Governing through the COVID-19 crisis
10 key considerations for Boards
As a typical “black swan” event, COVID-19 took the world by complete surprise. The focus of most organisations to date has been on mobilising crisis response teams and working quickly to manage operational disruption, assess the financial implications, understand the key risks and protect employees.
While the full impact of this pandemic remains unknown, as the situation continues to evolve on a daily basis it is becoming clear that the economic and financial ramifications will be felt across the globe. One thing we can be certain on is that now, more than ever, organisations need strong and resilient Board leadership helping their organisations respond, recover and thrive.
Much of the COVID-19 thought leadership to date has been aimed at executives and management. The purpose of this article is to provide guidance to Board members in respect of their role and response to a crisis, as well as insight into some of the specific areas Boards (and Board committees) should be focusing on in respect of COVID-19.
This has been summarised into our ’10 key considerations for Boards’ as below:
- Clarify the Board’s role in a crisis and be mindful of directors’ duties
- Balance the two key aspects of the Board’s role – supervisory and stewardship, in respect of Business Continuity Planning
- Understand and challenge the operational and financial impacts on the organisation
- Keep updated on disclosure and reporting obligations
- Continue to robustly oversee risk and compliance
- Focus on talent matters
- Communicate with both internal and external stakeholders
- Operate a different mode of governance
- Embrace virtual Board and shareholder meetings
- Don’t forget about sustainability
As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve rapidly, it is important that Boards understand their role and how they can effectively govern their organisations and support management, leveraging Board members’ valuable insights and expertise. It is also important that they ensure continued focus on stakeholders, and keep abreast of developments in the current challenging environment.
Read more on our top 10 considerations for boards here.