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Digital transformation  |  Governance

New Year 2021 boardroom reflections

New Year 2021 boardroom reflections

Written by Elise Perraud, NEDonBoard COO

NEDonBoard in association with Resilient Corporates conducted a boardroom reflections survey, opened for input in December 2020 and January 2021. In this blog, we share the survey findings. Over 500 business leaders contributed to the survey and the NEDonBoard community represented 12% of participants. NEDonBoard responses are broadly in line with the overall results.


Stakeholder engagement

Engaging with stakeholders has been more important than ever.

  • 44% of NEDonBoard respondents reported higher engagement between their organisation and the non-executive directors. Throughout 2020, you told us about more frequent board meetings, new WhatsApp groups, daily calls between the non-executive directors and senior management (as well as Sunday calls between the chair and the CEO). Some NEDs also had to take on a more operational role than they would under normal business circumstances – this is particularly true of non-executives serving on the board of SMEs. Only 11% of NEDonBoard respondents indicated that tensions between the CEO and the board emerged.
  • 2/3rd of organisations reported higher engagement with their customers (NEDonBoard: 55%), although 1/3rd reported increased tensions.
  • Boardrooms should be sensitive to tensions in the relations between furloughed and non-furloughed staff. This was highlighted by over 25% of respondents (NEDonBoard: 30%). 70% of executives and non-executives have been affected by remote working fatigue. These two data points are consistent with the headlines of the NEDonBoard January member networking session, during which attendees identified HR related matters as a challenge for boards in 2021: return to work (including potential vaccine requirements), mental health and well-being of employees, skills assessment, paradigm shift in people management.

Related post: NEDonBoard Board Best Practice – Stakeholder Engagement Insights


“Nothing is more permanent than a temporary solution”

Short-term solutions are likely to be significantly longer-term than originally intended. NEDonBoard contributors noted that the following changes will most likely remain:

  • Remote and flexible working;
  • The emergence of the hybrid workplace;
  • The replacement of some meetings traditionally held solely in-person;
  • Agile and collaborative working environment.


Noteworthy data points

  • 40% of organisations had a positive 2020 (NEDonBoard: 50%).
  • 2020 has been a year for business leaders to reflect on their priorities in life (survey: 70%, NEDonBoard: 73%) and personal growth (survey: 40%, NEDonBoard: 44%).
  • Digital transformation has accelerated and has opened new opportunities for a third of respondents.
  • 64% of NEDonBoard participants realised that they could achieve consensus in uncertain and unpredictable times, while for 53% changes in how they made decisions resulted in targeted effort to ensure that all voices were heard.


If you are interested in developing your board knowledge and skills to address your boardroom challenges, please visit our Modern Board Member Masterclass online course page.

You may also join as a member to attend our upcoming events (unlimited and inclusive within the membership). As a reminder, NEDonBoard is the trading name of the Global Institute of Board Members and the professional membership body for NEDs and board members in the UK.


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    Discover further information by downloading our brochure.