Seven things I've learned building one of Scotland’s most flexible workplaces

DirectID's Head of Employee Experience, Karen Henderson, explains how flexibility can be your company’s superpower.
Published on
September 5, 2022
Author
Category
Finance & Fintech

If you're not familiar with DirectID, we're a global fintech founded in Edinburgh, Scotland. I think we have an important story to share about our ongoing journey to becoming one of the world’s most flexible employers, and how flexibility can be your company’s superpower.

Both Scotland and the wider UK are incredibly competitive markets for tech talent in the credit and risk sector. In that respect, DirectID punches far above its weight. As our revenues continue to show strong growth, our workforce is growing, too, and we've been thrilled to welcome some of the most outstanding fintech minds to our team.

To us, it's clear – because our team have told us – our unique advantage is that we offer a 100% flexible workplace culture.

We’re a UK headquartered company with our leadership team based here, but we’re also fully remote, with our people located across Bulgaria, Estonia, South Africa and Nigeria. Our team includes avid sportspeople who organise their work hours around training. Some of our people take “work-cations” that let them combine tourism and work, for months at a time, in new countries.

Our people have found uniquely satisfying ways to balance their work and personal lives, and we’re proud to have been named one of Scotland's Top 10 Flexible Employers two years running.

Why so flexible?

Why have we put flexibility at the heart of our business? The real question is, why would any company not do so? Following the pandemic, employees have been under unprecedented strain. They now know that there are options to the ways in which they work, and they’re voting with their feet.

Across industries, people are more assured about what they expect from an employer and their policies. New surveys are proving what we suspected: flexibility is now more valued than salary. According to a 2021 survey of more than 5,000 knowledge workers in five countries, 59% of respondents said flexibility and autonomy meant more to them than financial reward. Clearly, companies must think creatively about to support their people and encourage their best work.

We went all-flexible during the pandemic, phasing out our central offices and rolling out the technology and the HR policies to go 100% remote. Our difference is that we didn’t roll it all back when restrictions eased. We never enforced a hybrid model with an obligatory number of in-office days.

This was the right move, and that’s become even clearer from watching other companies who did impose rigid, back-to-work hybrid models – many of them have lost great people as a result.

What about in-person contact for employees?

We haven’t forgotten the value to the business or our people from meeting in person. We hold regular gatherings where our team can get together, network and socialise. These all-hands meet-ups are funded by the company and give all our people the option to come to Edinburgh.

We give lots of notice, so everyone can make the adjustments for home and life, attend, and be fully present. Meeting colleagues is an important re-charge, and it builds that all-important sense of purpose across our company.

Making the list: Scotland’s Top 10 Flexible Employers

Following our second year making Scotland’s Top 10 Flexible Employers, we figured it was the perfect time to talk more about what flexibility means at DirectID. We ran a new communications and education initiative called the Seven Truths about Flexibility. To create the truths, we consulted widely with our people, including our leadership and team members who’ve been especially creative with flexibility. We also researched the market, consulted thought leaders in flexible work cultures, and absorbed the lessons learned.

Our seven flexible truths

Flexible conversations

We don’t hide our flexibility – we’re vocal and transparent about it and discuss it with candidates. New hires enjoy flexibility from the start and are never asked to justify the need.

Flexible learning

We equip and upskill managers and leaders to learn to lead from a place of trust, including recognising any of their learned behaviours or biases around flexibility.

Flexible technology

We use technologies including Outlook and Slack to enable high visibility and high productivity. We encourage a culture of calendar sharing. Teams decide collaboratively on the schedule for group meetings and events.

Flexible paperwork

Contracts contain weekly minimum expected hours but no set daily core hours: they may have adjusted working hours, may be condensed, part-time, or job-sharing arrangements. To demonstrate trust from day one, we’ve removed probation periods.

Flexible locations

Our people may live and work wherever they can remain productive and healthy. Our agreement with We Work offices globally gives them the option to explore the world and still earn and contribute.

Flexible relationships

We designed our flexible working for the majority. Some team members may struggle with the trust equation and make mis-steps at first. But we’ll work with them and all our team to make flexibility work. The choice to work flexibly won’t be removed, even if other team members stumble.

Flexible gatherings

Our semi-annual team gatherings and ad-hoc individual team meetings provide a recharge and a change from the day-to-day. When colleagues meet, it provides fuel for the tank.

Conclusion

Documenting our flexibility like this is an important step. It holds us accountable. It also makes ‘flexibility’ real – it’s not a nebulous term that our people hear, without being sure what it means for them.

