Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation
Step 4: Onboard Intentionally
Main content start

Foster an Environment to Thrive

The Aim

Create the conditions, share insights, and foster relationships so that your new board member(s) can thrive. Support their growth to become impactful and engaged thought partners.

Take Action

Brief the new board member on the company strategy and the legal and administrative duties and responsibilities before their first board meeting.
Make strategic committee assignment(s) for the new board member.
Assign an experienced mentor or board buddy to focus on the board culture, dynamics and informal processes.
Create social activities and opportunities to form a bond.
Create norms* to make room for new board members so their ideas get valued and heard. 
Check in regularly and give the new board member clear, specific feedback so they can be effective in their role.

Try these tools to onboard your new board members



A good onboarding process helps the entire board reap the benefits of all of the work that went into selecting and vetting the new board member(s). The more holistic and well-rounded (and ongoing) the onboarding process is, the better chance your new member can effectively leverage their specific skillset and perspective for which they were brought onto the board; capture the value of the new board member’s expertise by making clear “how” the work gets done on this board.

Why it matters

Boards have hidden dimensions of their culture, including communication patterns and implicit hierarchies. Being new to this role or an “only”1, your new director may not automatically gain access to these insider insights. Clarifying roles and expectations can help your new board member overcome barriers to being an effective member of the board.

 < Back to Step 3                Go to Step 1 >


*Norms: The practices and behaviors of a group--formal and informal, spoken and unspoken--that guide how the group works together and how individuals can participate. Learn more about norms in the glossary.