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Equality, diversity and inclusion  |  Societal and social  |  Succession planning

Rethinking the board recruitment process to increase diversity in the boardroom

Rethinking the board's recruitment process for better diversity

Addressing board diversity through rethinking the board appointment process

Boards and non-executive directors have a key role to play in building more diverse and inclusive environments and workforces that are representative of society. When it comes to more diverse and inclusive boardroom, NEDs, chairs and members of nominations committees are responsible for increasing the representation of under-represented groups, including professionals from BAME backgrounds. Black History Month 2020 is a new opportunity for NEDonBoard to alert decision-makers on the urgency to address culture, diversity and inclusion. In a series of blogs published throughout October, we explore levers that boards can use to create positive change. In this second blog of a series of three, we look at an essential lever which is the board appointment process.

The traditional recruitment process is not supportive of higher representation of ethnic minorities because of:

  • unconscious bias
  • targeted pools
  • prescriptive role specification
  • lack of transparency
  • lack of emphasis on people and values
  • use of CVs that are distorted documents and read selectively
  • inadequate pipeline of candidates.

Often, the process places emphasis on candidates’ ‘fit’ with board members and the board culture, which may conflate with “one of us” and may be used to disguise bias in the board appointment process.

The board recruitment process needs re-thinking. The lack of ethnic minority representation in the boardroom calls for nominations committees, chairs and boards to challenge the status-quo. How? NEDonBoard suggest 4 questions to get the debate started:

  • Is your NED vacancy framed in a way that excludes some professionals? NEDonBoard recommend that adverts promote insights and skills.
  • Is EQ valued in your board selection process? Inclusive leadership does encompass emotional intelligence. Traditionally, boards have not embraced EQ.
  • Does your interview process use situation questioning? There is tremendous value in using situation questioning to put candidates into the NED role and assess their understanding of the role and whether they are “fit” for it.
  • Have you advertised your NED vacancy widely? The more broadly your NED role is advertised, the greater the talent pool you will reach.


Related posts:

6 ways NEDs can address Culture, Diversity & Inclusion right now in their workforce and in the boardroom

Culture, Diversity and Inclusion for Board Members


Written by Elise Perraud, NEDonBoard COO


Want to know more?

  • If you are an organisation looking for talents from diverse backgrounds or looking to train your next generation of leaders, email us at [email protected]
  • If you are looking to transition to the board as a non-executive director, join us for our next free webinar, How to secure your first non-executive director role.
  • If you are already committed to becoming a non-exec and want a roadmap to achieve this objective, visit the NED Accelerator Programme by NEDonBoard course page. We applied years of accumulated knowledge and worked with experienced NEDs and chairs to deliver practical and actionable content to support you in transitioning with confidence and success.


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