It’s no secret that a gear shift has been felt in the fintech industry. Valuation was once a sign of success and unicorn status was a much sought-after title. However, as we continue to see reduced valuations and funding amidst a tough economic landscape, profitability is fast becoming the holy grail. The team at Money20/20 recently looked into this move away from focusing on valuation in its latest report, ‘Welcome to the age of Centaurs’, ahead of the upcoming Europe show.
While this change in strategy makes sense, how does this filter down to the employees of fintechs who have been on the exciting valuation journey thus far? As the Money20/20 report concludes, it certainly feels a less “sexy” ambition, but it’s arguably the route to long-term success. So as with any other change in direction or refocusing of strategy, fintechs must successfully bring employees along with them on this new journey. Here’s what they should be thinking about:
- Create a powerful new story. Employees in the industry are likely to have long been bought into the pursuit of unicorn-level success. But times are changing and fintechs must reimagine their corporate narratives to foster conviction around, and excitement for, their new journeys. As well as creating the context that helps employees make sense of this shift, fintech businesses must also motivate employees to embrace this new direction and play their part. Uncovering and connecting to employees’ key motivators (“What’s in it for me?”) is fundamental to creating sustained desire.
- Translate words into action. If profitability is now one of the key names of the game, employees need to understand what this shift means for them and the organisational culture: What are the implications for their roles, responsibilities, and other behaviours? What do they need to start or stop doing, or otherwise do differently, to drive revenue? How will they be measured or assessed? What support will the receive along the way? Without this clarity, no matter how motivated they are to embrace the new journey, employees will find it difficult to play their part.
- Enlist leaders and managers to drive change. When employees see their leaders setting the tone from the top, advocating for and role modelling the changes that need to be seen, they are more likely to follow suit themselves. Likewise, people managers have a major influence on change, not least as the preferred communications channel of employees. Unlocking the power of both these groups through focused engagement and support is key to delivering lasting impact.
- Stand out from the crowd. Redefining a corporate narrative provides the perfect opportunity to refresh an Employer Value Proposition (EVP), a vital tool for growing a reputation as an employer of choice to attract the best talent. While the short- to medium-term focus for many fintechs will be employee engagement and retention, investing in a strong external Employer Brand during times of change and uncertainty will pay dividends once market conditions swing back in favour of broader growth and expansion.
While the fintech industry has experienced a turbulent time in recent months, there is still so much promise. Now more than ever, it’s crucial to prioritise employee communications to ensure entire teams are behind working towards this new goal, while also establishing a clear EVP to attract future talent too.
By Tom McCaldon, Talent & Transformation Director at FleishmanHillard UK
Our Talent & Transformation team is full of experts in Employee Communications, Change, and EVP & Employer Branding who can partner with you for success in key moments such as these. If you’d like to hear more, contact [email protected].
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November 20, 2023
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