OnBoard Releases Results from First Annual Board Effectiveness Survey

  • By: OnBoard Meetings
  • May 24, 2021
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Survey respondents indicate that digital meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic created more effective, collaborative, and strategic boards

INDIANAPOLIS, May 4, 2021 – OnBoard, the award-winning board management solution that simplifies and secures board meeting communication and collaboration, today released the findings from its first annual Onboard Board Effectiveness survey. Results show that between March 2020 and March 2021, boards became more effective, more collaborative, and spent more time on vital strategic issues than prior to the pandemic – and that the shift to digital board meetings was a primary facilitator of these outcomes.

The survey included responses from more than 282 board directors, administrators, and staff members in more than six countries and spanned numerous industries, including nonprofits, higher education, financial services, healthcare, professional associations, and others.

“Many boardrooms have not experienced the wave of digital transformation that’s occurred over the last decade – but the pandemic changed everything,” says OnBoard co-founder and CEO Paroon Chadha. “The survey results show that digital boardrooms are now a demonstrable best practice, enabling boards to be better prepared, more productive, and more effective at governance.”

Despite the initial challenges of digitizing board meetings during the pandemic – including difficulties recreating face-to-face interactions, the lack of opportunity for ad hoc conversations, a less conducive format for complex discussions – the majority of respondents (79%) indicated they felt their boards were more effective. And most respondents cited the shift to remote work and virtual meetings as the primary cause for this newfound effectiveness.

Digital Boards are More Effective  

Board Effectiveness survey respondents confirmed:

  • 79% said their boards have improved effectiveness in the past 12 months, with 59% citing the shift to remote work as the primary cause.
  • 66% have seen improvements in board collaboration.
  • 47% have spent more time discussing strategic issues.
  • 57% of respondents used a digital board management platform. Amongst these respondents, 81% indicated their boards’ improved effectiveness.
  • Of the 43% of respondents who did not use board management software, only 58% noted increased effectiveness.
  • More board management software users also reported that board materials were sent earlier compared to non-users and that board members were better prepared overall.


A New Focus on Diversity

Survey results also addressed the need for greater board diversity and focused on critical issues resulting from the widespread social and political turmoil of late. Less than one-quarter of respondents (21%) rated their boards as very diverse, while another 39% said their boards have discussed the issue but have not developed plans to address diversity. Additionally, 87% said their boards do not have committees dedicated to addressing environmental, social, or governance issues, and only 9% have plans to establish such committees in the future.

“The pandemic forced board executives, directors, and administrators to shift their operating models overnight, while also addressing a sea change in social and economic conditions over the last year,” Chadha says. “While it’s clear that many boards are initiating a dialogue around board diversity and better representation, the impact is still lacking.”  

Continuing Digital Transformation 

The survey also captured forward-looking sentiments from board members, including nearly half of all respondents (47%) indicating that they’ll make significant investments in their board in the next 12 months.

“Ultimately, the pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation of boards and helped them to realize the many benefits that technology has to offer,” Chadha says. “Board leaders now face the critical decision of whether to lean into this digital transformation or revert to a traditional governance approach.”

To download the full results of the Board Effectiveness survey report, visit onboardmeetings.com/effectiveness.

About OnBoard

At OnBoard, we believe board meetings should be informed, effective, and uncomplicated. That’s why we give boards and leadership teams an elegant solution that simplifies governance. Launched in 2011, today, OnBoard serves as the board intelligence platform for more than 2,000 organizations and their 12,000 boards and committees in 32 countries worldwide. With customers in higher education, nonprofit, healthcare systems, government, and enterprise business, OnBoard is the leading board management provider.

Learn more about OnBoard’s award-winning board intelligence platform at onboardmeetings.com.


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Bryan Spevak 
Vice President  
anthonyBarnum Public Relations
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