Soon after Caroline Brereton took the helm as CEO of the Ontario Chiropractic Association (OCA) in 2018, she worked with Office Manager Deborah Gibson to replace the organization’s paper-based system to manage documents and other important information for the Board of Directors. Unfortunately, this platform did not work out well.
“Our previous platform was a challenge from the get-go,” Deborah recalls. “The concept was great, but it just didn’t work for us. I felt hopeless at every board meeting because many of the board members regularly had difficulties accessing the existing portal and their documents.”
The team had multiple challenges with this previous platform:
- The board portal was, in Deborah’s words, “clunky” and not user-friendly.
- In 2015, several years’ worth of meeting minutes and other documents representing years of institutional memory were irretrievably lost when transitioning from a shared drive to the new platform
- When links to files were shared externally, permissions became an issue. Some users reported needing access when they already had it, and vice versa. For reasons that were never adequately determined, users of Apple products and users on PC’s found their devices not integrating with the system all that well.
- Despite serving as the administrator for the board portal, Deborah experienced frustration with account management. She wanted to keep things simple and not ask board members to create separate logins. “It seemed the more users added, the worse the system performed,” Deborah recalls.
Before OnBoard, it sometimes took up an entire afternoon to create board materials and then more time to distributed via courier. Using the Board Book Builder, it takes far less time.
The Solution for Streamlining Board Book Preparation
The Ontario Chiropractic Association is a not-for-profit, member-based association representing more than 80% of Ontario chiropractors. As a voluntary, professional association, OCA is governed by an elected Board of Directors. This 12-member group is supported by committees, the leadership team, and staff.
Streamlining the activities that went into board meeting preparation had long been a challenge for the team. In the past, OCA used a labor-intensive, paper-based system that relied on email, attachments, and paper.
A lot of paper.
“I would block off at least an afternoon to prepare the board books and get them out. I would run off 25 copies, collate them into binders, and then have the books delivered by courier to all board members,” Deborah recalls. “Depending on the meetings, some board books were a few hundred pages. They could be quite voluminous. Between the time lost and the expense of the paper and the couriers, it was all quite costly.”
With OnBoard, the entire board book production process is significantly streamlined.
- Before the meeting, Deborah creates a folder for other staff and board members to upload the documents needed.
- Deborah collects the documents and other board materials using OnBoard’s Board Book Builder functionality.
- The platform’s drag-and-drop interface makes this fast and straightforward.
- Deborah then sends a notification to all board members that the board book is ready. Even at the first meeting, when she was a brand-new OnBoard user, this process took less than an hour.
The Solution for Organizing Other Supporting Groups
With the Board of Directors having made a smooth and successful transition to OnBoard, Deborah next set her sights on organizing OCA’s advisory councils, board committees, and senior leadership team meetings in the platform as well. Documents are sometimes added on the fly while meetings are in progress, and members are given access quickly and without disruption.
Deborah highlights how OnBoard has made the association more productive and efficient by sharing an example of using the survey function to elect a committee chairperson. Typically, an election is held where candidates need to leave the room, and votes are taken by a show of hands.
“We were scheduled to vote for a chairperson for one of our committees,” Deborah recalls. “I was able to go into OnBoard, create a survey on the fly, and instantly share it with the members of the committee. Committee members were able to vote privately and securely and the chairperson was elected within 15 minutes.”
"I was able to go into OnBoard, create a survey on the fly, and instantly share it with the members of the committee. Committee members were able to vote privately and securely and the chairperson was elected within 15 minutes."
After laboring so long under an intensive paper-based board preparation process and later with a cloud-based platform, OnBoard was a breath of fresh air for the organization.
Implementing OnBoard has helped Deborah and the OCA meet the challenges and opportunities of 21st-century healthcare.
- Building the board books is now streamlined and less costly.
- Organizing meetings for the Board of Directors, advisory councils, board committees, and senior leadership team is now a drag-and-drop, point-and-click affair that takes significantly less time.
- Voting during a meeting is now a simple, private event.
Anecdotally, Deborah notes that board members come to meetings more prepared and ready to participate in the meetings. The same goes for the advisory councils, board committees, and senior leadership team meetings. Feedback from board members and the CEO has been extremely positive.
“Our CEO is very pleased with OnBoard!” Deborah enthuses. “She finds it easy to use and can locate resource documents quickly. She doesn’t have to reach out to me quite as often for assistance to find the documents she needs.”