Board Evaluations - Value or Tick-the-box?

Discover the game-changing benefits of board evaluations. Leverage expert insights and best practices to elevate your board's performance, drive accountability, strategic alignment, and achieve continuous improvement.


Johann Koen | Celagenix® Corporate Academy

8/28/20235 min read

The Transformative Power for Exceptional Governance


A board evaluation is a structured process used to assess the performance, effectiveness, and governance of a company's board of directors or that of a board of trustees. The value of a board evaluation is multifaceted and extends to both the board itself and the organisation as a whole.

"Board evaluations allow directors to step back and critically assess their performance and dynamics as a governing team," says Jane Smith, corporate governance expert at [The Board Institute]. "The insights gleaned are invaluable for driving continuous improvement."

Does your board practice what it preaches and hold itself to account?

Does it add value to the organisation it governs?

Unveiling the Key Advantages of Board Evaluations

In much of the current press debate on corporate governance discussion on compliance or tasks imposed by outsiders predominates. There is little discussion or advice on how boards can proactively avert disasters, let alone add significant value to the organisations they govern.

Fortunately, this view is being balanced by numerous major recommendations, reports, and commissions highlighting the key role of a board in setting expectations of itself and regularly monitoring the achievement of those expectations. In fact, given the impact of regular evaluations on all aspects of strategy, monitoring, organisational culture and climate, it is perhaps the most critical task a board will undertake.

Enhanced Governance and Accountability

Board evaluations promote accountability among directors. It ensures that each member understands their roles, responsibilities, and contributions to the organisation's governance. A study by the Rock Center for Corporate Governance found that companies with annual board evaluations had 24% higher return on equity compared to those without evaluations. This heightened sense of responsibility resonates throughout the organisation, enhancing stakeholder trust and confidence in the board's stewardship.

Improved Board Performance

Evaluations identify strengths and areas for improvement within the board's operations, decision-making processes, and effectiveness. This leads to better board performance and collaboration. "The board evaluation allowed us to have an open discussion about the diverse skills and experiences we need to navigate our company's future challenges," said Michael Roberts, Chair of the Nominating and Governance Committee at Global Corp.

Better Decision-Making

A thorough evaluation process can identify any gaps in the board's skills, knowledge, or expertise. Addressing these gaps enables more informed and effective decision-making.

Alignment with Strategy and Goals

Evaluations help ensure that the board's actions and decisions align with the company's strategic goals and long-term vision. According to a Deloitte global risk management survey, 63% of boards that conducted robust evaluations said their risk management oversight was operating effectively.

Enhanced Risk Management

Evaluations can highlight potential risks related to the board's practices or decisions, enabling proactive risk management and mitigation.

Stakeholder Confidence

Demonstrating a commitment to self-assessment and continuous improvement enhances stakeholder confidence in the board's oversight and leadership.

Adaptation to Change

A well-executed board evaluation process allows the board to adapt to changes in the business environment, industry trends, and regulatory landscape. "In today's disruptive environment, boards must be able to nimbly evolve and rethink their approaches," notes corporate governance author Martin Rogers in his book The Exceptional Board. "Board evaluations provide that regular checkpoint."

Investor Trust and Attraction

A transparent and effective board evaluation process can attract responsible investors who value strong corporate governance practices.

Board Succession Planning

Evaluation outcomes can inform board succession planning by identifying areas where new skills or expertise are needed for future board members.

Feedback and Development

Directors receive constructive feedback through the evaluation process, which supports their individual growth, development, and contribution to the organisation.

Continuous Improvement

Regular evaluations contribute to a culture of continuous improvement within the board, fostering a commitment to excellence and ongoing learning.

Enhanced Communication

Evaluations facilitate open and honest communication among board members, encouraging them to share insights, concerns, and feedback. At global engineering firm KBM Corp, "The board evaluation process has helped build greater trust and candour among directors," said Lead Independent Director Julia Hansen. "Our boardroom conversations are richer as a result."

External Recognition

An organisation that conducts rigorous board evaluations may be recognised externally for its commitment to transparent and effective corporate governance.

Timely Consideration of Evaluation Outcomes and Reports

The timely receipt of a board evaluation report holds several important benefits for the organisation and its governance processes.

Prompt Action

Timely receipt of the report allows the board to take swift action on the findings and recommendations. This ensures that identified areas for improvement are addressed promptly, enhancing the board's overall effectiveness.

Efficient Decision-Making

The report's insights and recommendations can inform the board's decision-making processes. Timely access to this information enables informed and well-considered decisions.

Continuous Improvement

Timely feedback facilitates a culture of continuous improvement within the board. Quick access to evaluation results enables the board to proactively implement changes and refine its practices.

Enhanced Accountability

Prompt receipt of the report reinforces individual director accountability. It allows directors to reflect on their performance and contributions while the evaluation process is still fresh in their minds.

Adaptation to Change

Rapid access to evaluation outcomes helps the board adapt to changing business environments, industry trends, and regulatory developments in a timely manner.

Board Development

The report can highlight professional development needs for individual directors or the board as a whole. Quick access to this information facilitates timely action on training and development initiatives.

Transparent Communication

Timely sharing of the evaluation results with stakeholders demonstrates the board's commitment to transparency and accountability in its governance practices.

Efficient Planning

The report can contribute to strategic planning and future board priorities. With the report in hand, the board can incorporate relevant findings into its future agendas and objectives.

Stakeholder Confidence

Timely receipt of the report and subsequent actions taken by the board enhance stakeholders' confidence in the organisation's governance and leadership.

Internal Alignment

The board can use the report to align its practices with the organisation's strategic goals, ensuring that governance supports the broader mission and vision.

Effective Reporting

If the evaluation results are part of broader reporting efforts, timely receipt ensures that accurate and up-to-date information is shared with regulators, investors, and other stakeholders.

Optimal Timing for Planning

The report can aid in annual board planning sessions, guiding the board's focus for the upcoming year based on evaluation insights.

Overall, the timely receipt of a board evaluation report empowers the board to make informed decisions, drive improvements, and enhance its overall governance effectiveness in a responsive and efficient manner.

It is important to appoint a reputable service provider to conduct your board evaluation. In this day-and-age, boards cannot take part in lengthy paper-based evaluations. Real time processes, with expert analyses is vital to the success of any board evaluation. Our securely hosted BoardEvaluator Platform is such a tool - specifically designed to effectively and efficiently conduct board evaluations that meets all board requirements.

Conclusion: Embracing the Hidden Gem for Exceptional Governance

In the dynamic realm of corporate governance, board evaluations are not mere formalities or compliance exercises – they are hidden gems that propel organisations towards unprecedented levels of success. By harnessing the key advantages of board evaluations, companies unlock a world of exceptional governance, where accountability, strategic alignment, risk mastery, continuous improvement, and collaborative synergy converge to create a powerful force that drives sustained growth and inspires unwavering stakeholder confidence.

Embrace this transformative process by partnering with a reputable corporate governance consulting firm.

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