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Scaling During A Pandemic | Talent Lab Exclusive

 

 

Railsbank, the London-headquartered Banking-as-a-Service scale-up, raised $37 million in new growth funding in the midst of the pandemic. Boldly acquiring Wirecard’s UK division shortly after, the business has grown at an extraordinary rate, distinguishing themselves from many of the fintech crowd. Doubling in size and hiring over 180 people into the business during a seven-month period is impressive by any account, let alone when you throw Covid into the ringer.

 

In this exclusive article with Railsbank, we talk to Nico Cortes who leads their Talent strategy.

 

What scale-up challenges did you face?

Initially, the main challenge was “how?!” How were we going to onboard all these new people, get their laptops/equipment out to them on time (a lot of them on VERY short notice), how were we going to make them feel like part of the company when they’re scattered across the globe?

 

What did you do to improve your scale-up recruitment strategy?

We dropped a lot of the formalities from a screening interview and were able to have honest, open discussions with potential candidates about their experience and where they saw themselves fitting in with Railsbank – what we could do for them as opposed to just focussing on what they brought to our table. The uncertainty and unrest caused by the pandemic made us really think about how we approached interviews and people in general. The humanity in all of us shone through especially when helping someone decide about their futures and careers. Collective vision and a clear development plan were fundamental in creating belonging.

 

How did you create confidence when hiring talent during a pandemic?

The company did that all by itself! The way we were growing, the funding we were closing, the direction the company was moving, the territories we were opening and expanding into – all these things, led by some industry giants and geniuses, meant it was a pretty convincing pitch by us!

 

How did you adapt your onboarding during the pandemic?

Moving jobs during one of the most uncertain economic periods we have encountered certainly is not for the faint-hearted. Creating commonality and connection with your team is vital. We make it our mission to onboard new team members by helping facilitate work friendships and maintaining the human touch in a virtual environment by using breakout rooms and regular check-ins. We also fed into a bi-monthly feedback loop to allow us to adapt the process in line with what we knew was working. The benefits of an agile start-up!

 

What lessons have you learnt?

During this pandemic, it’s been sink or swim for a lot of businesses, unfortunately. We’ve been fortunate to thrive during this period – lessons here are to plan plan plan!!! Even if things happen at the last minute or are unforeseen – take time and create a plan of action, plan your strategy and approach it with those guidelines in place. It will save you a tonne of time on the ‘clean up’ operation after!

 

Talent Lab has worked closely with Railsbank on a number of occasions over the past year and have always been on hand to hire top talent into an incredibly fast-growing business. For more information about how we can help your next team build, get in touch at hello@talentlab.uk