Turn the Great Resignation into the Great Upgrade

Survey Reveals What Diverse Executive Candidates Look For in a Company

Turn the Great Resignation into the Great Upgrade

The Great Resignation does not need to mean the end of days. It’s time for The Great Upgrade.

The pool of diverse top executives looking for new opportunities is bursting. With the complexities of searching for and landing the right leaders for your company, a look into the motivations of candidates can give you the edge. theBoardlist and Felicis Ventures surveyed 200 diverse executives—women and men of color— about the actions, attitudes, and values they look for before signing on the dotted line. Here is what you need to know. 

The Importance of Diverse Representation in Leadership

A company’s commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is make-or-break when trying to recruit diverse executive talent–84% of survey respondents consider it is incredibly important. This commitment starts at the very top, with the board. 78% of respondents report that diversity on the board is an important factor when joining a company. The board landscape is changing rapidly and it's important for boards to meet the expectations of top talent. 

The importance of diversity at the executive level is just as important for prospective talent. Asked to rank the top factors when deciding to join a company, 72% of executives believe company culture and compensation offer are some of the most important. And,  41%, rank diversity and representation in leadership as a top factor. 

Diversity at the top is more than just beliefs that could be overlooked with a strong compensation package. Executives have walked away from offers due to lack of diversity:

  • 36% of executives have declined an offer because the organization lacked diverse representation at the leadership level
  • 55% of executives say it’s very unlikely for them to join an organization with no women in a VP role or above
  • 41% of executives say it’s very unlikely for them to join an organization with no historically marginalized people in a VP role or above

What Company Culture Means for Top Executives: Mission, Personal Impact, and Handling Past Issues

More than three-fourths of executives (78%) strongly believe diverse leadership improves the culture of work and consequently overall company performance.

Mission 

For top talent, culture is about the company mission—79% of survey respondents stated the mission is very important when deciding to join a company. Interestingly, only 19% of executives ranked belief in the future success most important when deciding to join a board or executive leadership team. The majority of respondents ranked having an impact as the most important factor. 

Impact

Top executive and board talent, come equipped with the skills to build a successful future. They are coming in to make an impact; 47% ranked having an impact as being the most important factor to them when deciding to join a board or executive leadership team.

To facilitate impact you must ensure leaders have room to explore and try new things, and also the psychological safety to act—85% of executives cited psychological safety within a company’s culture as very important. 

More than three-fourths of executives (78%) strongly believe diverse leadership improves the culture of work and consequently overall company performance

Handling Past Issues

A culture that provides psychological safety not only focuses on how you treat current and future employees, but also how leadership handled past issues, such as: 

  • Bullying, retaliatory behavior, or a culture of silence
  • Sexual harassment lawsuits
  • Bias and discrimination, unfair compensation practices, or unequal access to promotions

Executive candidates are looking at how a company responded to these issues. 90% of respondents would be willing to join a company with historical issues if they publicly address the problem and make commitments to change. If a company has had historical culture issues and executives have decided not to interview or join for those reasons, 50% responded they would inform the company that’s why. 

Promoting a culture of DEI is good business and it’s the first step in attracting top diverse candidates. Building with DEI at an organization's core, will attract top talent. With this mindset you can turn the Great Resignation into the Great Upgrade for your business. 

To learn more about theBoardlist and how we can help you source top talent visit us here

To learn more about Felicis Ventures, our impact and global reach visit us here