Since 2004, when eShare was founded, the aspiration was to create something more than a digital board papers solution, it needed to be something that cultivates a culture of collaboration. We believe that greater collaboration between board members helps build much stronger foundations for decision-making. Often board members will have competing agendas, which can on some occasions cause tension, and can lead to a slowdown in decision-making. However, building a culture around collaborating with one another helps to avoid these unnecessary and divisive battles, ensuring everyone is pulling together in the same direction.
Creating a culture focused around collaboration requires a top-down approach however, greater visibility into the board and its decision-making processes needs to be adopted and promoted to all members of the business. This collaboration offers a great starting point for businesses looking to fall in line with the updated UK Corporate Governance Code, something that all organisations over a certain size will need to comply with thanks to the new ‘comply and explain’ provision.
The updated code puts board accountability under the microscope. Importantly for collaborative reasons, the code has also pushed businesses to have more employee representation within the board. Research conducted by eShare in 2017 found that 67.3% of people surveyed think it would be a good idea to have worker representation in the boardroom. In the code, some people have taken this to mean employees sitting on the board, however, this is often up for debate with certain business decisions being made that an employee sitting on the board would cause issues, courtesy of having conflicted interests.
Having said that, codetermination laws in Germany gives workers the right to participate in the management of their company. The law, which has been around since 1976, allows workers to elect representatives for almost half of the supervisory board of directors. Following on from other countries examples, it begs the question, should employees in the UK have the same representation in their boardroom? Other countries, such as Germany, have taken this approach, but it is still unclear what benefit this would provide for UK organisations. Whatever their approach, companies shouldn’t lose sight of the end goal, which is that employees are heard at boardroom level.
Whether you choose to have an employee representative in your boardroom or not, transparency across the entire organisation is the most important thing, something facilitated by a culture of sharing and collaborating on the decisions that affect the business, and the people working within it. This debate around employee participation, the UK Corporate Governance Code and transparency is why we’re looking forward to attending this year’s ICSA Annual Conference and canvassing the opinions of the 600 company secretaries in attendance.
This year’s conference agenda focuses on the implications of the revised UK Corporate Governance Code, as well as how businesses can prepare for Brexit. We are excited to show how we can help businesses navigate the tricky journey through both of the core topics, demonstrating BoardPacks, including our latest innovations. BoardPacks’ 2.1 features include new governance tracking tools, such as attendance and document tracking, allowing greater transparency and accountability in the board room, something many CoSec’s have been crying out for in recent years, will be some of the many talking points at Stand 24 as we discuss with attendees the benefits of full transparency and good governance.
If you are attending the ICSA Annual Conference 10-11th July, please stop by the stand to see how eShare can help you improve your collaboration and transparency. We will also be running our famous Lego Star Wars prize draw, so if you would like to be in with a chance of winning, pop over to the stand to find out more. Alternatively, please get in touch with us today to request a brochure and a free online demonstration.