Why creating a great place to work should be your priority

Alastair Douglas, CEO, TotallyMoney

Businesses of every size now routinely talk about being a ‘great place to work.’ But, while this language has firmly established itself in the business world, I get the impression there are many organisations for which it’s still little more than a buzzphrase.

In reality, building a truly great place to work is crucial for any business that wants to succeed at scale. There are a few reasons for this. Perhaps most obviously, FinTech businesses like ours thrive only with the very finest candidates, and we know that we’ll only attract these people if we can offer them something they’re not getting elsewhere. Even in the current economy, the power remains in candidates’ hands if they are the best in their field. Businesses need to remember they’re competing for talent, not the other way around. This means that you need to give them a great offer and show why you’re the best place to work compared to other companies.

Creating a great place to work is also important for your customers. Company culture is crucial for customer focus; your employees will only want to do the best work for customers if they know they’re valued and being looked after. Company culture can’t be faked. It needs to be built into the DNA of a company, and it needs to be based on a real desire to bring genuine benefits to employees’ lives.

So, what are those benefits? At TotallyMoney, we believe our employees should be masters of their own destiny. We’ve built an organisation in which everyone knows they can make stuff happen, and that they can move up through the organisation quickly. This happens at every level of the business.

We’ve worked hard to make TotallyMoney a place that reflects what our employees want. Stability is important, but equally, nobody wants to feel trapped or stifled. So, we balance flexibility for progression with structured learning and development opportunities.

I’m also acutely aware that staff culture is contingent on the health of the business. Just as in sport, it’s no fun playing for a team that’s being constantly beaten. The business needs to be successful for the culture to blossom. But that success needs to be achieved in the right way: through the development and application of a great culture. Understanding that the two are tightly intertwined is an absolute necessity for effective scaling.

Finally, it’s important to understand that building a great place to work isn’t a final destination or a project with an end date. It’s a piece of work that’s ongoing and is conducted in collaboration between every area of the business. It’s not about awards — it’s about evolving with your people to build a place that works for everyone.

Alastair Douglas, CEO, TotallyMoney

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