Taking Board Diversity to the Next Level

While it’s good to see that boards are increasingly focused on addressing issues of gender, ethnicity and diversity in the boardroom, a lot of boards are struggling to realize their full potential. Boards that treat the recruitment of diverse directors as a “check https://affordableboard.com/4-key-components-of-a-successful-strategic-plan/ box” exercise may end with a diverse demographic board, but one lacking cognitive diversity that could significantly reduce board effectiveness.

When diversity is introduced to the board in the right way, the results can be transformative. If women are represented on the board, their perspective on issues like merchandising and marketing are able to be incorporated in deliberations. The result is an improved understanding of the customer’s needs, which will likely increase profits and sales.

Diversity can also help improve the company’s environment. For example boards with members from a variety of demographics can be more attentive to concerns regarding sexual harassment and workplace discrimination and more likely to anticipate changes in employee attitudes regarding equal pay and other corporate practices.

If a board is planning to advance its efforts in diversity to the next step it’s a good idea to think about what it might look like and how it can identify and recruit candidates who possess the knowledge, skills of experience, contacts and skills to make that happen. To achieve this it could consider conducting self-assessments of its current composition and using resources like Michigan Nonprofit Association’s diversity tool to initiate honest discussions with board members as well as other key stakeholders on what the board looks for in terms of diversity.