Why is diversity in the Boardroom critical?

The rate of change in the modern workplace is only going to increase. Boards and executive leadership teams therefore need to be flexible and responsive.  However, if Boards and leadership teams are dominated by a lack of diversity, how can they expect to have a diverse range of opinions on, and solutions to these changes? 

30% of boards thought that diversity brought with it the biggest challenge facing their business

The necessary horizon scanning, and business continuity planning needed to remain resilient requires a range of skills. Diversity in the Boardroom should therefore apply not just to gender or ethnicity, but also social diversity and diversity of skill set. This will enable the Board to be more aware, more sensitive to the demands of a modern workforce and market, and to subsequently respond with appropriate risk management mechanisms and behavioural benchmarks. 

We have seen a focus on gender pay in recent years, with organisations having to manage the messaging around any considerable differences in remuneration. We are now seeing attention turning to ethnicity pay gaps. While the legislation is still currently in a consultation period, the intention by the Government to turn its sights on ethnicity inequality is a promising step for diversity and equal opportunity. 26.3% of boards only have informal or no policies referring to diversity and inclusivenessWhilst organisations may initially be daunted by the prospect of having to not only report on this information, but also capture it in the first place (as many organisations do not), the step must be viewed as a positive development and a step toward better corporate governance.  

Over and above a Board’s ability to function more effectively, they must also consider how they are perceived by their stakeholders. If a workforce cannot relate to their Leaders nor recognise that they are taking steps to represent their workforce – morale can also be impacted. 

Diversity, inclusiveness and critically equal opportunity cannot be a tick box exercise – it has to be a proactive, well thought out approach. 

For more information on how organisations should be ensuring equal opportunity in their workforce and Boards, speak with Hannah Gibson-Patel

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