Janus Henderson Investors exists to help clients achieve their long-term financial goals. The company’s active management offers clients the opportunity to outperform passive portfolios over the course of market cycles. Janus Henderson Investors’ approach channels the thinking of some of the industry’s most talented managers, spanning equities, fixed income, multi-asset and alternatives, globally.
Interview with Demesha Hill, Community Relations Manager, Janus Henderson Investors & Managing Director, Janus Henderson Foundation.
EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT HIGHLIGHTS
- Employee Charity Challenge
- Virtual Volunteering
- $2,500 matching gift programs for all employees
- Training & returnship programs
- Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)
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B:CIVIC: We all have this idea of what social responsibility looks like, but what does it look like in the financial industry?
Demesha Hill: When you’re thinking about corporate social responsibility (CSR), it has a number of different pillars. You’re thinking about the community and how you give back. You’re thinking about your people, because it’s really that intellectual capital that makes your organization thrive. You’re thinking about your clients and how you’re being transparent, and in the asset management space, you’re thinking about your responsible investment approach and how that really matters. I think the other piece that you have to keep in mind is the way that you are protecting the environment. In this industry, you do a lot of travel, so are you doing things the right way to ensure that you’re not negatively impacting the environment?
B:CIVIC: You talked about asset management and your investment approach. What makes Janus Henderson’s Investment approach unique in terms of social responsibility?
DH: I think one of the unique things that we do here is our due diligence and research on those companies that we’re investing in. We take an environmental, social, governance (ESG) approach. We look at the way those companies are leveraging their human capital. We look at the impact that those companies are making on the environment, as well as looking at their overall governance structure, and we use that information to help guide our decision-making process. As far as the securities that we want to actually put in our portfolios, it’s not the end-all, be-all factor, but it’s one of those factors that we definitely evaluate.
B:CIVIC: Do you feel it’s become even more important for your clients to have that oversight, that their investments are responsible for the environment and society?
DH: I think it’s becoming more and more important for our clients. They ask those questions: What are you doing from a human capital standpoint? How do you look at promotion of women within your organization? How many women do you have on your board? They’re asking those questions as well as asking questions about the environment: Do we have a carbon neutral approach to the way that we do business? Those are all questions that we’re starting to see more and more on the RFPs (requests for proposals) that we get from clients.
B:CIVIC: And do you have a team doing that research for you? What does that look like? How do you make those decisions?
DH: We have a team that works on all of our various pillars, so when it comes to the responsible investing pillar, we have an entire ESG team that’s focused in on providing our portfolio management team the information that they need to make their decisions. At the end of the day, it’s ultimately up to the portfolio manager, but that team is actually responsible for doing that. We have a corporate services team — that team is really looking at our carbon emissions. They’re looking at the energy that we’re using in the building, our transportation usage, our water usage, our paper recycling and then they’re using that information to calculate how much carbon we’re actually emitting into the environment and then they leverage that information to purchase carbon offsets. And then we also have the team that I’m part of that really focuses in on the community outreach side of things: What are we doing from an employee volunteer standpoint, as well as how we leveraging our philanthropic dollars through our foundation to make a difference?
B:CIVIC: Tell us about some of Janus Henderson’s community involvement initiatives.
DH: We really believe in investing in education. We not only do that through our foundation, but a lot of our volunteer work is with school partners in the communities. We partner with Denver Public Schools. The reason why we’ve invested in Denver Public Schools is we understand that at the end of the day, the talent that we’re going to actually employ within our organization is probably going to be graduates of Denver Public Schools and other school districts in the metro area, so we feel like it’s really important to make those investments in those students now; otherwise, we’re not going to have the talent that we’re going to need in the future. If they’re not thinking innovatively, if they’re not graduating at a high rate, it’s going to really be hard for us to employ that talent, so we really want to make sure that we’re investing in the education system here. We were one of the first companies to start tutoring with TutorMate. It’s a virtual tutoring program that allows our employees to tutor from their office with a first-grade student to help them with their literacy. We’ve had a lot of success with that program here in Denver. After having some conversations with TutorMate Innovations for Learning, we provided them the seed capital to start that program in London. It’s a great example of how you can take something that’s local and make it scalable so that it can have a global appeal.
B:CIVIC: Can you tell us what the Charity Challenge is?
DH: We earmark some of our foundation dollars to support charities that our employees are really passionate about. Employees have an opportunity to submit an application for review. The actual employee base determines what charities make it to the final rounds, and then based on those pitches, money is awarded. We usually award first place $75,000.
B:CIVIC: If a company wanted to do something like that, how would they get started to put something like that together in their own CSR portfolio?
DH: I would say really figure out what the strategy is for that company. Are they willing to go outside of their normal giving areas to support the passions of their employees? If so, make it easy for your employees to submit that information for review and make sure that you are thinking about the employees from beginning to end. There are a lot of ways for us to engage with our employees, whether it’s through the application or voting. We encourage all employees to vote. When you do that, it creates more employee engagement and it creates some additional awareness around those different charities that employees are really passionate about.
