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Developing Diversity and Inclusion in the Boardroom

Essentials of Equality & Diversity - E-Learning

The boardroom should be a place where opinions are freely expressed, ideas are abundant, and creativity blooms but for executive teams to function successfully they need to be comprised of people who embody diversity and inclusion.

Developing a diverse board of directors shows employees (and customers) you’re committed to tackling the increasing complexities of a global economy and understand that diversity and inclusion aren’t just mere words vaguely muttered by HR.

Read on to find out why it is necessary, what it looks like, and how to achieve it…



Why is Diversity and Inclusion Necessary for Boards?

Boardrooms should be representative of today’s workforce and customer demographics.

These diverse perspectives give enhanced corporate governance and increased strategic opportunity, ensuring different opinions and evaluations are considered and represented.

Decision-making undertaken by an homogonous board risks biased, pretentious and idealistic solutions which are likely to have a negative impact on the company, investors, and customers.

Open to scrutiny from stakeholders, the media, and the public, a board must be able to tackle problems and overcome barriers with a clear commitment to all the parties they represent.


How to Achieve Diversity in the Boardroom

According to an online article by the Harvard Business Review, to achieve a cognitively and demographically diverse board one must:

• Focus on identifying demographically diverse director candidates who have experience in areas that are required on the board to meet the company’s current and anticipated needs.

• Recruit from new talent pools and venture beyond using board member networks and historical recruitment practices to help identify diverse director candidates who lack ties to incumbent directors and management and can share new views and perspectives and different approaches to problem solving.

• Carefully review a candidate’s background and life experiences and have in-depth discussions with the candidate and the candidate’s references to determine whether he or she is cognitively diverse from other members of the board.

• Involve multiple directors in the interview process and conduct interviews in a variety of settings to get an accurate read of the candidate.

Recruiting demographically diverse directors who have a strong background in business is essential as one without the relevant experience will likely lack the ability to add significant value to the existing board and would merely be a means of ‘checking the right box’ in terms of diversity.

When selecting potential candidates consider aspects such as:

• Race

• Gender

• Ethnicity

• Religion

• Socio-economic status

• Disability

• Practical experience

• Education

• Industry knowledge

• Personality type

• Interests

• Values

• Goals

Conducting a regular analysis of skills and personalities which are missing from the boardroom is essential to maintain good representation.

Include a D&I commitment in future recruitment drives, ensuring this trickles down from the board to every level.

With the right mix of people and skills the boardroom becomes a hub for diversity and inclusion and sets the tone for the wider organization.


Information regarding raising cultural intelligence within the workplace, understanding unconscious bias, and cultural awareness training can be accessed by clicking the relevant links.

Alternatively, if you would like to discuss your training requirements, please contact us.