A key element of good corporate governance is board visibility and transparency. Knowing who is saying what at a senior level, is important for both compliance and for establishing good behaviour across an organisation. So we thought we would put this to the test, with our latest research project on board visibility in the UK.
The title of this post was one of a number of questions that were asked of 1,000 UK employees across a variety of sectors in companies with more than 500 staff. It may surprise you to learn that 39% could not name a single member of the board at their company. That rises to 44% when focusing just on those that work in Scotland.
The research also revealed that 18% of respondents feel their board is barely visible, with a further 17% saying the board is not visible at all. Around seven in 10 respondents say the board at their company could do more to be visible to employees and the same number feel that worker representation on the board would be a good thing.
Worker representation in the boardroom
The idea of employees becoming part of the board is one that has gained a lot of traction over the past 12 months, with Theresa May including it as part of her good corporate governance initiative. It is certainly a good idea in theory, but for eShare CEO Alister Esam, there are better ways to achieve boardroom diversity:
“It is fair to say that a majority of boards are comprised of a very similar demographic, so it is not surprising that many workers feel their board could be more diverse. The addition of an employee to the board would certainly add a different perspective but in reality, it is actually fraught with issues, from the possibility of immediate disclosure of company plans to employees, to the selection process of the employee representative. Senior level diversity is important but there are more effective ways of achieving it.”
Vision and values
31% of research respondents said that they do not understand what their company’s vision and values are, suggesting that UK organisations need to work much harder at bridging the gap between leadership teams and employees. Around half of those surveyed felt they were in the dark about board decisions, believing that decisions were not clearly communicated to the rest of the company.
This was an area where many companies have room for improvement, according to Alister Esam:
“Two keys elements of good governance and a strong corporate culture are the visibility of the leadership team and a strong employee understanding of what that company stands for and is aiming to achieve. But many boards in the UK are not delivering on this, and they must do more to demonstrate transparency, to engage better with their employees and communicate their vision more effectively.”
If you’d like to hear more about our research, or are interested in learning more about how eShare can improve your organisation’s governance and board transparency. You can find out more and contact us on our website, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the head office on +44 (0) 845 200 7829.