30 Big Ideas Shaping ESG: Social responsibility

The downturn wrought by the pandemic has underscored the need for a more caring approach to supporting employees and investing in human capital.

The hiring platform for military veterans

Apollo Global Management

The challenge: Providing jobs to the huge numbers of unemployed veterans.

The approach: Built in partnership with Apollo portfolio company CareerBuilder, the GP launched the Apollo Veterans Talent Network in 2019. The AVTN website matches job seekers’ military skills to the particular staffing needs of employers across Apollo companies. Displaying more than 8,000 job openings and enabling veterans looking for employment to search for them using military classifications and codes, the site seeks to combat high levels of joblessness among this group, where more than 60 percent of the unemployed are between the ages of 18 and 54.

Apollo says: “Apollo is the first private equity firm to utilise technology to build a veteran talent pipeline.”

We say: The initiative shows the power of targeted technological innovation to meet a defined social need.

The SHE policy cutting accident rates

Blue Wolf Capital

The challenge: Reducing accident rates for employees.

The approach: Revolutionising entrenched working environments and behaviours is not easy. The US manager has done just that with its Safety, Health and Environmental policy, which stipulates clearly its expectations and responsibilities for the 51,000 individuals employed by its portfolio companies. Why is this innovative? The firm’s metrics-based approach that reports to board level has laid the foundation for a new shared working culture that prioritises high-performing, results-focused teams and has slashed OSHA Recordable Incident Rates and Lost Time Accidents.

Blue Wolf says: “In the past four years, Occupational Safety and Health Administration recordables and lost time accidents have been reduced 40 percent and 47 percent respectively.”

We say: The policy makes explicit that investing in human capital is as important as financial growth.

Partners Group employee fund

Partners Group

The challenge: Providing benefit plans for employees.

The approach: Employee profit-share plans were already germinating at the Swiss asset manager. Covid-19 has accelerated them. Through the launch of its SFr10 million ($11 million; €9 million) Portfolio Employee Support Fund (into which the firm’s employees, senior executives, co-CEOs, executive chairman and founders all contributed), the GP is providing financial aid to employees whose health, income, expenses or families have been negatively affected by the virus. By Q3 2020, it had distributed close to $6 million, more than half directly to 10,000 portfolio company employees suffering the most hardship.

Partners Group says: “Partners Group is leveraging learnings from the Portfolio Employee Support Fund and using them as a foundation for our broader Stakeholder Benefits Fund.”

What we say: Offering a stopgap in a moment of unprecedented crisis, the initiative represents creativity and commitment.