While huge strides have been made in the last ten years around boardroom diversity, no Fortune 500 boardrooms are representative of the demographics of the US. This is according to Deloitte’s 2021 ‘Missing Pieces’ report.
The number of Fortune 500 companies with more than 40% board diversity has quadrupled since 2010, but it will take until 2074 for the entire Fortune 500 to reach 40% female and minority representation on their board.
Clearly, there is much more work for companies to do – and they need to act quickly. Not only is diversity good for business, but with the ongoing ‘Great Resignation’, employees are quitting their jobs for other companies that share their values and purpose. A lot of the values that employees value are around diversity and inclusion at work.
In this context, UNLEASH brought together three experts at its HR tech conference in Las Vegas to discuss how to create more equitable boardrooms.
The experts in question are Hyatt Hotels’ vice-president of diversity, equity and inclusion Tyronne Stoudemire, Alcon’s chief diversity and inclusion officer Kristen Weirick, and Dr. Iris Ware, CLO at the City of Detroit. Ware moderated the session.
Here are their gems of insight from UNLEASH America 2022.
Making boardrooms more diverse and inclusive
Ware shared that at the City of Detroit they added an O to their D,E&I strategy – and that O stands for “opportunity”.
So she asked the two panelists, “how are we expanding those opportunities?” How can this ensure that C-Suite and the boardrooms are as diverse as the rest of the organization?
Alcon’s Weirick shared that the best place to start is to think about “what are you trying to build” as an organization? What are you going to prioritize? What are you going to invest in?
She noted that Alcon, which is early on in this journey, put a framework in place, and then they looked at the gaps. That can then help how companies think about recruitment and promotion.
Hyatt Hotels’ Stoudemire added that these types of “systematic issues require systematic solutions”. This is why the hotel chain is partnering with colleges and universities to source diverse talent from.
Looking at promotions, Stoudemire added that you have to look at the internal “barriers that are holding them back”, and then rectifying them.
He concluded that the aim of equity in the boardroom is to “setting people up for success” by creating a culture where D,E&I is valued.
“Culture will eat strategy for breakfast, lunch and dinner”, added Stoudemire. Ultimately, there is no point in having a strategy if you don’t implement it.
If you want more from UNLEASH America but couldn’t make it to Las Vegas, check out our website and our social media channels.
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