B:CIVIC: You have your foundation, your giving arm, that really aligns with your organization and your goals. But then, you also do allow for employee choice. Are there other ways you do that besides the Charity Challenge?
DH: We have a matching gift program, where we provide matching gift contributions, dollar-for-dollar up to $2,500, to support the charities that our employees really care about. When it comes to our community outreach efforts and volunteering, we survey our employees and we ask them, what do you care about in the community? We try to base our employee volunteer campaigns around those areas or those pillars that our employees really care about.
B:CIVIC: Can you give us an example? What do you think has been one of your most successful volunteer campaigns to date?
DH: I would say one of the most successful volunteer campaigns is the school supply drive. We’ve done a combination of doing it virtually where people can buy a backpack full of supplies to give to the students, and then we also allow people to make those donations and put those donations in donation bins. I think that when we do the school supply drive, it ties into our two main programs. A lot of times the students that we are giving those backpacks and those supplies to are also the same students that we’re tutoring through TutorMate. So, (our employees) see this ongoing connection with the students that they’re supporting.
B:CIVIC: We see a lot of organizations really choosing to empower and support youth. Would you say it’s fair that if an organization isn’t quite sure where to start, that starting with youth makes sense for just about any organization because of what you mentioned earlier, they’re going to be your employees in the future?
DH: Absolutely. I would say start with youth. Start with what your business does. If your business is in construction, go out and talk to the students within the school districts about careers in construction. I think it’s really important for us to take a moment to educate our youth on the different type of career opportunities that are available to them, because a lot of times they only see the careers that their grandparents or their parents or their aunt and uncle may actually do.
B:CIVIC: You have quite a few different employee resource groups (ERGs) here at Janus. Can you just share with us a how those resource groups also contribute to Janus Henderson’s social responsibility efforts?
DH: We feel like it’s important to make sure that we create an environment where people have a sense of belonging. We want to make sure that we provide those underrepresented groups a platform to not only come together and support one another, but also a platform to help us shape the culture that we want to have here. The nice thing about the ERGs is they allow us to see those gaps, whether it’s gaps within our policies or gaps within our benefits that we need to offer to make sure that we’re creating a more inclusive work environment for employees. They’re also champions in the community. One of the unique things about the ERGs is they also go out there and volunteer and it allows us to get into communities that we might not necessarily have access to.
B:CIVIC: I want to highlight your talent development. You have a training program, a returnship program and you offer internships.
DH: Our training program has been in our London office for quite some time. We’re in our second year of offering the training program here in Denver. Basically, this is a way to get entry-level talent into our industry. We found that there are barriers after talking to some of our ERGs. We understand that education can be a barrier to entry into our industry; the trainee program basically says: Do you have a desire to learn? Do you have a desire to be in this particular industry? If so, we’re going to have you come in and just do an interview. You don’t have to have a college degree. All you need is a high school education
and the desire to learn. When you’re looking at certain career paths, it’s more important for you to have specific certifications. We found that certifications are really a good way to help people get in the door.
And that’s what the training program is all about. It’s a one-year period. We provide training for you. We pay for that training. And then at the end of it, it’s kind of a try before you buy. The employee gets an opportunity to see what the industry is about, whether or not they want to work here. And then our team has an opportunity to actually see what that candidate is about. At the end of that, they can either decide to continue to work here if there is an opportunity available or they can go somewhere else, but it’s not a year wasted. They actually have a year that they’ve obtained skills, they have obtained some additional
certifications and training, so it’s a win-win. Our returnship program is something that we are test driving in our U.K. office and we’re going to see if this is something that really resonates here. We understand that sometimes people go on this career path and then life happens. They have to take some time off — maybe they had an illness, maybe they’re caring for children, maybe they’re caring for an aging parent —
and they have to take two, three, four, five years off from work. What the returnship program does is actually allows them a way to enter back into the workforce and ramp up those skills that they need to be productive. So, it’s similar to our training program, but it’s really geared to those individuals that have been out of the workplace for a number of years.
B:CIVIC: Why would a company decide to do something like that when you could go after young talent?
DH: When you’re thinking about diversity and inclusion and we’re looking at the way that we operate as a business, it’s really our intellectual capital that sets us apart. And the reason why we would consider this is that we want diversity of thought. We can’t have a company that’s just full of young professionals. We need to make sure that we have all those different generations, life experiences, represented in our organization, because at the end of the day, that’s who our clients are — they’re the full spectrum of all of that, and so we need to make sure that our employees are at the full spectrum of all of that as well.
B:CIVIC: Can you share your personal philosophy on how companies can be most effective with their community involvement programs and engaging employees throughout those?
DH: The way that companies can actually be successful with their community involvement, as well as engaging employees, is really understanding why you’re giving. Make sure it aligns with your business and your business objectives. So if you align it with what you’re trying to do as a business, if you engage your employees and ask them what they’re interested in, those are the foundational blocks that you need to really start to create that successful CSR program. When everyone understands that they’re accountable for the way that we operate as a business and how we are seen as a sustainable business, then it’s going to really make sure that your organization thrives because they understand that they’re aligning their values with the company values and vice versa.