What Is a Board Orientation?

Board orientation is a process that informs new board members about the organization, the board’s roles and responsibilities, and their positions within the organization. It also paves the way for board members to begin a working relationship that promotes support and accord regarding how they will carry out their responsibilities. The orientation prepares the new board member for their initiation into board service. The orientation process provides many board members with their first view of an organization’s operations. The orientation period allows for a deeper understanding of the organization, its mission statement, and its programs.

Benefits of Board Orientation

Some board members attend their first meeting with a general understanding of what will occur. Experienced board directors can benefit from attending a well-prepared, well-organized orientation session. Even more essential for inexperienced board directors is orientation. The more information they have before getting involved, the more they can contribute to the organization. Many boards commit the error of not devoting sufficient time to preparing and planning a practical board orientation session. Frequently, the reason is a need for more available leisure. However, lack of time is more of an excuse than a justification, as committees always make time for things they deem essential. A board orientation process is central to providing board directors with information, context, and perspective, so they don’t have to pick items up as they go.

Provides Excellent Value: All board members must be as knowledgeable as feasible about the organization’s operations. They must have a comprehensive understanding of their intended function on the board. Most of what they must initially learn relates to the duties of board officers, other board directors, and senior managers. A successful board orientation will leave new board directors eager to share the tidings with their loved ones. They will want to brag about the organization’s significant achievements. They will feel valued and appreciated and be impressed by their decision to join such a prestigious organization. They will be prepared to contribute as they enter their first board meeting. Board directors who feel adequately prepared for their new responsibilities and duties will be your most engaged and productive board members and future leaders.Board Orientation Components: Boards must plan materials and the session for a good orientation. Before the board orientation meeting, prepare a binder for each member to take home, read, and take file notes. This will allow them to plan questions for board orientation. A board orientation’s first few pages should cover the organization’s past. Short, current, and inspiring. Program highlights, accomplishments, and successes are also good. Put ongoing and future initiatives here. Board members must comprehend their roles. This portion should cover fiduciary duties, committee involvement, board meeting attendance, preparation, and more. The board should compile an officer and member roster with contact information. To help them plan, include a sheet with planned events and management meetings. Give new board directors the strategic plan, executive summary, vision, and goal statements. Add approved budgets and the latest financial documents and reports. A third-party financial expert’s audited financial statement is crucial because it shows the company’s financial security. New board members need the organization’s bylaws, including changes and governance policies. New board members should also have the last few board meeting minutes. Include the next board meeting plan. Since fundraising is their main activity, nonprofits will want to clarify their methods. A fundraising one-pager should show regular fundraising activities to encourage fast participation. At this stage in the orientation, remind board members that they must donate their time and money to the cause.The Orientation of the Council: The materials for board orientation constitute the flesh and bones of a board orientation. The exposure is also an excellent opportunity for new board directors to meet those they will work closely with. The board chair, executive director, chair of the nominating and governance committee, and, if you have one, the development person should all be present and play a minor role in presenting the program. Agendas for all meetings should include a board orientation session. Typically, orientation begins with introductions so new board directors can put names with faces. This is an excellent opportunity to learn who does what and what each individual contributes. After introductions, many orientation planners like to show an uplifting video about the organization’s history, present, and future. The executive director or chief executive officer elaborates on the video by discussing the organization’s mission, vision statement, and strategic plans. Since the new board directors were immediately given a board member orientation handbook, they are likely to bring questions to the board orientations; therefore, it is best to schedule time in the board meeting agenda for these duties. It is advantageous for nonprofit organizations to have the fundraising committee head deliver a brief speech to encourage participation in fundraising. The board chair may provide a quick overview of the forthcoming agenda and the most important topics. At this point, the only remaining task is to set a date for the orientation and affirm that all required parties can attend.

Tips to Win over New Hires

Bringing on new employees is expensive. Companies spend much on employee training, which does not include hiring costs or the time required to occupy a position. High turnover rates can harm your bottom line, mainly if you conduct the employment process multiple times yearly. The good news is that a good new employee orientation program can increase employee retention and engagement.

1. Make a Checklist for New Employee Orientation

Employment forms, team introductions, administrative access, etc., must be completed when a new employee is onboard. Onboarding programs require new employees to achieve an average of 54 activities. These activities are exclusive to the employees. You will also need assistance from HR and IT supervisors and team members. Attempting to keep track of everything without a system is hardly practical. Create a checklist for employee orientation to remain organized and ensure no steps are overlooked.

