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Human Capital Forum Recap | October 2021

October 29, 2021

By: Kyle Johnson

Every quarter we bring together top PE HR and talent executives to discuss current industry topics and to offer leaders in PE Human Capital the chance to gather, share intel, and decompress with one another. In our most recent event, we discussed many topics and listed our top takeaways below. 

These forums follow Chatham House Rules, so listed below are high-level takeaways only. Are you in private equity and interested in joining fellow leading PE professionals during our next Human Capital Forum? RSVP for our next event on January 19th.

Employee engagement:  

  • Many firms continue to explore new ways to attract and retain talent – both internally and across portcos.  To keep a robust pipeline of potential portco execs, firms are trying various iterations of “Execs in Waiting” and are keeping them engaged via unique compensation models, board roles, happy hours, and ad-hoc advisory work—all for the purpose of keeping the relationship fresh.  On the internal fund side, many firms are trying to keep people connected with more programmatic content, i.e. sending firm cohorts on retreats to reconnect and gathering physically in a safe environment via service projects if offices are not yet open.  

Deal team engagement: 

  • The best practice for human capital leaders seems to be to offer directed help early in diligence, i.e. be specific with ways that Talent and Human Capital can serve as a resource throughout the diligence process but be careful not to be pulled into everything.  The Human Capital resource will then have a clearer view of work that needs to be done post-acquisition, and potentially get a head start on what needs to be done.   

Building Operations Teams and Senior Advisor Benches:  

  • Across BluWave’s 500+ client base, we have seen just as many iterations of senior advisor and ops teams.  That said, there seems to be a trend of building out functional expertise in some form or another that can then manage external resources or address the portco needs directly, with various scorecards or reporting methods to ensure they are not pulled too deeply into the portco daily activities.  There is a concerted effort to build out human capital capabilities across PE funds. 

We thoroughly enjoyed the fruitful conversations that occurred during this recent gathering of PE human capital professionals. As noted in our latest PE Insights Report, human capital remains one of the top initiatives in PE, with HR-related activities accounting for more than 50% of all value creation activities in Q3. If we can be of assistance during this busy time, please let us know.