As the Head of HR at FintechForce, I’ve been thinking a lot about the different ways of finding the right people for the job. When I say “job”, though, I don’t just mean a specific position at the company. I also mean our team and the core values underlying our culture. After all, work isn’t – or at least shouldn’t be – just a means to an end. It should also be an opportunity to embody one’s vision of the good life.

Let’s start with recruitment. What matters most to me in the interview process, apart from a candidate’s necessary skills and experience, is bringing out their own unique approach to problem-solving. Being a certified Limbic Leadership Coach, however, I also know that up to 98% of everything we do is subconscious by default. Besides, our values and beliefs are formed at the age of 6-7, and mostly remain stable afterwards. So how does one make the subconscious itself become conscious?

This is where the months of training I underwent with a clinical psychologist come in. What I’ve learned is that getting at the root is best done by asking interviewees to bring up 2-3 challenges they’ve faced in the past. Probing into a real-life event is highly revealing of how people work and how self-reflective they are about their work – something that can’t be said of abstract speculation on a hypothetical problem.

For this to work, the interview has to be honest and non-judgemental. Everyone has a different way of going about things, and one isn’t necessarily better than the other. To the extent that I do judge, it’s only from the standpoint of whether the candidate is a match in terms of competence and culture, not whether they are a good or bad person.

We seek to extend the same care and consideration to our existing team members, as well. It’s really exhausting to be in a situation where you can neither be authentically yourself, nor feel any connection to those around you. With this in mind, our aim is to build a culture that reflects who we are today, allows for future change, and makes work a means for growth and self-actualisation, rather than something alien imposed on us arbitrarily.

In practice, this means allowing people to decide how and when they’re going to deliver their results. Most of our team members are parents, which makes this even more important. Some need to drop off their kids at school in the morning or pick them up in the afternoon, but then hop back on in the evening once the kids are in bed. No matter the reason, you can just block off some time and do your thing without having to explain yourself or feel guilty about not being around for a bit.

It also means encouraging connection on a human level. This can be noticing when someone’s down in the dumps. Or voluntarily sharing about the joys and hardships of one’s personal life. Or even simply letting others know about your scheduled time off. We call this “Noticing and Naming”. One might say, e.g., “I noticed that you gave us an update that you’ll be away for a couple of hours. That was really helpful because it made it easier for me to manage my workflow”.

Last but not least, we do “Friday All Hands”, where we spend part of the time checking in on the pulse of the team, or sharing our weekend plans or something fun and interesting that happened during the week This enables us to really see the human person behind the “co-worker” label..

So these are just some of the ways in which our work culture has been unfolding, and we’re already developing a slew of new programs (stay tuned!) that will hopefully allow us to clarify things even further and give even more distinctive shape to how we do things at FintechForce.