Specific training aimed at SOEs
As mentioned, in many jurisdictions even if on-going professional development may be a priority general board training is not mandatory nor, in most cases, common practice. Rather, the trend is to focus on thematic training in areas where supplementary training is needed on an individual or board basis, for example on accounting standards, tax codes/legislation, or laws, regulations and other areas of relevance to the function of the board.
Thematic training can also target technical committees where specific aspects of board competence are needed; for example, it is common in most countries to organise specific training for audit committees.
Good practice: General training for boards of directors should not be a formal requirement; however, on-going professional development should be encouraged and supported.
Where training is provided, the preference tends to be for workshop style meetings where good practices can be shared and exchanged with members of the board. Interestingly, in Japan, workshops are held for non-standing directors where reforms of public institutions are introduced. This practice apparently serves to inform board members of government objectives rather than equip them to fulfil their ordinary board functions. Other jurisdictions report that they encourage professional development by enabling payment by the SOE for training where necessary or requested by individual board members, although training is usually provided by in the form of an “off the shelf” training (Israel).
It is not common practice for SOEs to offer specific training for employee representatives on the board. In jurisdictions where employees serve on boards, training may be received through their own constituencies (e.g. trade unions). This is the case in Sweden, Germany and (on an informal basis) Finland.