Corporate boards are changing much in the way of their approaches to technology and the way they do hiring. As the technology world changes, and as corporations become more aware of incorporating less-biased hiring practices, their approaches to business are shifting, and the WomenCorporateDirectors (WCD) group has researched specific ways in which corporate boards are altering their thinking processes.
The WCD’s findings derive from the group’s institutes and events conducted during this year so far, and have been narrowed down to eight areas that became hot button topics. The topics are:
- Rethinking the “consumer pyramid”
- Rethinking business models
- Rethinking competitors
- Rethinking the supply chain
- Rethinking the importance of board education
- Rethinking how to attract talent
- Rethinking what diversity brings to the bottom line
- Rethinking compensation
Susan Stautberg, co-founder and global co-chair of WCD stated: “Boards are grappling with understanding shifts not only in the digital arena, but also in the very human dimension of what they do. Who their customers are, how to attract the talent they want, and who the competitors are for both – these are the kinds of issues that surfaced around this year’s proxy season and in the conversations among directors outside formal board meetings.”
Many of the changes come from understanding a new customer base and engaging with that base. Technology is changing the way businesses and boards can access their consumers through mobile means, social media and other outlets. Simultaneously, changes in how boards approach consumers changes competition with one another. Experts with WCD say that companies need to look outside their specific markets in order to understand their competitors.
Other challenges — and resulting alterations in business processes — stem from the supply chain aspect of pressures that urge companies to divert where they manufacture products. Since the recession, outsourcing has been an increasing concern, particularly for U.S.-based businesses as the economy struggles, and the government urges native-based investments.
Stautberg says: “We’ve seen that, for boards, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a complex technology issue that challenges directors the most. Boards are having to shift their thinking around people and engagement, but the good news is that discussions around these can spark real change.”