Boardroom diversity continues to be a hot topic in corporate governance. Institutional investors, proxy advisory firms and even lawmakers are all focused on the topic. They’re pushing boards to make changes to increase their diversity. Most directors have gotten the message. And they recognize the value of board diversity.
We looked at results from our 2019 Annual Corporate Directors Survey by gender. They show how boardroom thinking can be reshaped by a more diverse set of directors and more diversity of thought. Here are some results that highlight where male and female director views differ—and how their different viewpoints can lead to more dialogue, new perspectives and changed mindsets.
Directors broadly recognize the benefits of diversity in the boardroom—94% agree that board diversity brings unique perspectives to the boardroom, 87% of directors say board diversity enhances board performance and 76% say it enhances company performance.
Both male and female directors agree that the tone set by executive management and even middle management can contribute to problems with company culture. But female directors are more likely to say management’s focus on short-term results is to blame than male directors. They are also nearly twice as likely to blame the company’s compensation plans.
Weak corporate culture has been at the heart of many recent scandals. Hearing different perspectives on how culture permeates the company and where there might be breakdowns can help your board get ahead of a problem before it swells into a crisis.
Female directors don’t think their companies are doing quite as well as male directors do when it comes to talent management. In particular, they see room for improvement around developing and retaining talent—more so than male directors. And only 47% of female directors say their company does a good or excellent job recruiting a diverse workforce, compared to 67% of male directors.
The ability to attract and retain top talent is critical to staying competitive. And talent is another issue that investors are focusing on. Your board plays an important role overseeing talent management. Hearing different ideas of how the company is faring around talent can help surface shortcomings that might not have been noticed before.