HR Matters - Spring 2014 - (Page 14)

HR Feature Learnings from Our Governance Review Retreat By Yvonne Thompson, MA, CHRP Yvonne Thompson, MA, CHRP, is chair of HRMAM's Board of Directors and founder and president at Change Innovators, Inc. Did we learn everything we needed to from recent events? What did we need to change or do differently? 14 HR matters * Spring 2014 W hat is good governance? It would be hard to share in a short article the deep insights we gained into our board governance at our retreat back in February 2013. However, we can share a few simple concepts that describe profound and significant responsibilities, such as "Noses in, fingers out"; Members as "owners" and members as "customers"; and Monitor, Monitor and Monitor. A year ago, the HRMAM Board of Directors went through a governance review led by Judy Murphy. HRMAM was just coming out of one of its most challenging times with new leadership and staff. Shortly after joining our team, new CEO Ron Gauthier had identified that our association was heading towards a financial iceberg. He informed a new Board in November 2012 that we needed to steer a different course and we needed to do it quickly. The Board immediately went all hands on deck to assist with operations, events, committees, and whatever else was needed to keep things going while new office and equipment leases were negotiated, new staff was hired and budgets were balanced. And we were successful - in three months, we had put our affairs in order and balanced the budget. Looking forward to a positive and stable future, the Board wanted to embark on creating a strategic plan. However, we realised two things: firstly, that with the recent significant Board involvement, our staff and board responsibilities had become blurred. We were inadvertently stepping on each other's toes. And secondly, we wanted to make sure we were building on a solid foundation. Did we learn everything we needed to from recent events? What did we need to change or do differently? We knew we needed to clarify Board and CEO roles and decision making. We also wanted to understand and develop best governance practices and policies. Judy Murphy Consulting was selected to lead us through this review, which resulted in a new governance structure and board policies that were passed by HRMAM in June 2013. In Judy's experience, the most common challenges Boards face are understanding and clearly defining the board and CEO roles, appropriately and systematically monitoring the CEO and the organization's performance, and clearly identifying and understanding the difference between customers and "owners" - those on whose behalf the board governs. Judy's first clear message to us at the very beginning of our retreat was that our job was to provide oversight and insight to HRMAM affairs. Bylaw 28 states, "The direction and affairs of the Association shall be vested in the Board." Though this is a simple message, implementing it requires extreme diligence. Here is where we learned the concept of "Noses in, fingers out." Boards must keep their noses in the business of the organization, while keeping their fingers out of its functioning. In the HRMAM context, the Board should not be organizing and

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of HR Matters - Spring 2014

HRMAM Chair’s Message
Upcoming HRMAM Events
HR Special Event: Excellence in Leadership Awards Recipients
Learnings from Our Governance Review Retreat
Building an Effective Safety Culture
HR & Business: Hiring Foreign Workers? Take the Right Steps
HR & Business: Finance-led Capitalism, Pensions, and Financial Crisis
HR Review: The Respect Effect
Workplace Bullying: Do You Have Honest and Strong Boundaries?
HR & Law: Just Cause Under The Employment Standards Code: Have You Got What It Takes?
The Pursuit of Employee Engagement
HR Movers and Shakers

HR Matters - Spring 2014