How fund operators can achieve diversity in their hiring practices

Mark Wright, Chief Operating Officer at investment firm Kimura Capital, explains what fund operators need to tell their recruitment partners in order to truly achieve diversity and inclusion.

Andrew Putwain POSTED ON 3/25/2022 1:32:38 PM

Andrew Putwain: Diversity in the workplace is a key topic in financial services today, what should operations managers be doing around this to make sure they are getting it right in terms of acquisition and retainment?

Mark Wright: It starts in the hiring process; in a small company it is very tempting to hire people similar to you because you know that won’t risk the company. If you take a step back, though, you see that if everyone thinks the same you are going to have blind spots and this looks poor in front of investors, and service providers. Also, you are not going to have that challenge; the company won’t evolve and, most importantly, you will be more susceptible to an event hurting the company because none of you saw it coming for the reason that everyone was thinking the same way.

It is important to hire people that fit in within the company, though, and you shouldn’t hire people that are going to grind everyone’s gears

Once you embrace the idea of diverse thinking and opinions you get people who look fundamentally different to you and your team. You need people with different ideas, and you should get candidates that have that.

It is important to hire people that fit in within the company, though, and you shouldn’t hire people that are going to grind everyone’s gears. However, I have often heard, “Hire the best person for the role,” well, I go beyond that and think about the company – what is the best fit for it as a whole? Take that extra step and often there are two or three people that can do the job, but if there is someone who brings something different to the company that you don’t have, then you could give that extra premium.

It is about trusting the recruiter to understand the culture of your company. That gets missed a lot of the time

Sometimes when you put a job specification down on paper, it can be very generic, but you can say to a recruiter that these attributes are negotiable – so if they don’t have experience in certain categories, but skills in something different, we would consider it.

It is about trusting the recruiter to understand the culture of your company. That gets missed a lot of the time – the recruiter is just there to fill a role. It could be better for the recruiter to go in, meet the people and management, and understand them, so they can get a feel for the cultural fit and think where this someone different might be of use. I don’t think many recruiters do this, but if it were a genuine partnership, and you were able to tailor it while still allowing for the unknown attribute or experience, it could be beneficial. If you get a conversation where a candidate ticks seven out of ten boxes, sometimes recruiters will collaborate with you on this, and sometimes not, but with more senior roles you might want something different to shake things up.

To me, it is about monitoring, coaching, and inclusion, inclusion, inclusion

Once you have the right people, you need to show a commitment to inclusion and diversity. From a social perspective, feedback, meeting and seeking out viewpoints are important. Managers need to monitor when people feel side-lined, or their voices aren’t being heard. To me, it is about monitoring, coaching, and inclusion, inclusion, inclusion. This will help your company evolve.

Andrew: How are changing business strategies affecting the industry and how would you categorise these changes?

Mark: I’m not sure we are at the end of what the changes are going to be from the pandemic. We have had business practices changing rapidly – going into the office, keeping the office open, hotdesking – and so, these are the natural discussions that every business is having.

People are looking at work/life balance and job satisfaction, and some people are disillusioned and moving into different sectors. In the next 12-18 months there could be an exodus and a very active job market, and these people that leave could be difficult to replace, and there might not be a ready supply of replacements.

Retention is going to be a really hot topic – it won’t just be about the money

This then becomes an onus on the company of how they keep them. There will be an onus to modify their work practices – such as more empowerment and responsibility to get that job satisfaction back.

Retention is going to be a really hot topic – it won’t just be about the money – it is about if they are enjoying it. That’s going to be a key feature as the ‘unlock’ from Covid-19 continues.

This is part two of the conversation, read part one here.

 

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