Imburse’s Head of People talks company culture, attracting and retaining talent

Our Head of People, Helen Ogilvie, recently spoke with The Harrington Starr about her role, the culture at Imburse and how to attract and retain talent in the Fintech industry. Helen has held multiple HR managerial roles in both large corporates and start-ups. She also ran her own HR Consulting business before joining Imburse. She joined Imburse full-time in October 2021, having worked closely with the Imburse team for 18 months prior. Some of her deciding factors were the opportunity to join Imburse at a very exciting, growth stage, and the balance Imburse provides to its employees.   

Leading the People team, particularly at a growth stage and in a very competitive, candidate-led market, isn’t the smoothest journey. Job openings for Tech talent have reached a 10-year high. According to Tech Nation, out of all roles available in the UK, 14% are for tech positions. It is not surprising that, due to investments in technology and the rapid growth of this sector, attracting and retaining tech talent is more challenging than ever.

The pressures and competitiveness associated with employing the right Tech talent have put a strong emphasis on reviewing company culture and benefits. This is especially true for small companies that may be unknown to most candidates. Imburse is a people-first company since it was founded in 2018, and its focus on employees’ well-being remains a high priority. In Helen’s words, “Imburse was built on very solid foundations, with a strong focus on trust and transparency.” She added: “We completely avoid the whole political game, and it just means that our people are all very much following the same mission, and that is something that comes true across the company.”

Another important factor that employees appreciate is flexibility. Imburse understands that each employee has unique needs and different priorities in their lives, whether that is parenting or other responsibilities. The importance of balancing our time between work and life outside of work became even more evident during the pandemic. As all employees shifted to remote working during the lockdowns, the barrier between work and other life commitments became smaller.

Employees and companies alike realised just how crucial it is to have policies that allow for more flexibility. There are various reasons why flexibility can be advantageous for employees, who are able to juggle between work and life without the guilt that is often associated with it. But equally, employees that have flexible work arrangements have noticed a 43% increase in their productivity (Gartner 2021 Digital Worker Experience Survey).

Aside from these benefits, Imburse also offers private health insurance and shares in the company, so that all employees are truly a part of the business and are invested in our success. At its core, we always try to understand everyone’s individual situation and what flexibility they may need, so we can tailor our offering based on what’s important to them. Not every employee has the same preference, for instance, when it comes to remote/hybrid/on-site work models. “It isn’t a one-size-fits-all and the diversity of the company is really important to us, so we are taking everyone’s needs into account and creating structures around that,” says Helen.

This can naturally be a challenge as companies grow and scale. Imburse has been growing steadily in the last year and has now over 60 employees across our three main hubs: Zurich, London, and Lisbon. Ensuring that there is a solid people structure to support this growth is key in not losing focus on putting employees’ well-being first. According to Helen, the two main priorities for us and the People team in particular over the last few months have been hiring and engagement. “It has been a candidate-led market for quite a while, so we had to work really hard to find the people we want. We have succeeded, though it’s not been easy at times.”

On the engagement side, we placed a lot of focus on improving communications to keep everyone updated and ensure that everyone knows exactly where we are going. Employee sentiment is also very important to us, and we use a lot of the feedback we get from employee surveys to develop our action plans for the next quarter. Another aspect that has been part of our strategy involves establishing senior management positions so that employees know who they can talk to and have open channels available. Lastly, though there are a lot more factors we could discuss, we frequently update and review our compensation packages. We have given two pay rises across the company this year, as we understand that inflation and the cost of living crisis are affecting and concerning a lot of us. These are just some of the strategies that Imburse has been focussing on, led by Helen and her team. Click here if you want to listen to the whole The Talent Surgery podcast episode

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