In this day and age, women are still underrepresented as board members across the world. With the vast majority of companies now recognizing the need for more diversity. However, the biggest question is how can we improve the methods we use to build gender diversity on boards?
When we empower women, society benefits, grows and thrives. – Paul Polman
With 91% of directors saying they’re taking steps to increase diversity on their boards, the task is still daunting. Many feel that it’s fueled by an increasing need to be politically correct, and others think it’s just to tick a box.
How do we change the perception and show the value of increasing gender diversity on boards?
1. Discover the benefits
Gender diverse teams think differently and the same applies to the board room. Female directors bring differing points of views, skills and talents to the table, which leads to a wider range of perspectives, discussion and implementation of new procedures. Problems are solved faster, and more efficiently because of this. Boardroom diversity leads to better overall outcomes. Gender diverse companies also see higher returns overall according to this report.
2. The more, the merrier
One woman on a board can be perceived as “filling a quota”. Having one woman is definitely progress, it’s true, but research shows that companies with 3 or more women on their board enhances the company much more. Gender diversity is a catalyst also for other types of diversity – the company is perceived as an open and modern workplace.
As Sabine Hutchison, CEO Seuss+, says: “We know by now that having a diverse team leads to innovation, creativity and productivity. But, it is actually so much more than that, it is about the future …”. Take a look at the video below to learn more about the first steps you can take to create more diversity within your organization.
3. Look outside the box
Look at candidates who have the right expertise, not just board experience. Maintain a great talent pool, and draw from this when looking for new members. Hiring and promoting from within the company also increases morale.
4. Level the playing field
Women face discrimination in the workplace, with less access to senior leaders, everyday discrimination and microaggressions. It feels harder for women to advance because of the different perceptions and needs in the workplace. By reviewing your workplace and policies, you’ll make positive change that attracts more candidates.
5. Add seats to the boardroom
On average, directors stay in their role more than a decade with a retirement age of 72 or higher. This obviously lowers the turnover of board seats, making it more difficult for new people, especially female executives, to join the table. By expanding the membership of the board, and creating additional places that can be filled by new women directors, your board can have much more diverse perspectives. Of course, we understand that research suggests smaller boards are more efficient, but as the older members retire, the size will adjust accordingly.
6. Make a concrete plan
Create yourself a road-map and goals to achieve. Don’t just create a checklist and tick the boxes, but make a solid plan and create an innovative pathway to recruit top talent to your board, and increase diversity. Implement this and live this as part of your recruitment strategy.
The case for gender diversity on boards is growing. The benefits of a more diverse board are clear, both financially, and in retaining talent. Companies embracing diversity see increases in profits, performance and have a stronger company culture.
The business case for diversifying your board is there.
Our Women on Boards programs are comprehensive, cultivating boardroom expertise and knowledge, and create effective directors. By creating a pipeline of female board candidates for the life science industry, we want to boost inclusion and gender equality. We want to lead the change, and connect organizations with women who have the necessary experience to change the industry.
With our Employee Development Package or Partner Package, we connect organizations with highly successful women who have industry-specific corporate experience, as well as support them in maintaining valuable succession pipelines by promoting their own top talent in their career development. Learn more about it here.
Our executive advancement courses are designed for female leaders who are ready to enhance their skills needed to join the board room. Participants leave the program with honed and refined skills including an extensive board portfolio and CV with video and digital brand. If you are ready to take the next step in your career, take a look at our participants brochure here.