Few issues have risen to the top of boardroom agendas faster than diversity, equity, and inclusion. The growing awareness of how diversity enables innovation, and how diverse and inclusive organizations drive business performance has become hard to ignore. So too have the events that continue to elicit widespread societal outrage over the mistreatment of people from diverse backgrounds, and the impact events like those have on the workforce. It is no surprise that DE&I has shifted from a topic the board lets management handle to a priority the board wants to understand and influence.
Russell Reynolds Associates recently launched an in-depth study of nominations and governance committee (NomCo) chairs, including surveying 147 chairs from leading companies across industries and around the world (see methodology note for demographic details). NomCo chairs hold a unique leadership role on the board, influencing everything from who becomes CEO, to who joins the board, and which directors hold leadership positions. DE&I was one of many subjects these board leaders talked to us about, and it was one of the responsibilities that they are dedicating much more time addressing in the committee now than they have in the past. Here are three big takeaways from what they told us: