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The Case for Gender Diversity on Boards

It’s official. Women are better for business!

“Research has shown that strong stock market growth among European companies is most likely to occur where there is a higher proportion of women in senior management teams.

Companies with more women on their boards were found to outperform their rivals with a 42% higher return in sales, 66% higher return on invested capital and 53% higher return on equity”.                                                 (Source 30 per cent club)

So how do businesses go about making this difficult transition? It is estimated that it will take over 70 years to achieve gender-balanced boardrooms in the UK.

There are many women who are ready to serve on corporate boards, but complex barriers and challenges continually stand in their way.

A consultation carried out by the 30% Club revealed that women with corporate experience were frequently overlooked for development opportunities and that there were differences in the way that men and women were mentored and sponsored, which gave men the edge over their female peers.

Behaviour holds the key

Women’s behavioural traits were found to be a key contributory factor.

Because women tend to undervalue their own skills, achievements and experiences, fewer successful female role models often breed stereotypes and therefore stifle their progression and promotion.

There is also a perception that many women in leadership positions are overlooked because they are perceived not to have the relevant experience and Chairmen fear that they will not understand corporate issues or hard-core governance.

Also, the informal and social networks are still influential in many board appointments. There is a lack of transparency around selection criteria and the way in which executive searches ­operate are therefore collectively responsible for some of the barriers to board entry for women.

How can your business change these behaviours and attitudes?

The three ‘C’s: Catalyst. Chemistry. Correlation.

Catalyst: light the blue touch paper…

You are probably already adept at recognising and nurturing your individual talent, but in order to maximise the proven reward that Board diversity brings, Atlantic Speaker Bureau (ASB) will help you achieve a fuller understanding of your Board’s conscience, both as a unit and as individuals is critical.

To communicate your aspirations and your intentions as an integrated unit, you will need a catalyst. Something and someone that will help you deliver a compelling and strategically significant message that will not only be entertaining, but also memorable to both genders.

Delivery is key, particularly around a sensitive subject, so here are some thoughts for possible events:

1.    ‘Company Networking Evening with Motivational Woman Speaker and Gender Diversity official announcement from the company CEO’

2.    ‘Internal Gender Diversity Conference with Keynote Speaker followed by Interactive Workshop’

3.    ‘Client and Prospects Breakfast Meeting to include Keynote Speech on Iconic Women Pioneers and Business Leaders’

4.    ‘Keynote Motivational Diversity Speech from an inspirational and respected figurehead, interview with company press officer and meet, greet, handshake and photo with 20 members of staff identified for their contribution to diversity within the company.’

5.    ‘High profile business leaders to attend a small exclusive dinner, deliver focussed dinner speech and participate in debate for your company’s top clients all wanting to address the gender diversity issue.’

Chemistry: select the best speaker for the task

Whether you are a conference virgin or a veteran, speaker selection for this subject might be a daunting prospect.

Speaker chemistry, engaging content and tone-of-voice are all synonymous with successful communication. All of these must be perfectly in-sync with your brand and your mission.

Use us to help you through a speaker selection thought process.

Once selected, your chosen speaker will need to be well briefed, mentored and choreographed, without compromising his or her natural delivery style.

Correlation: engage with your audience

Never forget, content is king!

Your Gender Diversity event or forum will live or die based on it’s impact at the time and the positive talkability its creates afterwards. At this stage, your audience may have limited bandwidth and success will be measured on the power of the messages that are embraced – then lived and breathed by your delegates. So the emphasis must be on crisp, clear and concise delivery.

Let us help you get to grips with your objectives, key messages and what you want your people to think, feel and do as a result of attending your event.