Having a diverse board of directors is critical for the success of any global organization. As part of IMA’s diversity and inclusion initiative, the Diversity and Inclusion Committee has been exploring ways to develop a leadership pipeline that results in a diverse global board of directors that accurately represents our membership.
A recent IMA survey found that a majority of organizations have written diversity and inclusion policies, but only “satisfactory” effort was put forth by organizations to promote the policy. Organizations looking to promote diversity may be unsure where to start. So here are three ways you can promote diversity and inclusion in your organization.
1. ENCOURAGE STAFF RECRUITMENT AND REFERRALS
Networking is an important part of working in business. Your employees and board members should have networks of potential candidates to refer. To focus your efforts, select a few employees or board members to sit on a committee—like IMA’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee—that’s dedicated to recruiting diverse candidates.
The committee can recruit from professional networking groups, at local job fairs, or even through websites. You can also proactively recruit a diverse pool of potential candidates from local schools. Your organization can target the candidates within specific areas of higher education, be it students, professors, or advisors.
2. EDUCATE STAFF ABOUT CULTURAL AWARENESS
In order to successfully diversify your workforce, you will need to educate your employees and board members about cultural awareness. The goal of this training is to educate individuals on what cultural practices should be acknowledged when interacting with people from different cultures, for example, avoiding conflicts created by scheduling meetings on important cultural holidays that aren’t largely acknowledged in the United States.
Making diversity and inclusion core values will help you enforce your policy. At IMA, we respect the individual, we aim to innovate and continuously improve, and we team to achieve common goals regardless of our individual backgrounds. Living these values every day helps us keep diversity and inclusion top of mind.
3. HAVE MEASURABLE GOALS
Make sure you have established accountability mechanisms for measuring and monitoring the initiative so that you can track your progress and report your results back to your employees. It can be as simple as recording your board members’ demographics by using an online survey or performing short, individual interviews with them.
When IMA’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee was created last year, we set a goal to have a more diverse Global Board of Directors. Then, earlier this year, Alex Eng was appointed the 2016-2017 Chair-Elect of the IMA Global Board of Directors. He is the first non-Caucasian man to be appointed. In addition, we now have more women on the board than ever before, and our Governance Committee has five female members serving this year.
How will your organization promote diversity and inclusion? Are diversity and inclusion important in your organization?
IMA’s Diversity and Inclusion Statement – IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants)
Increasing Board Member Diversity – Strategic Finance