Rapidly expanding financial technology (fin-tech) firm Receipt Bank has been enjoying strong growth, but that has meant recruiting people, and getting them up to a certain experience level, fast.
Established in the UK in 2010, the company offers a cloud-based platform for accountants to manage their bookkeeping. When senior country manager (EMEA) Nelson Da Silva (pictured right) joined in 2013, the business employed just 10 people.
Fast-forward four years and the company has offices in six countries and close to 200 staff. “The level of growth that we achieved, and the investment we were receiving, meant that recruitment, particularly within the sales division, was a priority,” Da Silva says. “You can either recruit experienced sales people, or you can take people with the right attitude and develop them to do sales the way you want them to.” His preferred approach has always been the latter, but while one-to-one shadowing of new employees worked in the early stages of the business, as it grew there was less of Da Silva to go around.
To create a more structured approach to staff progression, Receipt Bank introduced several measures to support its culture of coaching and mentoring. “I worked with an external consultant to develop the free internal training sessions that we now run, which are delivered in partnership with the sales management team,” says Da Silva.
He knew that one-to-one coaching worked particularly well for the firm, so when he read an article last summer about a coaching app produced by Thrive Partners, he was intrigued. “We weren’t looking to replace what we had already, but to complement it,” says Da Silva.
The company gave the online app a three-month trial, starting with its sales team. Using the app, staff could book 30-minute sessions with experienced and independent business people, during which they could discuss anything from specific task-based problems to tips on presentations or advice on how to climb the career ladder – not topics they would always feel comfortable talking about to a colleague or someone more senior at the company, says Da Silva.
“The feedback on these sessions has been great,” he says. Buoyed by this success, Receipt Bank is now planning to roll it out to further departments in the UK – but is still figuring out how to make it work on a global basis.
“Most business leaders would struggle to give you an ROI on something like coaching, but there are some things that can be measured in hard numbers and others where you might not see the success of it in the short term, but it pays dividends in the long run,” says Da Silva. “Coaching is one of those things.”