We want our people to be truly fulfilled working here, because it helps make us a strong, resilient, high-performing business. Since going fully flexible, we’ve seen that our people not only provide more discretionary effort, they also become vocal advocates of the business. A significant portion of DirectID’s new business now comes from referrals from our own team members.

What’s becoming clear is that flexibility is the enabler of our performance and the engine for our growth. That’s because people give their best when they’re happy. Our Employer Net Promoter Scores, drawn from our weekly Office Vibe internal pulse, shows that DirectID strongly outperforms our industry benchmark, with an ENPS of almost double the average for financial and services companies. That’s the kind of result that can power us to the next stage of growth, and beyond.

The real question for leadership teams everywhere is this: can you afford not to embrace flexibility? It could make all the difference to retaining your best people, and reaching your full potential.

Karen Henderson is Head of Employee Experience at DirectID

Get detailed insights into your customer's financial behaviours

Discover how the simplified DirectID process can cut the normal application time from 7 days down to 1 hour and provide you with enriched data insights about your customers to enable you to make smart credit and risk decisions.

Latest posts

Showing 0 results

Advanced credit & risk insights

Affordability

Assess how much your customer can afford to repay. Use enriched data to identify income, and fixed vs flexibile spend.

Affordability

Assess how much your customer can afford to repay. Use enriched data to identify income, and fixed vs flexibile spend.

Income verification

Verify your customer's income across all income streams, whether it's salaried wages, freelance earnings or benefits.

Categorisation & classification

Cut through the noise of a bank statement and understand how and where your customers spend their money.

Emerging financial distress

Identify emerging financial distress to enable early intervention before your customer defaults.

SME financial health

See the balance trend of an SME’s accounts with a view on income, stability and fluctuations. View the money a business earns, spends and saves on a regular basis.

What our customers say

Testimonials - Fintech X Webflow Template

DirectID began working with Target at the beginning of 2020 to provide open banking data for their new Mortgage Hub. It is the first digital mortgage platform to be designed from the ground up, and the first to use open banking data as the backbone for customer experience.

Global vehicle manufacturer

Automotive financing

Testimonials - Fintech X Webflow Template

DirectID began working with Target at the beginning of 2020 to provide open banking data for their new Mortgage Hub. It is the first digital mortgage platform to be designed from the ground up, and the first to use open banking data as the backbone for customer experience.

Shieldpay

Multi-award winning payment platform. Designed for highly secure & efficient transactions. Trusted by over 100 law firms, lenders and professional services.

Testimonials - Fintech X Webflow Template

DirectID began working with Target at the beginning of 2020 to provide open banking data for their new Mortgage Hub. It is the first digital mortgage platform to be designed from the ground up, and the first to use open banking data as the backbone for customer experience.

Target Group

A Tech Mahindra company and a leading business services provider in lending, investments and insurance, managing over £25bn+ assets.

Testimonials - Fintech X Webflow Template

DirectID began working with Target at the beginning of 2020 to provide open banking data for their new Mortgage Hub. It is the first digital mortgage platform to be designed from the ground up, and the first to use open banking data as the backbone for customer experience.

Best Egg

Consumer-lending platform developed by Marlette Holdings, Inc.

Testimonials - Fintech X Webflow Template

DirectID began working with Target at the beginning of 2020 to provide open banking data for their new Mortgage Hub. It is the first digital mortgage platform to be designed from the ground up, and the first to use open banking data as the backbone for customer experience.

Dana

A lending as a service provider using open banking to strengthen their credit scoring engine

Get started using open banking data

Talk with one of our specialists to find out more about using open banking data.

  • Demo of the guided customer consent journey

  • Walk through of our real-time data & insights

  • Coverage check in your markets

Frequently asked questions

Schedule a call
01

What is open banking and how does it work?

Open banking is the practice that allows people and businesses to share up to 12 months of transaction data. DirectID is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority as an Account Information Service Provider (AISP) - the intermediary who safely facilitate this process.

02

What is transaction categorisation?

Transaction categorisation is the process of adding context to raw transaction data. The process gives you an understanding of what your customers' spend their money  and where.

03

How does bank account verification work?

Using the bank account verification API, DirectID matches the details provided from your customer to those on their account. We apply a set of sophisticated algorithms and rules to verify the name, and then tell you what does and does not match.

04

How do you verify income with open banking?

After a customer shares their data, DirectID identify recurring credits to the account and group these. Using an algorithm we identify the monthly income for each income stream. We then return the calculated income and confidence score to you.

Speak with one of our specialists