Amid rising inflation and interest rates, and the growing number of cyber threats, businesses are constantly evolving in order to be resilient. This month, The Fintech Times is highlighting how businesses are showing this resilience against a myriad of factors – some within, and some beyond, their control.
Our business resilience focus now turns to arguably the most important part of an organisation: its employees. Despite the advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), employees are the backbone of any organisation. Therefore, attracting and retaining top talent is an absolute must in fintech – but in this day and age, that is much easier said than done.
Throughout the year, we have discussed how there is a talent shortage in the fintech industry. In fact, according to Dufrain, the data consultancy, over 60 per cent of data and analytics leaders said the biggest challenge to their business was recruiting individuals with the necessary skills and talents. With this in mind, we reached out to the industry to find out how they believed these problems can be overcome.
Pizza Fridays are no longer all it takes to retain top talent
Despite the joys of pizza, that alone is not enough to retain top talent anymore. If employees are working on dull projects, they are likely going to look elsewhere. Hristo Borisov, CEO and Co-Founder of Payhawk, the B2B expense management platform, highlights the importance of working on innovative projects.
“In an uncertain market, tech workers can no longer be bought with high salaries and pizza Fridays. We believe that for top talent, the opportunity to work on interesting and scalable solutions is what will get them over the line and happy to commit to a role. For many engineers, they may not fully comprehend the commitment to a new company before starting.
“Payhawk benefits from working in a recognisable environment – offering company expense charge cards – and one that has an obvious pain point – employees know the pain of being out of pocket for months on end. As we are now bridging the gap between software and payments, we are able to offer more opportunities to grow and develop software of the future. A tangible product with high market potential is what will help companies get the best talent into their business.”
A stimulating and inclusive work environment
A similar sentiment is shared by Eyal Moldovan, co-founder and CEO, 40Seas, the digital trade financing solution: “Offering competitive compensation packages encompassing performance-related bonuses and equity options is a given, but you need to go beyond that.
“Creating a stimulating and inclusive work environment that fosters innovation and professional growth is crucial. Staff should feel empowered to broaden their professional horizons internally, with bespoke training programs and upskilling opportunities. In the era of hybrid working, top talent demand flexible working arrangements, so it is incumbent on companies to develop clear policies that facilitate a high degree of flexibility for staff. When it comes to retaining talent, I can’t overstate the importance of avoiding micromanagement of teams. It’s the role of leaders to mentor, but they should maintain a healthy distance so the team has room to innovate and do their best work in a collaborative environment.”
Financial transparency results in employee assurance
For Marcelo Bentivoglio, co-founder and CFO of QI Tech, the credit-focused fintech, there are three key ways to retain fintech talent: “A blend of demonstrating financial stability, offering a flexible and rewarding compensation package, and cultivating a strong, inclusive culture.
“Top professionals are concerned about the survival and stability of fintech. A robust financial structure and sound business fundamentals serve as indicators of long-term operational continuity. A healthy balance sheet, a sustainable run rate, profitable operations, or a clear path to profitability can significantly reinforce the organisation’s stability. As a result, attracting top-tier talent. Such financial transparency provides assurance of the company’s longevity and mitigates concerns about unexpected downturns.
“It’s crucial to be wary of potential pitfalls in the remuneration structure. Given the relatively lower levels of fund-raising in the fintech space, compensating employees with company shares or stocks might not always be beneficial. There’s a risk associated with stock compensation, especially if they were issued at higher valuations.
“If the value of these stocks decreases, employees may feel undervalued, leading to decreased motivation and loyalty. In such situations, repricing of the stocks might be a viable solution. This means adjusting the exercise price of previously granted options, thus restoring their incentive and retention value.
“Building a strong, inclusive corporate culture, paired with regular engagement activities, significantly increases the organisation’s attractiveness. A strong company culture is a powerful tool that fosters a sense of belonging, improving overall job satisfaction and encouraging employees to stay longer. Similarly, regular engagement events, whether they are team-building activities, training sessions, or informal gatherings, promote synergy and camaraderie. They create a supportive and collaborative work environment, which is fundamental in retaining talent.”
Do not dismiss company culture
Working on exciting and innovative projects is important but if employees don’t feel valued or included in the company’s plans, they will likely seek a move. Sigita Kotlere, CEO at nectaro, the investment platform, notes the importance of company culture: “Provide cutting-edge projects and access to emerging technologies. Foster a culture of innovation and collaboration. If I had to say what potential employees are looking for, that would be technologies, speed, and agility.
“You should also not dismiss the importance of the company culture; create a dynamic and inclusive work environment with flexible work arrangements. Offer skill development programs and prioritise employee well-being for better talent retention. Individual approach and startup-minded flexibility are those things that attract the very best talent in fintech.”