Board Effectiveness

Building a strategic board

Boards that can perform and transform

The demands on boards have never been greater. It’s a lot to balance from climate change and ESG reporting, DE&I initiatives, to leaps in AI and technology.

The best-in-class boards aren’t overly focused on compliance and reporting. Instead, they partner with management to shape the future and maintain performance. To achieve this, they regularly review their governance structures and processes and the capability of directors in the context of evolving trends.

That is why Board Effectiveness is so important.


What we do in Board Effectiveness

Our purpose is to provide the best, most trusted advice to boards so they can become a strategic asset to their organization.

Board evaluation

Korn Ferry has dedicated Board Effectiveness Practices in each global region that focus on making boards better. Often, this is achieved through our board evaluation service offering.

Our board evaluations complement and enhance a board’s own self-evaluation process and can be a one-off exercise or part of an ongoing board development program over multiple years. Evaluations may include an assessment of the full board, the committees (or a committee), individual directors or just board leadership.

Here are some of the benefits our board evaluations bring to our clients:

  • We focus on the board as a strategic asset: If the board is overly focused on governance it can act like an anchor on a boat, slowing down transformation. Our focus is on building boards that are a critical partner of management, helping to anticipate and shape the future while continuing to monitor performance and hold management accountable.
  • We take a human-centric view when evaluating boards: High performing boards have a ‘talent centric’ view of what makes them effective, and the real heart of our board evaluation is human. It is the trusted and candid connection between board members and our team that generates the deepest and most valuable insights.
  • We use technology and data for insight, speed and efficiency: We combine the qualitative approach of board interview questions with the quantitative approach of secure online surveys which enable us to gather consistent, robust feedback. We also use data and analytics to enable benchmarking against peers or best-in-class organizations.
  • We focus on actionable outcomes: We don’t just measure our success by the quality of our board evaluation reports. We care most that you act on the insights to enhance board performance. Our team achieves this through our skill in building trust, facilitating honest feedback conversations with key stakeholders, and evoking practical action.
  • We deliver rich developmental feedback for directors: Our in-depth feedback sessions during optional individual director reviews focus on what each director can develop to contribute to their full potential and enhance the overall effectiveness of the team.

Board succession planning

Board succession planning gives you a strategic view of your board composition and an understanding of who your company will need to guide and challenge management over the next 3-5 years.

High-performing corporate governance requires a blend of experience and varied perspectives, where each board member contributes to board discussions and makes a strategic impact. Our proven board succession planning process can drive board development, helping you build the diverse, futureproof and agile board your business needs.

For us, board succession planning means gaining a deep understanding of the company’s strategy, the medium-term challenges it’s facing, and the opportunities it will need to pursue. Our research on the competitive landscape and sector trends help complete the picture. We use this to develop target director profiles to ensure diversity of board members with experience in critical areas for maximum board effectiveness in the future.

A board succession planning assignment may also include or lead to director onboarding and offboarding, director search, board education or an ongoing search process to build the right board for the future.

Find out more about how we can help with Board Succession.

Board consulting

Our board advisory services offer deep industry expertise and reassuring guidance during times of board transition.

This type of board consulting uses tools and techniques drawn from board evaluations or succession planning. You’ll work with consultants who have deep experience  and can guide and advise the board during transitional periods, such as:

  • Pre-IPO or immediately post-IPO
  • Activist defense
  • Post-activist settlement
  • Post-merger board integration
  • Dealing with dysfunctional directors
  • Generational change in family-owned business

ESG governance

Becoming ESG-enabled starts at the top, empowering board members with the right expertise and governance mechanisms to oversee, enable and support ESG.

The rise of ESG-and the effects of a global pandemic-have elevated social factors, including employee safety and wellbeing, on equal footing with environmental issues like climate change. Across various jurisdictions, governments, regulators and institutional investors are pushing for board members to improve oversight and disclosure of ESG risks and opportunities.

Our ESG governance services can help you in several areas:

  • Board expertise: We get your board members up to speed on key ESG issues, determine whether you have the right skills and experiences, and recruit additional board directors to close any gaps.
  • Structure: No committee will be untouched by ESG. We can help you establish new committees or rewrite existing committee charters.
  • Disclosure: We'll help you maximize the value of your ESG disclosure to stakeholders and understand what your competitors are doing.
  • Compensation: We can revisit your executive compensation strategy and plan to ensure that it incentivizes the delivery of your ESG goals.

Meet our Board Effectiveness team

We have a large, global team with deep industry expertise working within our Board and CEO Services practice. Find your nearest consultant here.

Talk to an expert

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