A focus on diversity – what will company boardrooms look like in the future?


It’s great news that strides are being made in workplace equality. Companies around the world are fast realising that building a diverse and inclusive workforce isn’t just the right thing to do – it also makes good business sense.

According to data in the 2020 McKinsey & Company report, Diversity wins: How inclusion matters, companies where at least 30% of executives are women are likely to outperform companies with fewer women, while outperformance is even more pronounced where there is ethnic diversity at the top[i].

A long road ahead

But despite the progress being made, there is still a long way to go, and many boardrooms are not as diverse as they could be.

A lack of diversity has the potential to damage employee wellbeing. “It’s inevitable that if you don’t feel that you fit in or don’t feel supported, your wellbeing will be negatively affected,” says Dr Pablo Vandenabeele, Clinical Director for Mental Health at Bupa Global. “If you’re not happy in your environment, you’re not going to thrive, and your mental health will become negatively compromised.”

Pandemic-fuelled improvements

The good news is that the huge shake up to working life caused by worldwide lockdowns could actually help companies meet diversity ambitions. More than 30% of those surveyed in Bupa Global’s Executive Wellbeing Index 2021 [ii] say the pandemic has made the workplace a more inclusive environment, with 42% saying there are more flexible working hours and another 35% saying there is increased flexibility for parents or those with caring responsibilities.

As well as benefiting existing employees, executives also believe that more flexible work patterns will help attract new, diverse talent. “Organisations are far less geographically dependent now and given that most are moving towards a hybrid working style, employers and employees are now presented with an opportunity to not necessarily be commutable to their office. It gives flexibility on both sides that hasn’t existed before,” Sheldon Kenton, Managing Director at Bupa Global says.

A focus on individual needs

So, the post-pandemic boardroom is likely to be a more diverse one. And, according to Bupa Global, the companies who will win the day are those that look holistically at their employees to understand what individuals’ needs are and how to support them.

“There’s no doubt that post lockdown we should be better equipped to have a more inclusive workplace,” Dr Pablo Vandenabeele says. “When people see that the boardroom is more diverse, they are more likely to recognise people like themselves. These employees can see how they can progress within the organisation and be successful. This improves self-esteem and therefore mental health.”

And, of course, this is a win-win scenario. Finding out what works for the individual is a unique and valuable opportunity for companies to make their employees happier, and for businesses to do better.

To support board-level executives in managing or preventing mental ill-health, Private Client by Bupa curates exceptional health and wellbeing services bringing them together in one simple package with one single point of contact. From our award-winning medical cover at home or abroad provided by Bupa Global; to rich, proactive, preventive wellbeing benefits; to a Global Virtual Care app giving you access to video consultations in the comfort of your own home.

For more information on Private Client by Bupa, please visit bupaprivateclient.com or call us on 0371 346 0407.

Calls may be recorded. Private Client by Bupa is a premium service providing expertly curated health and wellbeing plans insured by Bupa Global.

Bupa Global is a trading name of Bupa Insurance Limited and Bupa Insurance Services Limited. Bupa Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Bupa Insurance Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Global Virtual Care is not regulated or authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority nor Prudential Regulation Authority.

[i] McKinsey & Company, Diversity wins: How inclusion matters, May 2020 https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/diversity-and-inclusion/diversity-wins-how-inclusion-matters

[i] Bupa Global’s Executive Wellbeing Index 2021


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