Top Tips on Becoming a Non-Executive Director
NEDonBoard defines the non-executive director as “a critical friend”. What does it mean? How do you become such a person? What are the skills that make a NED effective? How do you secure a NED role and how much do you earn as a NED? In this blog post, we answer the above questions and give you tips and recommendations reflective of our extensive experience in dealing with the non-executive director and board member community.
The top 5 skills of a good NED. Through its member surveys, interviews and panel discussions with experienced NEDs and boardroom experts, NEDonBoard determined that the following are the top 5 skills that NEDs must demonstrate to be effective and successful in the boardroom:
- Business acumen: ability to make good judgement and quick decisions in understanding and dealing with a business situation
- Governance knowledge: sound understanding of governance, legal and regulatory frameworks, responsibilities and liabilities of directors
- Financial astuteness: numeracy skills to understand debt and finance issues
- Emotional intelligence: capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically
- Integrity: strong principles, independence and high ethical standards
NEDs can be trained to enhance their skillset. The NEDonBoard training programme has been designed by experienced NEDs and boardroom experts and reflect the latest thinking.
Appointments not only reflect the above skills. NEDs are appointed as they meet the specific needs identified by the Board of Directors, the Chairperson or the Nomination Committee. For example, technical expertise may be sought to deal with an emerging risk. Being known to your network and to the NEDonBoard community for a specific expertise is valuable.
How much do you earn as a NED? The simple answer is that it varies and typically reflect the type of companies on which NEDs serve. KPMG published its Guide to directors’ remuneration 2017. FTSE250 NED are remunerated in the £48-60k range, while FSE100 NEDs are remunerated in the £61-79k. The pay packages at smaller companies tend to be lower.
At NEDonBoard, we consider that the remuneration package for NED is not reflective of the duties and liabilities to which NED are exposed as company directors. In addition, the role may be more time consuming than anticipated when the NED accepts the appointment.
Financial considerations have to be thought through prior to accepting an appointment. Most NEDs earn less than senior executives.
Gain experience. There are a few avenues to explore for NEDs to gain experience. NEDonBoard recommends the following proven strategies to gain experience and have an edge in the interview process.
- Take a role in the non-profit sector. Roles in the non-profit sector are typically unpaid but will provide you with valuable experience and demonstrate your commitment to becoming a NED.
- Find a mentor. Your mentor should be an experienced NED that will help you navigate the various stages of the NED journey.
- Hear from board experts to improve your knowledge. NEDonBoard hosts board best practice and keynote speaker evening events. Check out our upcoming events here.
- Associate yourself with the Professional Body. Become a member today and join our community of experienced NEDs.
The 7 steps to secure your first role. NEDonBoard considers that there are important steps to go through for transitioning NEDs:
- Be clear on your motivation to become a NED.
- Be clear on the type of organisations and sectors you want to work with.
- Prepare your NED CV and update your LinkedIn profile. NEDonBoard is offering a dedicated service so that your NED CV is professionally written and tailored to your aspirations. Please contact us at [email protected] to secure your CV and LinkedIn review service.
- Consider your professional networks and the value of joining a NED network such as NEDonBoard. Members have reported that their membership with NEDonBoard, the Professional Body for non-executive directors and board members has supported their application, demonstrating their commitment to being effective NEDs. Join the NEDonBoard community today.
- Prepare for the role. NEDonBoard offers dedicated courses for transitioning NEDs: How to Become an Effective NED on Board: The non-executive role and Finance in the Boardroom. The courses are also great refresher for experienced NEDs. Our board best practice® evening events and board best practice® guides are valuable assets to prepare you for the role you are applying for.
- Prepare for the interview. Meet with experienced NEDs during networking sessions held at each of the NEDonBoard evening events or contact members of the network in the NEDonBoard NED directory.
- Perform your due diligence thoroughly before accepting your first appointment. This is an important step in the NED journey. You need to ensure that there is a good fit with the organization and team you intend on joining.
Search for roles. Your network. Our jobs board. The NEDonBoard community. Do not underestimate the importance of networking and meeting with your peers. Connections between members of the NEDonBoard network occur at each of our events and lead to appointments. Organisations that are looking to appoint NEDs as well as head-hunters do attend our evening events.
NEDonBoard’s mission is to enable effective boards. We support our community of non-executive directors and board members at every step of their career.
If you would like to know more about the NED role, download our What to Expect of the NED Role guide and request a call to find out about our How to Become an Effective NED on Board: The non-executive role at [email protected].
To be informed about our events, courses and NED roles, subscribe to the newsletter and become a member.
We would love to know more about your NED aspirations and career objectives. Contact us at [email protected] and we will arrange a call.