Does your organization have a way to measure board engagement?
Although this is a broad concept — there are some metrics. Meeting attendance can be measured easily, so that is a default measure of engagement.
However, what about participation in meetings — how would that be measured? Would we ask the person taking minutes to also record the number of times that a board member speaks? Likely not — this is the type of metric which we call anecdotal.
Anecdotal means that whoever is doing the board evaluation on engagement is basing the level of participation on not just the number of comments, but the nature of the comments. There are board members who talk all the time and board members who talk less, but when they do speak they give valuable information.
Engagement also takes place outside of the board meeting. Can we measure how often the board member has read the board package and is ready to discuss the contents? I would hope that the answer is always, but we do hear about board members who read the package when they show up at the meeting. That indicates a lack of engagement.
Each organization should think about metrics that could be used to measure board member engagement. Experience indicates that what gets measured — gets done, so the first step to improving engagement is measuring it.