The Current State of Boardroom Inclusion

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Board diversity is not enough. In recent years, social, investor, and regulatory pressures have led many directors, and their boards, to reconsider their composition and the criteria used to identify and select potential board members. The aim is to make boards more diverse, not only in the perspectives directors bring to the boardroom, but also in its gender, racial, and ethnic makeup. However, achieving board diversity alone is not enough. If turning diverse candidates into diverse directors is half the battle, the other half is ensuring that their diverse perspectives and backgrounds are “activated” and heard in the boardroom.

Boards seeking to advance the impact of new and diverse directors must be purposefully inclusive to ensure that discussions benefit from the diverse voices that they have invited into the boardroom. To help better understand these issues, diversify the pipeline for future directors, disseminate practices to create a more inclusive boardroom, and embolden the governance ecosystem, NACD created the Center for Inclusive Governance™.

At the moment, little information is available on the challenges, activities, and benefits of boardroom inclusion. To create a baseline to better understand these challenges and create a foundation for further research, NACD asked more than 200 of its members about inclusion on their boards to understand the current pulse of boardroom inclusion. Many of these issues require further investigation, which NACD’s Center for Inclusive Governance will continue to perform.