Start with meaning, credit union director says.

How to build an engaged board

Engagement starts with meaning, says Cristina Farmus, board member  at $1.2 billion asset Purdue Federal Credit Union in West Lafayette, Ind.

If your board members understand the meaning of your credit union and why you do what you do, that leads to bigger engagement, she tells attendees at the How to Conference by CU Water Cooler in Madison, Wis.

Farmus offers several tips to foster board engagement:

• Offer easy-to-use tools. Purdue Federal offers board members a secure portal to access board agendas, motions, minutes, presentations, policies, and other materials.

• Recruit board members that will fill gaps. When it is time to refresh the board, look for gaps in skills and diversity.

• Encourage training and development. Send board members to conferences, webinars, and annual retreats. And rotate board members on committees so each member gains a greater understanding of the entire credit union.

• Talk about values. Reinforce the values that employees and board members are expected to live by at the credit union.

• Hold them accountable. Require attendance at board meetings, and encourage the board to self-monitor engagement.

• Mentor. Ask established directors to ensure they prepare new directors for their role.