Talent attraction: 5 tips for fintech startups from P27

What can startups do to win the war for fintech talent in the Nordics? What’s the key to building a workplace that attracts top talent who may be reluctant to make a change? P27’s Head of HR Linette Emborg offers some tips from her experience building up one of the fastest-growing fintech startups in the region.

1) Establish a company culture

A sense of purpose and belonging is more important than ever in today’s workplace. At P27 we want to be the most attractive fintech workplace in the Nordics. But making that vision a reality here or anywhere means identifying the values your organization wants to champion and the company culture you want to create.

This involves considering what appeals to the sort of talent you need, as well as what business you’re in and what you want to achieve. Then it’s a matter of taking concrete steps to ensure those values are lived and communicated both internally and externally so everyone knows what sort of team they are joining and what’s expected of them. 

2) Be ready to operate outside your comfort zone

This perhaps goes without saying for people working at fintech startups, but I think it’s worth repeating. When there are fewer people on staff, that means everyone has to get their hands dirty and get aligned behind the task at hand. Doing so can be difficult, but there are huge opportunities for cross-fertilization among skill sets.

This can result in efficiencies and new ideas that wouldn’t have emerged if people stayed in silos. But it’s important to have that mentality from the start: to expect the unexpected and roll-up your sleeves to address whatever the challenge may be. This way you can contribute to the whole value chain of the entire company, not just your own area of expertise.

3) Rebalance the work-life balance

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, there was a lot of talk about work-life balance. Now with so many people working remotely, work has crept into even more places and moments that were previously considered “home”. We’ve had a number of new people join P27 in recent months who still have yet to meet their colleagues face to face. But that hasn’t affected their ability to perform and “become part of the team”.

Being close is very important, and that can also be achieved online. I think the keys to rebalancing things are flexibility and staying focusing on what matters. It’s not about when employees punch the clock, but what they produce when they are working – whenever and wherever that may be. Ultimately, allowing employees to have more of a say in how they carry out their work will make them more motivated to do good work. So – set clear expectations and goals – but worry less about the path each individual employee takes to get there.

4) Harness the power of digital tools

Obviously, everyone uses digital tools in today’s workplace. We all have a lot of digital tools in our toolboxes, but do we know how best to use them? Or how they can be combined to make us even more effective? Furthermore, startups are busy creating new tools as we speak. That means there may well be tools available today that weren’t there a few months ago but which could radically improve how you operate.

I make a point of taking time to scan the market and talk to my peers on a regular basis to identify best-in-class solutions that can help with everything from recruiting to onboarding and evaluation. The time and energy saved by skillfulling selecting and deploying digital tools can then be re-invested into some of the other points mentioned above.

5) Establish an HR function

It’s easy for fintech startups to skip this step. Things are moving fast, and founders are used to doing a little bit of everything. Many assume they can rely on existing networks to find candidates and thus avoid an added expense.

While this approach may seem to work at first, not having an HR function will ultimately hamper the right growth. So, my advice is to make a Head of HR one of your first hires. Have someone in place early who is close to the senior management team. Chances are it wil help you grow faster and with fewer headaches.

NOTE: The official launch of P27 services is subject to regulatory approvals and therefore P27 will not conduct any business activities until required regulatory approvals are obtained.