Francisco Partners has a wide-ranging DEI program. “We believe having a firm that is inclusive of different backgrounds drives better investment decisions,” says Grace Kim, head of talent. The PE firm’s diversity committee is comprised of senior professionals across the firm. FP also works closely with portfolio companies on DEI initiatives. Mergers & Acquisitions named Francisco Partners a M&A Leader in DEI in 2021.
What steps are you taking to improve DEI at your portfolio companies?
• Mandate that boards have at least one diverse non-executive director (female/underrepresented minority) within the first year.
• Enforce the “Rooney Rule” for C-level and board searches at our companies.
• Track standard diversity metrics and KPIs to ensure not only compliance, but also improvement in each portfolio company’s DEI profile.
• Provide DEI playbooks and best practices, hire pre-vetted DEI consultants, confirm access to diverse talent from different networks and host leadership development and advocacy programs to employees of color.
• Implement a diversity advocate program to gather unbiased input from our underrepresented employees, offer unconscious bias training sessions and actively incorporate DEI topics in employee engagement surveys to understand current perceptions and focus areas for improvement.
• Ask our portfolio companies to report diversity metrics on a quarterly basis as part of our human capital KPI dashboards.
• Portfolio companies have established committees to champion DEI matters with company-wide initiatives and diverse cohorts and employee resource groups to allow members to share their experiences, grow their networks and identify support resources and mentors/mentees.
What results have you achieved?
From 2020 to 2022, overall diversity of our independent board directors has increased to 43 percent. We have seen significant benefits when tracking standard diversity metrics and KPIs to ensure compliance and improvement in each company’s DEI profile. Currently, our portfolio is reporting an aggregate employee base that is 51 percent diverse (defined as non-white, non-male) and 38 percent gender diverse. Additionally, 67 percent of our portfolio companies have over 50 percent diverse employee populations. In our portfolio companies, we have 40 percent diverse independent non-executives.
At the end of 2021, FP’s employee base was 48 percent diverse and new employees who joined the firm in the last 12 months are 61 percent diverse. We have increased our female employees 288 percent (nine employees in 2016 to 38 employees in 2021) and we only see this number increasing in 2022.