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Talent acquisition, retention
and development.

Purpose and principles

Acquire, retain and develop high-potential and high-quality talent to maximise profit.

  • Create an inclusive and diverse organisation based on equal opportunities

  • Increase diversity of partners and investment directors

  • Increase access to strong female and other under-represented talent

  • Structure tone, outreach and interviews to maximise opportunity for top, diverse talent

  • Define success outcome measures: create a multi-year plan to achieve outcomes

  • Prioritise actions on hiring practice: training, development and access, and carer, flexible working, maternity and returner policies

Anastasia Kovaleva, Investment Manager, Pollen Street Capital

"Diversity of investment teams is about ROI. It drives access to higher conviction investment opportunities, it helps break down groupthink with regard to changing trends and market opportunities, and it can allow for better allocations at better prices in competitive allocation situations because of cultural and strategic alignment."

Cherry Freeman, Partner, Hiro Capital and Co-Founder, LoveCrafts

"Attracting and retaining diverse talent is a good start, but it isn’t enough. The next challenge is to leverage that diverse talent to overcome groupthink and make better decisions. So the spotlight shifts to fundamental business skills such as establishing clear goals, setting objective criteria, drawing out different viewpoints, evaluating them with data and weighing up options to reach good conclusions."

Best practice examples

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Best Practise

Widen applicant pool beyond traditional sources

  • Attract diverse talent by widening the pool of applicants to include non-traditional sources for open positions
  • Proactively meet talented females and other under-represented individuals regardless of whether there is a current role
  • Distribute recruitment adverts in diverse and wide ways, not just through usual channels
  • Consider language and outreach in the context of imposter syndrome, network and approachability of the firm
  • Mandate recruiters to provide 50:50 gender split options (or reduce fees if not, as in legal and executive search practice)
  • Take positive action to enable female and diverse lateral hires in order to increase the diversity of talent considered for promotion to senior levels

Remove bias from hiring processes

  • Apply systems and training that remove bias and clarify criteria for evaluating candidates to avoid reliance on shared traits or backgrounds, and more closely match candidates with the company or position that is best suited for them
  • Set clear, consistent evaluation criteria before the process begins to ensure that there is no space for personal biases in the hiring process
  • Consider making some of the hiring process blind
  • Consciously invite diverse candidates to interview in person rather than dismissing at an initial or CV stage
  • Ensure hiring panels themselves are diverse, and interview diverse candidates one-to-one rather than as a single panel
  • Structure interviews to ensure fairness and reduce opportunities for bias

Interview and hiring targets

  • Establish organisational guidelines to interview or hire a target number or percentage of diverse candidates
  • Where possible, pair this with gender and ethnicity-balanced interview panels for best results

Talent targets

  • Set specific gender targets at leadership level        
  • Develop an action plan to achieve targets, or achieve gender equality, in senior management and leadership teams

Nicky Badenoch, Co-founder, Genie

"The ability to track and visualise live data is central to a sustainable commitment to change. To access the best raw talent, combine that data with a process that removes unconscious bias, imposter syndrome and barriers for minorities. This will allow you to focus purely on skills, passion and best-fit hires." 

Be worthy of great talent

  • Reflect on how the behaviour of your leaders and senior investment partners is viewed by female and minority employees
  • Take steps to actively increase approachability of, and access to, senior individuals, clients and events
  • Reflect on how diverse and inspirational the business leaders are and, conversely, if there are some behaviours that may be alienating quality talent
  • Observe how individuals behave and portray the company in interviews and in practice
  • Reflect on how current employees describe the working environment and structure

Diverse mentorship programmes

  • Institute organisational mentoring programmes that focus on pairing diverse role models at the senior level with emerging, up-and-coming professionals
  • Support them in securing roles that will challenge them, advance their careers and provide the visibility and remuneration they deserve

Family leave policy

  • Adopt and implement a family leave policy that is equally beneficial to all caregivers, including fathers
  • Make parental leave equitable regardless of gender
  • Stay in touch with employees on parental leave
  • Provide support for those returning from parental leave

Returnship programme

  • A programme for returning from leave gradually or in an alternative work arrangement
  • In the case of parents returning from leave, the returnship should be offered to people of all genders
  • Returnships should last an average of 17 weeks or more, and offer full pay during the phase-back period
  • Extend returner programmes to target all those who have been out of the profession for three years or more

Emma Thorne, Investment Director, Bridges Fund Management

"The easiest way to get great talent is to be worthy of it. Great female investment executives will care about the culture and dynamic of the firms they work for. Be approachable, behave appropriately, have open conversations, have appropriate bias training, watch the language that is used internally. Actively address how your employees think about you and talk about you, and what your reputation is to other quality talent that you may want to hire."

Kirsten Kulukundis, Independent Board Advisor

"The returnship market is a brilliant solution for increasing diversity, accessing high-quality advice and improving the quality and diversity of boards and of mentorship programmes. There is a huge network of talented females whose product knowledge, practical experience, network and perspective can be vital. Many of the best board advisors I know are female." 

Flexible work policies

  • Promote flexible working and working from home across the entire organisation so that senior leadership, including men, demonstrate the adoption of the practices
  • Establish work from home policies or other flexible arrangements to accommodate employees who are well-suited for remote opportunities
  • Monitor stigmatisation of female flexible work practice v comparable behaviour from other employees
  • Proactively discuss flexible working and accessibility for people with different circumstances
  • Ensure the right IT equipment and support is available to help teams work flexibly

Backup care

  • Provide emergency backup childcare and eldercare in major cities of operation
  • Employees of all genders should also be offered days for sick-child or eldercare
  • Note: investment banks tend to provide each employee with 120 hours of child and eldercare support per dependent

Work-life balance

  • Encourage a positive work-life balance
  • Senior leaders should actively tell employees to “go home”, reduce face time and take holiday
  • Consider how the timings of meetings and social gatherings impact those with caring responsibilities

Pay gap analysis   

  • Conduct an organisational study to analyse the equality of compensation practices, with a commitment to address any inequities discovered
  • Proactively coach and enable females with regard to review and compensation

Training and mentoring programmes for non-traditional hires

  • Create or affiliate with training programmes to ensure success of new hires who may not come from traditional backgrounds
  • Establish coaching, mentoring and sponsorship initiatives to empower individuals from all backgrounds to achieve leadership roles
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