Boards that recognise that the more diverse in gender and background they are, the better positioned to think differently and represent broader interests of the community. Boards that ensure it is both representative of the community and appropriately skilled through a proactive approach to succession strategies.
Part of succession planning is ensuring long-standing board members contribute dynamically, including engagement in continual professional development. All directors must apply high-quality governance skills and leadership, and possess a contemporary understanding of the complex environment to govern effectively.
To recruit the best possible decision makers and encourage greater board diversity, ensure the following strategies are in place.
Board Evaluation and Skills Audit
An annual board evaluation and skills audit is undertaken to identify skill and diversity gaps and assist with the recruitment of board members with appropriate attributes, knowledge, skills and qualifications.
The director’s role description clearly outlines the responsibilities and expectations so that potential candidates are fully informed about the skills and commitment required.
Communication with Members
An election kit containing the director’s role description and election process is distributed to potential candidates. Those voting are informed of the attributes and skills that the board is seeking so that voting can be based on merit rather than popularity.
A constant education program throughout the year will increase members’ interest and engagement with the board’s governing duties.
Encouragement for Women to Apply
Generally, females are more likely to apply for board positions when encouraged and supported in the process. If the board has historically been male dominated, then actively seek appropriate women to apply for directorships.
Include profiles of existing directors on the website so that potential candidates can consider where their attributes and skills would “fit” into the existing mix. Highlight existing role models for other women if the board already has female directors.
Review of Constitution
Review the constitution to ensure that it is not discriminatory, encourages diversity and a range of skills, and to allow the board to fill gaps if required.
Consider a range of recruitment methods to attract a wide range of candidates, including advertising. This includes, where the organisation’s governing documents permit, candidates to be interviewed formally, and nominated and encouraged based on merit.