey to understand board feedback on these potential revisions is a great way to garner outside perspective. It also ensures any significant changes are well-vetted and considered by the board and leadership team.


4. Provide Feedback on Leadership or Board Candidates

Even during a pandemic, practical business needs must still be met. That means both leadership and board candidates are being interviewed, vetted, and eventually added to the team. Utilizing surveys not only serves as a mechanism to quickly get your board members’ feedback, but it also centralizes all of that feedback in one single source for easy information retrieval and access. This simplified structure can speed up decision making, especially in the early stages of candidate evaluation.

Extending this idea even further, Forward Bank used OnBoard’s survey tool to conduct an annual board evaluation survey and assess its performance.

5. Make Decisions Fast From Anywhere and On Any Device

OnBoard supports boards who need to make high impact decisions from anywhere and on any device. It equips directors and leadership with the voting and approval tools needed to organize, track, review, comment, and approve decisions quickly. For example, the State of Alaska Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing uses OnBoard to eliminate cumbersome PDF ballots, simplify the voting process, and reduce the wait time constituents had to wait for a decision on a license application.

Surveys Help Boards Evolve and Serve

By asking direct, kind, and thoughtful questions with surveys, boards, and leaders will gain critical insights and knowledge they may not have otherwise received if they were meeting in person. Ultimately, this information will allow boards to continue to evolve and serve their organizations.

Further Resources to Learn More

About The Author

Jenni Burton
Jenni Burton
Jenni Burton is the Product Marketing Manager for OnBoard. A forward-thinking professional with an unwavering dedication to customers and their success, Jenni brings nearly 15 years of experience and expertise to the table at Passageways. Previous career stints included leading roles at Pattern89, ClearScholar, Herff Jones, Simon Property Group, Compendium, and Johnson & Johnson.