Our Approach to EDI

Boyden UK is committed to going beyond words to build, support and develop more equitable, diverse and inclusive executive teams and boards. This mindset informs how we work with one another and engage with candidates. It is also demonstrated in the outcomes we deliver for clients.

Achieving true equality requires organisations to be proactive about attracting, recruiting and retaining diverse talent. We work with clients to understand their needs, provide access to diverse talent pools, and review their practices in light of ensuring an inclusive search process.

At the global level, we are actively involved in advancing diversity through engagement with the wider executive search community. UK Managing Partner Nick Robeson represents Boyden on the AESC Diversity Leadership Council, a global working group founded to ensure our profession takes action.

Because shifting deeply embedded biases and systemic inequality requires a comprehensive effort, our approach to EDI is multidirectional:

We take a proactive approach to sourcing and recruiting diverse candidates for our clients.

Attracting different candidates requires different approaches. Our priority is to enable every client to attain a diverse shortlist. As a benchmark, we aim to ensure our longlists reflect UK population statistics. Thus, we embrace all strands of diversity, including not only gender and race, but (dis)ability, LGTBQ2+, neurodiversity, social mobility and others.

Following are some of the methods we employ to help ensure inclusion of diverse candidates and adherence to equitable search processes:

Succession planning: We support chairs and their nomination committees in developing medium term succession plans that identify the balance of experience and skills that they will need to recruit, over the next two to three years, to maximise board effectiveness. This time frame allows a broader view by looking at the whole board, not individual hires; this facilitates increased flexibility in candidate specifications.

Goal alignment: When taking a specific assignment brief, we look at the overall composition of the board or executive team and, in the context of the client's diversity goals, explore whether diverse individuals are appropriately prioritised.

Inclusive briefs: We formulate non-discriminatory job profiles and work to ensure that assignment briefs are framed in an open and inclusive manner. One aspect of this is to emphasise a candidate’s intrinsic abilities, in terms of relevant skills, core competencies and personal capabilities, over their experience.

There is ample evidence to suggest that candidates from underrepresented groups often lack the requisite experience, not because of any innate skill deficiency, but because of historical and systemic barriers and unconscious biases preventing them from gaining that experience.

Broader candidate pools: We continuously seek to expand our networks of potential candidates and sources to encourage greater diversity, leveraging external lists from trusted organisations, and searching thoroughly across a range of networks, both formal and informal.

Longlists and shortlists: When developing longlists, we include a diversity of candidates identified through rigorous research. We then ensure that the shortlist preserves the integrity of the longlist.

Candidate support: During the selection process, we provide appropriate support to candidates from diverse backgrounds, preparing them for interviews, guiding them through the process, and providing access to networks and mentoring with the aim of setting them up for success in leadership roles.

Client evaluation: As clients evaluate candidates, we ensure that they continue to provide appropriate weight to intrinsic competencies and capabilities rather than over-valuing specific types of experience. We also advise them on how to apply the required rigour to their interview process, such as recognising and neutralising unconscious biases.

Emphasising intrinsics:  As clients evaluate candidates, we ensure that they continue to provide appropriate weight to essential requirements, supported by thorough referencing, rather than over-valuing certain kinds of experience.

Onboarding: We advise our clients on best practices in the onboarding and induction processes. Through our use of PROPHET we enable better understanding and assimilation.

Building diverse pipelines: We help clients define clear targets for successively enhancing diversity within their senior executive ranks and develop plans to strengthen the pipeline of diverse candidates.

Embedding best practices: We have implemented accountability mechanics within our business to embed and monitor our own EDI activity and achievements.

Signalling commitment: We signal our commitment to supporting gender diversity on boards through our marketing activity, and invest time into developing a relationship with the pipeline of future female candidates.

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