2020-2021 Global Director Survey Report

Board governance during the COVID-19 crisis

The COVID-19 global health crisis has had an unprecedented impact on business and society across the globe and boards have responded to help their organizations navigate the challenges.

New research by the Global Network of Director Institutes (GNDI) member institutes and supported by Marsh & McLennan, reveals directors’ perspectives on Covid-19 impacts as well as directors’ views on the trajectory of boardroom and external trends.

Over 60% of the nearly 2,000 global survey respondents note that the pandemic will accelerate growing attention on ESG, sustainability, and stakeholder value issues. In addition, the pandemic has shifted how directors will approach risk oversight, strategy oversight and human capital risks going forward. For example, most directors anticipate Incorporating a new set of broader risks into scenario planning over the next year.

In terms of board operations, Covid-19 has accelerated the use of digital tools and virtual meetings will become a regular component of board operations.

We invite you to explore the research and data to benchmark your boardroom’s 2021 agenda and operations. Please explore the key findings and download the report below.

Key Findings:

High Marks For Directors and Their Management Teams

72 percent of directors surveyed were pleased with their crisis response and ability to provide oversight during the crisis, with 32 percent crediting prior scenario planning as a key factor in their ability to navigate the pandemic crisis.

Virtual Board Meetings Are Here To Stay

Among those surveyed, directors rated losing nonverbal communication as the top challenge of adapting to a virtual operating environment, with only 49 percent finding virtual meetings as effective as in-person meetings. However, 89 percent of respondents anticipate that digital tools will be an important resource for boards going forward.

Increased Director Time Commitment

Two-thirds of directors surveyed reported that over the past year their time commitment increased by 50 percent or more, with the highest-ranked issue related to time spent with management to recalibrate strategy in response to short- and long-term changes in the COVID-19 operating environment.

2020-2021 Global Director Survey Report