The missing perspective in the boardroom: Millennials

A Boston Business Journal series

Generational diversity within your board is just as important as gender and ethnic qualifiers.

The missing perspective in the boardroom: Millennials

An employer’s perspective, as shared by William K. Bacic, New England managing partner, Deloitte LLP

Over the past few weeks, my blog posts have focused heavily on Millennials. However, Millennial talent is not just an area of importance when thinking about recruitment and retention. The Millennial point of view should also be considered when thinking about the makeup of boards of directors and corporate governance. Over the next few months, I look forward to sharing with you insights and perspectives on the importance of boardroom diversity.

While there is no doubt that some US boards are moving in the right direction, unfortunately, diversification often happens more slowly than many would like. When discussions about diversity do occur, they tends to focus on skills, and experiences or gender and ethnicity, rather than expanding the definition of diversity to include diversity of thought as well.

Generational diversity is a crucial aspect to consider when having conversations about board diversity.

Specifically, research indicates that there is very little generational diversity in the boardroom. In fact, the voice of an entire generation (the Millennial population is estimated at 77 million in the US alone), is oftentimes missing. Failing to include voices and perspectives of the younger generations may pose risks for businesses, regardless of their industry.

There is a great opportunity for boards to seek younger directors and gain perspectives of a generation that is redefining technology, consumer preferences, business strategy, business models, and even business risk. A Millennial perspective at the board level can help organizations understand the world from the Millennial lens, but also may help connect their organization to specific marketplaces such as consumer trends.

Plus, as I’ve referenced in other posts, Millennials bring with them a new vision of the workplace, and in many instances, an updated view on workforce expectations. Having Millennial representation on boards can give businesses a better understanding of what motivates younger employees, within the context of an organization’s own succession practices, allowing them to help strengthen the pipeline of high-performing, up-and-coming employees, and executives.

It is clear that boards should consider reaching this younger generation of talent, and understand what motivates them. Much can be gained for organizations that seek more diverse views and experiences, especially those of Millennials. To learn more about generational diversification of boards, I encourage you to read my colleague Deb DeHaas’ commentary in the Deloitte Risk & Compliance Journal.

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