With numerous global high profile campaigns (http://www.heforshe.org ; http://30percentclub.org ) a heightened lens is being placed upon diversity in the workplace, particularly at Board Level. It is therefore unsurprising that currently trending amongst many Blue – Chip organisations (Lloyds Banking Group, Standard Chartered PLC, RBS, Barclays) there is a desire to achieve increased diverse representation at Board Level. Granted the current focus is geared towards gender parity, with voluntary targets of 30% female representation at Board Level being set and supported by business institutions, academics and government.
For corporations genuinely seeking a sustainable diversity presence within their organisations, the work starts at pipeline entry into the company as a means to harness organic diversity. The end result being diversity being nurtured from entry level, middle management, Snr Management and ultimately at board level.
This is no easy feat, but it can be done if all the required support and investment (transparency of progress metrics, corporate awareness training, government investment) is undertaken to work towards its success.
But this is not merely being embarked upon by a number of FTSE 100 companies so they can be seen to be good corporate citizens, it is simply Good Business! In an age of increased competitive advantage and companies being able to identify the value add their consumers are looking for, the surest means to achieve this is to have a representation of your consumers within your organisation. If half the population is female, there is an emphatic case to have representation from half your consumer base within the company.
Numerous research studies (McKinsey & Company, Diversity Matters, 2014, Cranfield University, Women on Boards Davies Review Annual Report 2015) have deduced the empirical benefits of increased gender diversity; such as higher financial returns relative to national median average, encouraging culture of innovation and creativity, faster response strategy to changes in consumer demand through closer alignment with an often diverse customer base.
Whilst gender diversity is under the spotlight for now, with an ever increasing multicultural society it surely will not be too long before cultural diversity will also be making its way to the top of Board Room agendas!