Corporate Board Diversity

Customers, investors, and the general public are insisting that the board of directors of a company reflect the demographics of the community it serves. Adding diverse members increases the effectiveness of a board, and can also create an overall positive image as an employer. However, diversity in a corporate boardroom could mean different things to different companies and boards.

The most popular definition of diversity involves ethnicity and gender. However, the benefits of diversity go beyond these conventional aspects. Research shows that boards with a more diverse background are less likely to be susceptible to groupthink. The idea is that directors with a variety of backgrounds and perspectives are able to better debate each other’s opinions to create robust discussions, test alternatives and make more informed decisions.

It’s hard to argue against the need for more diversity on corporate boards however, it can be a challenge for executives and board chairs to choose the best candidates. Some advocacy groups offer lists of potential board members, however these candidates are often not part of the chairs networks or haven’t been considered for a job in the top management.

Boards can start by conducting an audit of their current profile. They can then utilize their annual evaluations in order to eliminate members who are no longer productive and find new talent who reflect the future state of the business. They can also tap into their networks to find pioneers who aren’t part or all-inclusive director pool.



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