Ninety percent of board chairs and eighty-four percent of all nonprofit boards are white. Businesses need to learn how to increase board diversity.
Frequently, board members are responsible for recruiting additional members. However, this is precisely why boards are not diverse. Board members tend to recruit individuals just like them, i.e. people who look like and think like them. However, this must change.
To increase board diversity, those recruiting new members need to think outside the box and recruit people who are not at all similar. For example, board members need to stop relying on personal connections.
Additionally, it is important not to choose the same people of color who sit on multiple boards and are often the only diverse board members on those boards. This constitutes tokenism, though they may not even realize it.
Further, organizations may shy away from diverse candidates who ask thought provoking questions during vetting. However, leaders and/or board members should not simply want “yes” people on their boards. A diverse board member brings a different perspective to the company and challenges the organization to better serve its mission, customers, and employees.
Please share how your organization plans to increase board diversity.