According to Cas Meeuwis, Young Executive, the assumption that selecting a female candidate instead of a male candidate comes at the expense of performance is a fallacy that often leads to unjustified rejection. To refute this, he conducted research during his studies on the effect of diversity and inclusion in the boardroom on company performance.

Cas Meeuwis2

What did you research and why?

"Shortly after I first came across the term 'glass ceiling', the proverbial barrier formed by prejudice that holds back marginalised groups from getting top positions in companies, I started talking to people around me. From friends, family, and colleagues, I heard that this glass ceiling of organisations negatively affects them when applying for jobs, getting promoted, or doing their daily work. I have never been affected by this, and it feels unfair. I was convinced that the glass ceiling harmed individuals and was detrimental to the entire organisation.
To prove it, I researched the effect of diversity and inclusion in management positions on organisational performance. I focused my research on the impact of women in the boardroom.'

What were the main results of your research?

'For my research, I used 14,000 samples from different companies worldwide. Here, I found a positive relationship between gender diversity in the boardroom and organisational performance. The more diverse the boardroom, the better the companies perform.
In addition, the research shows that a woman in a management position breaks part of the glass ceiling in the organisation. Indeed, a woman on the board creates a sense of inclusiveness among women at all levels of the organisation. Therefore, women and other employees are more likely to ask about advancement opportunities, for example. In organisations where more men than women work, the impact of a woman at the top is even more significant on employees. You see that a woman on the board of a tech company inspires female employees faster than in organisations with an equal male/female ratio.'

What arguments are you going to argue with now?

'If board members all have the same profile, they will likely come up with the exact solutions. As a result, fast decision-making often follows. The danger is that the board needs to consider other perspectives because these outcomes are outside their thinking. A diverse group with different profiles on the board assesses a broader set of solutions together. This ultimately leads to better company performance.
Diversity and inclusion in the boardroom also have further positive effects. When employees perceive that the organisation recognises their unique backgrounds, it increases their engagement and motivation. This leads to higher productivity and lowers staff turnover. Inclusive practices also promote internal mobility and sustainable growth, as talent within the organisation sees opportunities for advancement. As a result, they take a more proactive stance in their career development.'

How do you ensure diversity and inclusion in organisations?

'It is essential as an organisation to keep thinking about enabling diversity and inclusion. For example, think about how to promote diversity in the recruitment process and work policies. Or offer alcohol-free drinks at company parties and ensure halal meals are available in the canteen.
However, achieving diversity and inclusion in organisations requires support from the top. Without this support, you, as employees, have too little influence. That is why it is essential to clarify the effects of diversity and inclusion on organisational performance so that the boardroom knows that diversity and inclusion are not just about achieving quotas.'


Would you like more information on the results of this survey or to know how Boer & Croon can help? If so, please get in touch with Cas.