How to Make Your Organization’s Board More Diverse

Promoting more diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace is on every leader’s radar these days, with the push extending beyond employees to include members of an organization’s board of directors, too.

Promoting more diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace is on every leader’s radar these days, with the push extending beyond employees to include members of an organization’s board of directors, too. Still, Board member diversity remains low. Here are some causes, as well as ways to increase DE&I on your Board.

The Challenge: Few Slots to Fill

Most boards of directors have low turnover rates, meaning that when a spot does arise, it’s usually highly sought after, and carefully filled. One way to address this in the short-term is to vote to add one or two seats to your board’s makeup. It’s the quickest and easiest way to make a change now — in 2021 — as well as to put action behind your words and commitment to a more diverse board. Then work out your organization’s longer-term board seat rotation.

The Challenge: Inactivity

People talk about the important of board diversity, but the when surveyed, less than half of board members actually find it to be more of a “nice to have” than a “necessary to have.” Stakeholders must make it clear that board diversity is no longer optional, and they need to insist that their boards better reflect those they serve.

The Challenge: Limited Qualified Candidates

The perception that there is a lack of qualified candidates is simply untrue. In every industry, there are untapped candidates just waiting to be called on fill leadership positions. Oftentimes, people don’t even know when board seats become available. It’s up to boards to identify strategies to more effectively recruit top, diverse leaders to their ranks.

The Challenge: Proper Succession Planning

Don’t wait until a board member’s turn is close to expiring or he or she announced they are stepping down to identify candidates. Members of boards should be constantly scouting potential leaders, influencers and change makers to fill seats on their boards. What’s more, succession planning should be fully transparent, with all members of the board having influence and ability to refer candidates for vetting. Being open about succession planning ensures that everyone’s voice is heard, and that everyone has a chance to share their input and make recommendations. It also has the added benefit of increasing dialogue on the topic of diversity on your board.

If you want your leadership to reflect the makeup of your organization, that means improving diversity, equity and inclusion at all levels of your organization, including your Board.

Read the full article to learn more about the strategies you can implement to increase BoD diversity.