Pitchbook In Visible Capital Podcast: Innovations in Talent Advancement

March 9, 2022 Rachel Halversen

Business Talent Group Co-Founder and Co-CEO Jody Greenstone Miller recently joined Tim Sanders, Upwork’s Vice President of Client Strategy, on the In Visible Capital podcast as part of the “Innovations in Private Equity: A Fresh Perspective” series co-produced by Pitchbook and Upwork.

Jody and Tim discussed why PE firms are gravitating to high-end freelance consultants and contractors to unlock value across portfolios. She also reveals the opportunity that interim executives deliver for PE firms who are looking to upgrade or fix PortCo C-Suites.

Jump to “Segment 3: Innovations in Talent Advancement with Jody Greenstone Miller of Business Talent Group” for insights on:

How private equity and venture capital were top-of-mind when BTG was founded

Before founding Business Talent Group, Jody worked as an investor at a venture capital firm. She says she quickly began to notice how often the firm needed talent, and how they needed it in all different shapes and sizes and timeframes.

I started to think, there are a lot of people who like to work differently—come in, quickly do a project, move on—but there was just no efficient way to access them… I decided there was a new piece of human capital infrastructure that might benefit both talent and investors, who were the group of people I was most focused on at the time.

How BTG helps private equity firms improve and innovate

Sanders suggested that PE firms currently are driving a lot of talent innovation within their portfolio companies, from the workforce itself to the workplace and work arrangements. Miller explains that the question BTG leaders are solving is how they take this new way of thinking about talent and make it available easily to firms and their portfolio companies alike.

Private equity firms are organizations themselves, but most importantly, they oversee the development and value creation in all of their portfolio companies. So a company like BTG, which has this incredible resource of immediately available talent that’s independent and available very quickly, is able to come in and work as a partner with private equity firms across their portfolios, to provide the kind of actual implementation of the strategy that the private equity firm has decided is the right way to create value…

We believe as a firm that it will help them move faster, be more flexible, more nimble. The most innovative PE firms are starting to think about this in an institutional way and making it a part of how they think about developing their investments. And to me, that’s the key.

How the Great Resignation has put talent in the driver’s seat

The adoption of on-demand talent is becoming increasingly widespread, bolstered by a COVID-era shift in mindset where the notion of having remote talent became normalized, and people began to understand that a lot of great work could be done in a different manner than before.

What I think you’re seeing is this massive shift from a talent perspective, which I believe will force private equity firms who are on the cutting edge of needing talent fast and creating value from talent fast, to make it incumbent upon them to understand how to access and utilize and over time be desirable to the independent talent community.

How interim executives can help firms experiment and reduce risk in C-level hiring

Tim discusses how private equity firms improving the C-suite in portfolio companies is a foundational step that private equity firms take to boost value creation, but that process is fraught with risk and timing hurdles. Jody shares how on-demand talent can help at these critical—and frequently delicate—moments.

If a search has to be confidential, it’s much harder. It takes longer, it’s harder, more risk. So one of the things that has emerged as a real opportunity is if there’s an ability to put in an interim executive…[it] allows a company to more normalize the search, to make it not confidential, because they can get somebody in who can keep the ball rolling. And also, interestingly enough, it also allows a portfolio company to figure out what is the right next C-level person.

You can try one flavor, maybe it’s a marketing bend, but you may decide you need more of a financial bend. So it gives you information that I think actually improves the long-term decision. So it really frees up the search process, and I think ultimately improves the result because you get information about what’s working and what’s not…[that’s] one of the real interesting ways that particularly portfolio companies have been using BTG.

To hear more from Jody Greenstone Miller and Tim Sanders, listen to the full segment of the podcast and learn more about how BTG and on-demand talent can help drive workforce innovation for leading private equity firms.

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