Paradigm Enables Long Term Impact on DEI across Advent’s Portfolio Companies
For the third year in a row, Advent partnered with Paradigm to assess DEI maturity and measure progress across their US portfolio companies using Paradigm’s DEI strategy platform, Blueprint. Utilizing the tools and resources provided by the platform and Paradigm’s strategy consultants, companies made significant progress on DEI and were able to showcase wins with their Board of Directors and executives.
Advent International, one of the largest and most experienced global private equity investors, has been working for years to build a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive partnership. Spearheaded by its senior leadership team, the firm established global and regional diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) committees, created awareness and training programs, instituted more inclusive hiring practices, and formed affinity groups to foster inclusion for underrepresented communities within the organization. Advent was pleased to see it was making progress — with almost equal gender representation throughout the firm, and a growing percentage of investment professionals from underrepresented backgrounds — and saw the opportunity to promote change beyond its own organization.
“Advent has over 35 companies which are headquartered in the United States, with over 215,000 employees. We therefore believed we could have a broader impact by working with these businesses to assess and enhance DEI initiatives nationwide” Chris Pike Special Partner at Advent International
To build upon their progress, Advent turned to Paradigm Blueprint, a platform that pairs analytics and insights with consulting support to develop and manage DEI strategies.
With Blueprint, Advent realized they could offer their portfolio companies a data-driven solution for assessing how their people and talent programs impact DEI. Advent also realized the importance of identifying a set of metrics and tracking progress over time, which led to a three-year partnership with Paradigm using Blueprint to analyze each company’s data and approach to DEI, prioritize initiatives, and drive impact across their portfolio.
Between 2021 and 2022, portfolio companies increased their DEI maturity score by an average of 9 percentage points between 2021 and 2022.
93% of companies that used Blueprint to manage their DEI strategies for multiple years and measure their progress saw improvement in their DEI maturity.
On average, portfolio companies took action on 56 recommendations surfaced by Blueprint per year.
Paradigm provided eligible Advent portfolio companies with access to our DEI strategy platform, Blueprint. With Blueprint, portfolio companies received a DEI maturity assessment, DEI data analytics dashboards, benchmarking to their peers, downloadable reports, and guides for tracking progress and taking action.
The Blueprint DEI Maturity Assessment generated a report that included scores across the four areas Paradigm has found are most critical to DEI: the talent lifecycle, employee experience, external influence, and leadership involvement. The assessment also included insights into each company’s strengths and areas of opportunity and prioritized recommendations to help accelerate its DEI efforts.
Starting in 2020 and every year since then, Advent’s portfolio companies completed the Blueprint DEI assessment and met with Paradigm’s strategy consultants to review their results and help plan the next steps for their DEI strategy. Paradigm also led an annual summit of with all Avent’s participating portfolio companies to review results and progress across the portfolio, provide implementation guidance for the most common recommendations, and facilitate a dialogue with portfolio company leaders about the topics that are top-of-mind for them as they planned their DEI efforts for the year ahead.
Between October 2020 and continuing through 2023, 24 portfolio companies have taken the Blueprint Assessment at least once. 10 of these companies have been a part of the Advent portfolio since 2020 and as a result, have taken the Blueprint assessment all three years.
Advent expects their portfolio companies in North America to report progress on their DEI strategies to their Board of Directors every year using the Blueprint framework and metrics. In support, Advent met with each company to discuss its Blueprint report and DEI plans, and Advent also provided a suggested activation roadmap to help the business navigate, manage and track progress, as well as a framework for reporting.
Advent portfolio companies have made significant progress on their DEI efforts throughout the partnership with Paradigm. For example:
- Of the 15 Portfolio companies that used Blueprint to measure and manage their DEI strategy for more than one year, 14 saw their DEI maturity score improve.
- Companies that participated all three years scored higher in all four Blueprint domains by 15 percentage points on average compared to companies that participated in only one year. These companies also saw greater improvement in their DEI maturity year-over-year compared to companies that participated for two years only.
- Across Advent’s portfolio, companies saw the most improvement in their efforts to ensure an inclusive and equitable employee experience, with some companies seeing an increase in their DEI maturity score of over 20 percentage points in this area.
Between 2020 and 2023, companies took action on 56 recommendations per year that were recommended by Blueprint, on average. The most common actions taken included:
- Offering more inclusive benefits for caregivers, non-binary and/or trans employees, and same-sex parents.
- Strengthening performance review processes by creating clear definitions for evaluating performance and holding managers accountable for writing high quality feedback, and following a structured process when making promotion decisions.
- Analyzing whether there are differences in employee perceptions and experience across a broad range of demographic groups to build an understanding of how the company’s culture can be experienced by different identities.
Companies took a number of additional actions recommended by Blueprint which are foundational to making progress on DEI. These vary by business, and include initiatives such as collecting demographic data from job candidates on gender, race, ethnicity and other demographics; training managers on foundational DEI topics; tracking the diversity of their leader population; and hiring a new DEI leader or expanding the role of the existing DEI team.