2. Get Started Right Away

New employees’ first day is always thrilling but can also be overwhelming. From the time they accept your employment offer to their first day on the job, new hires undergo significant change. Communicate expectations before the commencement date. Communicate the schedule approximately one week before their first day of work. Completing the necessary paperwork in advance is a simple yet effective method to improve the overall employee onboarding process. It also means new employees can begin being productive rather than bogged down by tedious paperwork.

3. Schedule Private Hours

Typically, orientations occur in a group setting with new employees from other departments. This allows all new employees to interact with one another and receive a formal company introduction. However, the most effective method to prepare new hires for their roles is for managers to schedule regular check-ins. Continuous feedback and regular check-ins have positively impacted 89% of HR leaders’ organizations. Managers should prioritize one-on-one time with new hires to provide guidance and set them on the correct path. This will assist them in adjusting to their new responsibilities.

4. Create a Memorable First Day for Them

The first day of a new employee’s employment is crucial because it establishes expectations. Any organization should strive to create a favorable impression on new hires. Instead, new employees are typically overwhelmed with paperwork on their first day and left to sort out their roles independently. There are more effective ways to make an impression on new employees. The best method to improve the orientation experience and motivate the new employee to be productive is to provide personalized attention and make them feel at home.

5. Automate Paperwork

Before a new employee can begin working for your organization, you must prepare various forms as required by law. You may also need to create internal documents such as non-disclosure agreements, confidentiality forms, and others. Organizations should also have an employee handbook with company policies, operating procedures, and other job-related information. The hiring of new employees is always accompanied by documentation. However, this does not mean you should bury them (or yourself) in paperwork.

How to Establish Responsibilities and Duties

Understanding the goals and objectives of your team is an excellent method for determining functional roles and responsibilities. Employees who know their duties are more productive and can produce higher-quality content. Here is how your team can develop available roles and responsibilities:

1. Decide What Needs to Be Accomplished

List every job that needs to be accomplished. You can estimate how many jobs you’ll need to assign. Take note of the current and past tasks that your team is working on. Have previous initiatives been successful? What could have been done better, if not that? Exist any chores that should have been finished but still need to be? Recognize them and assign them to your staff as necessary.

2. Recognize Your Assets and Weaknesses

Noting the strengths and weaknesses of your team is a great way to designate responsibilities that correspond with their job descriptions. Once you understand an employee’s strengths, you should assign them duties that play to those strengths. If they demonstrate a deficiency in a particular area, consider giving that task to another team member who can perform it more effectively. This will help your team work more efficiently and develop confidence in completing the assigned tasks. Additionally, it is essential to remember that employees should always be learning and expanding their skill set on the job.

3. Refer to an Individual’s Employment Description

Consider each team member’s job description when determining their responsibilities. The duties assigned to an employee should be consistent with why they were recruited in the first place. It is also essential to consider their interpersonal skills, interests, and prior accomplishments. Combining their job description and personality traits will help you delegate assignments to your team more effectively.

4. Get Feedback

You can gain insight into establishing functional team roles and responsibilities by soliciting feedback. By requesting feedback from your team, you demonstrate that you value their opinions and insights. This will encourage a constructive discussion about their expectations within the organization. It is essential to communicate effectively with your staff.


What is an orientation for the new board of directors?

Board orientation is a process that assists new directors in contributing fully and as soon as feasible to the governance work of the board. The following guide describes the objectives that may be considered, the person who should lead the process, and the structure of an orientation program.

What should I expect at orientation?

Job orientation activities include a tour of the office or workplace, introductions to coworkers and the team, a company presentation, an overview of company policies and safety regulations, and more. It is also the time for the new employee to sign an employment agreement, such as tax and payroll forms.

What is a new employee experience?

Employee experience is a worker’s perceptions of their journey through all touchpoints at a company, beginning with the job application form and ending with separation.

Check with other coworkers and committees to determine if additional changes or revisions need to be made before establishing the checklist as the official basis for orientation preparation. Consider the orientation of your new board members an important event, as it will help foster excellent relationships, trust, and camaraderie. To help you create a checklist, please review our free template examples above. They are all simple to download, so you can obtain as many as you desire.