Diversity within any company, at any level, is something to be praised and celebrated. Bringing together a range of ages, race and genders creates not only a unique working environment but also encourages diverse point of views; and brings together a variety of perspectives, ideas, knowledge and ways of working. It is therefore imperative that this same level of diversity is represented at C-Suite executive level. The challenge to create a diverse c-suite is vast and at times complex, however, according to the latest data the number of women in boardrooms globally is on the increase – albeit, at a slow pace. In 2012 the number of companies with women on boards sat at 76%, rising steadily to 84% by 2016.
This may seem positive, however, for women to have a meaningful impact at the board level, representation by three or four women is required to reach sustainable change. Although this number seems low in the grand scheme of things, it is predicted that this goal of representation is unlikely to be reached until the year 2021 – with gender parity even farther off in 2036. We are thereby left with the question, which strategies can we use to speed up this change?
C-suite executive recruitment
For c-suite executive recruitment, companies have a heightened role to ensure that candidates of all genders and minorities are highlighted and put forward for executive positions. This can be done in a variety of ways, from the beginning of the recruitment process, right to the very end. Perhaps the most obvious are through networking with potential candidates in advance of any job roles becoming available. Sites such as Linkedin and Facebook can prove valuable is finding fresh talent with potential, as well as the experience needed to fill a c-suite executive role. It is the recruiter’s responsibility to screen candidates CV’s with an impartial point of view in order to obtain a diverse client list which not only has relevant experience but the potential to deal with the issues one may face in the role. It is beneficial to have a conversation with the company looking to fill the position beforehand, to better understand the need for diversity within their industry, and in turn, seek candidates that fill that need.
Creating a roadmap for each company
It is important to note that not all companies are created equal, therefore their needs and requirements will be entirely different. Creating the opportunity for in-depth discussions within each company to discuss a succession plan is important, as well as outlining what the right candidate would look like on paper. Establishing which kind of diversity is important to each board is imperative to meeting their future growth. For example, a beauty brand may have a board consisting solely of women, however, they may lack any male perspectives, as well as differentiation in age or race. Aligning current and future business strategies with board composition are imperative to creating a fully diverse and evergreen c-suite.
The executive interview process
Once potential clients have been selected and invited to interview, it is necessary for the interviewing panel to represent a variety of views, backgrounds and be free from assumptions. It is also best practice to prepare for any questions that may be asked by a candidate from a minority. Diverse job candidates often ask important questions aimed at helping them determine whether an organization is truly inclusive and supportive and whether they will be comfortable in a position. Even if a candidate does not ask any questions, you may volunteer information that may help inform the candidate of your sincerity in welcoming diversity.
Bringing it all together
To conclude, creating an effective c-suite executive recruitment strategy is imperative to prepare a company board for future eventualities, as well as creating diversity. To make a change within boardrooms globally, change must come from an honest place. Seeking potential from all candidates, regardless of their age, gender and background are necessary for creating a diverse c-suite that meets business needs. Making changes to how we search for candidates, posting job positions, as well as interviewing them, all contributes to boosting the number of minority candidates that are considered for c-suite positions globally.