A lot has been written about diversity in recruiting for companies and corporate Boards, but what about Customer Advisory Boards? We operate many advisory boards for technology, financial services and healthcare companies across the globe. While gender diversity in one of these industries is higher than the others, overall diversity in the c-suite is terrible.
When recruiting for Customer Advisory Boards we often feel the non-verbal shoulder shrug of “well this is technology and it is the c-suite… we can’t recruit for diversity if the people aren’t there.” But we have one Board that has proven this to be a weak argument. The leaders of this Board set out to make diversity the only option. They refused to accept recruits that didn’t tick the diversity buckets and forced the sales teams to work harder in recruiting. And it worked! We have a technology CIO Board that is fifty percent women and increasing in its racial diversity as well.
‘Diversity of Boards drives profitability’ is a known and proven mantra. Our experience shows that diversity in advisory boards also drives engagement, interaction and productivity. While we do not have hard metrics developed, our Board meeting minutes show that the Customer Advisory Board with high levels of diversity yields twice as much dialogue, debate and discussion as those with low diversity numbers. The result? More input to strategies, better advice and stronger opportunities to drive change and improvement.
Certainly, diversity can be a difficult milestone to achieve, but you only need to add one person at a time to tip the balance. Set a goal today to add one diverse candidate to your Boards each quarter. Soon you will have a diverse Board ready to challenge your strategies and enhance your outcomes.