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What Is Your Strategy… for Talent?

Oct 7, 2022

Attracting, retaining and engaging talent has been a recent challenge the alternative investment industry has faced.

At EisnerAmper’s 7th Annual Alternative Investment Summit titled Raising the Curtain: The Next Act for Alternative Investments, the panel “What Is Your Strategy… for Talent?” discussed this challenge and highlighted the importance of strong relationships with employees.  Panelists included:

  • Rick Rusin, COO, Crabel Capital Management;
  • Sonya Mughal, CEO, Bailard Inc.;
  • Wendy Norton, director, Norgay Partners; and
  • Natalie McVeigh, managing director, EisnerAmper (moderator).

Here were a few themes discussed:

Working from Home Versus the Office

The pandemic fostered a work from home environment.  While many want to return to the office, there are just as many reluctant to do so. 

A growing trend discussed is this: The first line on a candidate’s resume used to be an objective that was geared toward the type of company or responsibilities the candidate was looking for; that line is not often used to indicate whether the candidate is only considering remote opportunities.  This highlights that candidates view where/how they work as equally or more than important as the company they work for. 

One way employers are figuring out their work dynamic is by surveying employees to figure out their preference for working from home versus an office.  Some view the office as a more collaborative and inclusive environment where it’s easier to participate in conversations that they might not have been able to do so if it was a one-on-one video call.  Others view working from home as less distracting and the ability to save on commuting time allows employees to be more productive. 

Companies realize that they won’t be able to please everyone so it’s important for them to remain flexible whether its having core days in the office with flexibility the rest of the week, core hours in the office with flexibility to come early/leave early or come late/leave late (or even flexibility in the attire required  allowing employees to wear jeans in the office). 

Compensation and Growth Opportunities Are Key

Compensation and growth opportunities are the most common reasons for retaining talent.  There’s been an increase in the offer packages to attract talent; striving to place top performers appropriately at market rates is extremely important.  And by putting together formal cases on why employees should be at market rates, letting them know they are doing a great job and giving a raise not only increases retention but also creates loyalty by showing them recognition and praise. 

A roadmap to promotion is also key to retention.  Management communicating what and why decisions are made allows employees to understand and engage in the direction of the company more effectively.  Having transparency allows employees to feel that they actually matter.

Reputation and Culture Are Critical

The cost of turnover, not just monetary regarding the cost of hiring and training, but to the reputation/culture should also be recognized.  Management needs to be authentic, real and compassionate. They can’t just say the words they think employees want to hear but actually have to live by their values. 

One of the ways companies build a culture is by bench strength.  Bench strength allows companies to be more resilient and respect employees’ time off.  It allows experts in certain roles to train others and reengage in the enjoyment of the job.  It also allows for variety; having multiple people capable of performing a function allows an employee to expand into other areas which increases job satisfaction.  Keeping employees and having them advance in their careers creates an appreciation for the staff and vice versa because that manager has been in the staff’s shoes and knows the effort it takes and also shows to the staff that there is a path and opportunities to grow.

The panel can be viewed here.


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