In some hotels and resorts, a ’Welcome Letter’ awaits you when you enter your room or apartment. The management welcomes you and explains the particulars and specialties of the hotel. It also explains things that need and get special attention. Sometimes you get a tour and they know your name right away. In short, you are welcome!

Every company and every foundation or corporation should make such a welcome letter for its employees and also for its directors and supervisors. What should be included in this letter? First of all, something about the background and history of the organization. Subsequently, an introduction of the management board and of the (other) members of the board/supervisory board. The vision and mission are also explained. Furthermore, provide a summary of the duties and responsibilities of the management board/supervisory board. Of course, the regulations, articles of incorporation, and obligations are also described.

Preferably use photos, documents, and stories. Explain the dilemmas and choices that had to be made throughout the years, describe how major events in history and minor events in the country have been responded to. Funny things from the past, and possibly painful things as well. Share them with the new colleagues. Would you not like to have such a document from the company you work for?

Particularly for supervisors, for supervisory directors, and for members of the Supervisory Board this type of information is not only nice but even crucial. They need it because they are in a difficult position. They play an important role in the organization, but at the same time they are outsiders. That is why they are valuable to their organizations. As a consequence, they can assess from a distance whether the management acts wisely. For many decisions and choices of the supervisor, it is necessary to understand what the roots of the organization are. What inspired the people who established the company or the foundation? You need to know what inspired them to start the company or foundation. You need to know what they looked like. Was there joy or was it sour? What was the basic attitude towards the staff like? Are the employees inspired? Is there any dissatisfaction? Knowing this makes understanding possible and, for a good supervisor, understanding is a condition for good advice. How can you understand incidents in the company without thorough knowledge of the soul of the company? It is impossible. If you do have this thorough knowledge, you have a better context to put your role as a supervisor into practice, both when you have to hit the brakes and when you actually need to provide space. So, this welcome letter? Just do it!

This column is also available in Papiamentu. Click here to download a pdf version.

Do you have a question about corporate governance yourself? Please e-mail it to governance@ekvandoorne.com and perhaps your question will be discussed in the next blogpost.

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