“We have a competitive culture which becomes kind of a game as employees challenge each other and go for it,” Mr. Giannini said, adding that the enthusiasm of the firm’s employees for very competitive in-office pingpong “is a popular way to blow off steam” and is a measure of employee engagement with each other.
Like many money managers, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 continues to meaningfully impact the firm and its employees.
“The COVID-19 environment has been challenging. We hired one-third of our (current) employees since the COVID outbreak and it’s very hard because they haven’t been in their offices or met their colleagues in person,” Mr. Giannini said.
The firm has been successful in its switch to virtual meetings for large and small meetings. For example, Hamilton Lane shifted to a virtual annual retreat from a weeklong in-person event. The change gave employees a chance to learn more about each other, Mr. Giannini said.
“You got a glimpse during the meetings of peoples’ lives during the Zoom meetings as you saw their homes and their children and dogs wandering in and out. The virtual meeting added an unexpected element of getting to know each other better,” he said.
In addition to moving to monthly virtual town-square meetings (which get their name from the square Zoom screen) from in-person meetings since the pandemic outbreak, Hamilton Lane also provided a fun treat for employees across the globe.
The firm sent every employee a box filled with wine and cheese for three regional virtual tasting parties curated by on-screen wine and cheese experts near the end of 2020.
“You could see everyone on screen and it went a long way to bring and keep people together,” Mr. Giannini said, stressing that “we cannot underestimate the value to the company of being together.”
That sentiment will guide the firm’s back to in-person working, he said, noting that the firm “will accommodate employees’ preferences to the extent we can. It is important for the firm.”
As of June 30, the firm had $665 billion in assets under advisement and $92 billion in discretionary assets under management. It listed 380 employees in its employer survey.
In contrast, when the firm was first named a best place to work in 2012, employee count was 188 and assets under supervision and investment were $143.1 billion and $23.9 billion, respectively, as of Sept. 30, 2012.