Director Induction:
Starting out on the right foot

A well thought out and carefully structured induction process can help new directors to hit the ground running.  It will enable them to make a meaningful contribution to board deliberations from the start of their tenure.  The better the induction process the more effective a new director will be.

Effective induction begins with the advertising and interview process.  Expectations of directors should be outlined in the advertisement, repeated in the letter of offer and mentioned in the board code of conduct.

A good induction program provides appropriate professional development opportunities for directors to develop and maintain the skills and knowledge needed to effectively perform their role as directors.  In-house governance training, depending on the needs of directors, can be factored into the budget for professional development plans for all directors.

Both the organisation and the individual director are responsible for ensuring the induction process happens appropriately.  Each induction plan should be reviewed so that it remains fresh and relevant to what is happening in the sector in which the organisation operates.  Some form of informal mentoring can also be useful, where more experienced directors help a new director to understand the way things work and learn about the background of the board.

Structured and robust induction packs and a program that helps directors become familiar with the organisation over an 18-24 month “journey of learning” is most effective.

The induction process can include:

  • Confirmation of position.
  • Chair meet and greet, conversations with other board members.
  • Review the board skills matrix, see where their skills fit into the team.
  • Induction pack of relevant material.
  • Read previous board papers to get a feel for how the board operates.
  • CEO meet and greet, CEO guided tour of relevant (or closest) facilities, meet and chat with the staff.
  • Site visits, morning teas.
  • Online research:  read the organisation website, look at social media streams, read news reports relating to the organisation, the sector, any applicable Royal Commission reports.
  • Governance training according to the needs of the new director.

Induction Packs may include documentation such as:

  • Welcome letter
  • Company Constitution 
  • Board Charter
  • Outline of director role and responsibilities
  • Code of conduct for directors
  • Conflict of Interest procedure
  • Last annual report
  • Industry overview
  • Organisational chart 
  • Latest audited financial statements
  • Latest strategic plan
  • Directors and Officers Insurance policy
  • Relevant legislation

The right induction process will enable new directors to contribute from day one.