What is a Working Board? (Overview, Roles, and Responsibilities)

  • By: Josh Palmer
  • September 19, 2022
working board
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Among the various types of boards is the working board. A working board is more than just a governing entity. Like a coin with two sides, it has strategic and staff responsibilities.

Not only does the board create strategies, but it also implements them in the organization. But what are the key responsibilities of working board members? How are these responsibilities distinct from those of governance board directors

Below, we give you a complete overview of working boards and explore their main roles and responsibilities. You’ll also discover how working boards can improve board governance and effectiveness with a board portal.

Ready to learn more about working boards? 

Let’s dive in. 

What is a Working Board?

A working board is a group of directors actively participating in the organization’s daily activities. It is a governing board with additional responsibilities: Directors perform their strategic and fiduciary duties as well as participate in the organization’s day-to-day functions. 

A working board combines the governing responsibilities with managing roles, simultaneously acting as the organization’s board of directors and staff. A working board is common in startups (with few or no staff) or small community groups that lack sufficient funds to hire paid staff.

Working Board Roles and Responsibilities

A working board has the following roles and responsibilities in an organization: 

1. Create a Plan

A working board has strategic responsibilities to build a plan, which outlines measurable goals and objectives. This ensures members have a guide to achieving the organization’s mission. Depending on your firm, the planning may be done yearly or after a specified period to account for short- and long-term goals. 

2. Participate in Day-to-Day Functions

A working board has operational roles and responsibilities. As mentioned earlier, it’s a governing board with staff responsibilities. So after brainstorming ideas and creating a plan for the organization, members of a working board implement their own strategies and directives. As they do, they are obliged to honor the directives without acting on personal interests. 

3. Manage an Organization’s Resources Responsibly

A working board is accountable to specific stakeholders. For this reason, it is responsible for protecting the organization’s resources and managing them responsibly. The board must use assets prudently to serve the organization’s general interest. 

A working board creates and implements its own directives, making it easy to manage resources responsibly. The double duty allows for ultra-precise oversight to ensure the organization’s assets are used wisely. 

4. Ensure Compliance and Ethical Integrity

All organizations must follow certain rules and regulations. A working board has a fiduciary duty to ensure the firm complies with all relevant legal obligations. This could be through setting strict policies that establish acceptable and unacceptable behavior in the organization. Additionally, a working board must ensure the organization operates truthfully and ethically.

5. Provide Financial Oversight

As a board that simultaneously governs and works for the organization, a working board creates a budget and implements internal processes for incoming and outgoing funds. Proper financial oversight may include regular audits to make sure the firm heads in the right direction financially. 

Working Board Software

While a working board’s double responsibility—strategic and staff—allows for precise oversight, it can cause governance and management challenges if a solid solution isn’t implemented. 

The resulting administrative burden can make a working board less attentive to strategy and less likely to take on larger initiatives. This big risk can cripple the organization, preventing it from achieving its ultimate goals. 

But there’s a solution. 

A board management platform is the best way to manage constraints facing a board that handles both governance and staff responsibilities. The software enables your working board to break down strategy into manageable tasks, track progress, and store all records in a heavily encrypted platform. 

A board portal minimizes unproductive meetings to relieve much of the administrative stress. As a result, the board can channel more energy into brainstorming strategies and implementing them effectively in the organization. 

OnBoard is a purpose-built board portal with all the features a working board needs to streamline governing processes and make it easy to manage the board’s staff responsibilities. Here are the some valuable features of our industry-leading working board software: 

  • Task Management: Monitoring working board tasks using email is messy and difficult, often leading to a lack of action and missed deadlines. Task Management allows you to manage, organize, and monitor essential action items throughout your meeting cycle. Easily assign tasks to board members, set priorities, track due dates, and measure goals and progress. 
  • Advanced collaboration features: Board members must collaborate seamlessly for a working board to fulfill its governance and staff responsibilities. OnBoard is built to help board members to do their best work by fostering collaboration. 
  • Engagement Analytics: OnBoard is purpose-built for working boards that want to take their meetings to the next level. Smart tools like Engagement Analytics inform you of what matters the most to board members, providing unique insights into board meetings. 
  • Skills Tracking: Identify existing skills gaps on your board to build a well-rounded board that effectively achieves goals. Quickly find out your board’s experience in different areas and highlight gaps. Then, build a recruiting plan that fits the organization’s skill set needs so the board’s staff responsibilities can be accomplished properly. 
  • Secure, unified storage platform: OnBoard is a single source of truth for your board members. Store all board resources in a single, heavily encrypted platform accessible from anywhere and anytime. This enables working boards to work faster and members to access information seamlessly. 

Our platform integrates with Zoom to enable working board directors to meet face-to-face directly within the board software. Easily brainstorm strategies and discuss topics virtually without switching between meeting apps. 

Moreover, board members can start individual or group conversations using OnBoard’s secure messenger. This feature allows board members to collaborate on board work during and outside meetings. 

Don’t take our word for it. Grab your FREE trial of OnBoard today to see how OnBoard is foundational in taking working boards to new heights. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a Working Board Meeting?

    It's a meeting between board members undertaking governing and operational responsibilities in an organization. The meeting can be in-person or virtually through purpose-built board management software. 

  • What is the Difference Between a Working Board and Governance Board?

    A governing board undertakes only the governance responsibilities—it isn't involved in the day-to-day activities of an organization. Conversely, a working board undertakes both governance and staff responsibilities in an organization. 

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About The Author

Josh Palmer
Josh Palmer
Josh Palmer serves as OnBoard's Head of Content. An experienced content creator, his previous roles have spanned numerous industries including B2C and B2B home improvement, healthcare, and software-as-a-service (SaaS). An Indianapolis native and graduate of Indiana University, Palmer currently resides in Fishers, Ind.