Get on-board with diversity to overcome business challenges

Kalpna Woolf
Founder - BeOnBoard
5th October 2018

In a volatile and increasingly complex world, predicting the future with precision is risky business. 

Research by Deloitte Consulting confirms that we are experiencing significant shifts in global markets; changes in customer attitudes and demographics; introduction of digital technology; and movements in education, migration flow and equal opportunity. All these are creating a business context that is far less homogeneous and far more diverse than has historically been the case. Therefore, the need for diversity at board level has become vital, if leadership teams and subsequently companies, are to thrive in an increasingly diverse environment.

A proven way to increase the diversity of thought at board level, as well as encourage inclusion, is to recruit board members from diverse sociocultural backgrounds. This is evidenced by McKinsey Consulting in their report called Diversity Matters in 2016. Findings from the report indicated that companies in the top quartile for ethnic and racial diversity in management are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their industry mean, and those in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15% more likely to have returns above the industry mean.

Despite the business case for diversity at board level, companies in the UK are yet to capitalise on the competitive advantage that it brings. This is highlighted in the Parker Review into the Ethnic Diversity of UK Boards in 2016, which called the attention to the disproportionately low representation of UK citizen directors of colour across the FTSE 100. The review noted the significant need for corporate Britain to reflect the society it represents. 

It is on this basis that the programme, BeOnBoard, has been developed to help companies diversify in a way that supports growth and financial prosperity for shareholders and the UK economy as a whole.

The BeOnBoard Programme aims to support businesses and organisations on a national scale to improve the diversity of their Governing Bodies and Boards, specifically providing a pool of competent women and men from diverse backgrounds. In short, the BeOnBoard programme seeks to:

  • Identify emerging leaders from diverse backgrounds in terms of ethnicity and gender
  • Support their development providing the training required to make them board-ready
  • Provide network platforms for potential and existing board members to build relations
  • Provide mentoring and coaching to ensure the post-placement candidate’s success

Candidates on the programme will be engaged through professional bodies, community engagement activities and existing partner networks. Once engaged, interested candidates will be put through a tailored training programme which consists of: an introduction to corporate governance, Board roles and dynamics, soft skills at board level and board meeting preparation.

The BeOnBoard programme has been designed in response to increased interest from businesses in attracting a greater pool of diverse, talented and well-prepared board members. In order to fully benefit from this shift, BeOnBoard delivers a full service for businesses to successfully achieve board diversity, including:

  • Match interested businesses with the required specialist skillset needed at board level
  • Professional advising on inclusive resourcing strategy
  • Providing CPD for boards on cultural/behavioural disparities
  • Networking and brand visibility opportunities with key strategic partners in the UK

We would like to initially explore potential needs for your board on a one-to-one basis and how we can be of support through the BeOnBoard programme. We are particularly interested in businesses who would like to partner with BeOnBoard on our exciting and groundbreaking pilot.

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