No matter how well your directors work together, sometimes there are things they cannot do. In this case, you might want to get another person involved to help resolve a single issue. However, this doesn’t mean you want to give that person all the responsibilities of a Board member!
Can you invite someone who is not a Board member?
In short, yes. Non Board members can attend meetings.
There are a number of reasons you might want to have this policy. Perhaps you need to invite senior staff members of your organisation. For example, the CEO might want to present on their strategic policy and the development of the company. If you are dealing with a budgetary question, it would be useful to have the CFO present. These staff members are brought in as experts to advise the board and help them to do their duty. Inviting them is beneficial for the meeting.
Alternatively, you might want to invite a potential new director to board meetings. This way, they can see the processes you implement and check if they are a good fit for your company. We’ve already talked about the difficulties of excluding a director, so it is a good way to make sure they understand your company before setting up a contract. The potential director would be present as an observer. They could not vote on issues or contribute to the discussion.
Should non board members attend meetings?
Now, we come to the more complex question.
There are many benefits to inviting non-members. It can give your Board new insights into the company and improve the flow of information. Board meetings are about action and results. They are not just a chance to chat!
If having non-members at your meetings will improve business, then it is a good idea. They can give your Board more specific details on the nature of your company and sector. In the case of potential new members, you should first do all you can to check they are a good fit before inviting them.
However, there are a few things to keep in mind when asking non-members to attend. If your board meetings are already busy, you might not have time for the extra people. Streamlined meetings are an important part of business. Remember, no one should be present just to fill a space!
It is important that every person in the room has a concrete role to fill and that they know their duties. In the case of observers, this role might be learning more about the organisation. You should still make sure that you can justify their place in the room.
Inviting non-members also comes with security concerns, especially when you are handling sensitive data. When dealing with top-level documents, you can’t simply hand them out to anyone! You must be confident the person you are inviting does not have easy access to all of your company’s inner-workings.
In the age of paper documents, this was more complex, as board packs could be left lying about. However, now there are digital solutions to this problem which can help you protect your important documents.
On the whole, inviting non-members can be a real positive! You just have to be careful. Every organisation has their own requirements and attendance policies. Always remember to run any changes or decisions by your legal team!
How can Convene simplify the relationship between members and non-members?
A Board portal like Convene is designed to streamline communication within your organisation. From drafting the meeting minutes to establishing a clear audit trail, our all-in-one solution can simplify your meeting process. The granular access controls make it easy to set permissions for documents. When everyone is on the same page, members and non-members can blend seamlessly to produce the best results. Find out more about our customer success stories or book a free demo today!