Ten questions every board director needs to ask about diversity

In simple terms, "diversity" refers to the degree to which an organisation’s board, staff, volunteers and users comprise a broad range of backgrounds and interests, taking into account issues of language, ethnicity and culture, gender, sexual orientation, age, socio-economic status, neuro-diversity, and disability.

Diversity is a governance issue. It affects the information available to you and how you make decisions. An interest in diversity helps you to ensure that your reach is as extensive as you wish it to be, and that you are not restricting organisational growth and impact by accident. This applies to the make-up of your board, staff team, volunteer team, visitors (if relevant) and beneficiaries (if relevant).

These 10 questions will help board directors to consider their role in relation to diversity at their organisation.

To know why you should be asking these questions, download the full document.

1. Policy

Are your human resources policies well suited to those who currently work for you, and your beneficiaries and volunteers, and do they also attract the new talent you want?

2. Culture

How does the organisation acknowledge and seek out difference?

3. Operations

Are your board meetings and staff offices accessible to everyone?

4. Boardroom communication and decision-making

How do you ensure every person around the table is heard, and feels heard?

5. The token

Do you have multiple people representing different identities and groups, or only one?

6. Clients/beneficiaries/service users

Are the voices of your beneficiaries/clients/visitors/users heard at your board table?

7. Technology

How can technology be used to increase and support diversity in your organisation?

8. Communication

What risks stem from the organisation’s approach to dealing with and communicating about diversity?

9. Reputation

What opportunities stem from the organisation’s approach to dealing with and communicating about diversity?

10. Advocacy

What is the organisation’s position and role in advocating for diversity beyond its own operations?

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