Bringing Sexy Back to Banking

The Need for Recruiting and Branding

You’ve likely heard us say before (perhaps even in other blog posts) that the banking industry has lost the war on talent over the last 10-15 years. Well, it’s true. Top talent has been attracted to tech firms and fintechs, because banking, historically, has not been all that exciting. We’ve lost a toehold on what great talent really looks like and even how to attract it.

But we’re getting that top talent back, at least at Quontic. In the last eight months, we’ve doubled the Quontic Bank staff. It’s taken a village to make it happen, and it’ll require the maintenance of our unique company culture to keep them, but using new recruiting and branding strategies, we’re pushing the industry forward. We’re bringing sexy back to banking.

It all starts with the DNA, or the fabric, of our organization. We decided exactly what we were going to make important (and, inversely, what we weren’t going to make important). One year ago, we engaged with an organization called the Table Group, owned by Patrick Lencioni, a world-renowned speaker, author, and thought leader in the world of organization and culture. Our senior management team, together with one of Lencioni’s consultants by the name of Rick Van Arnam, recast the DNA of Quontic by following the model that Lencioni setup. It will look a little different for every organization, but in order to purposely craft the foundation of the framework (and then, ideally, promote it to candidates to join the bank), you have to answer these 6 critical questions:

 

1. Why do we exist? 

That is your purpose statement. Quontic’s mission is to break the system for financial empowerment. Simple

2. How do we behave? 

The answer to this question ends up being your core values. We asked ourselves: “If we want to go out and find people, how do we want them to show up and behave? What’s at the core of how they operate their lives?” For example, when we decided to make Say Cheese one of our core values, we decided we wanted employees that have a natural positivity. Likewise, you’re never going to see our CEO, Steve Schnall, in a suit jacket during a normal day at work; he’s in t-shirts like the rest of us. We’re the anti-bank! We want to find people who align with that. And not everybody will. Some people want the sleepy bank and the guy showing up in a suit. That’s why core values are crucial to attracting the right people.

3. What do we do?

What exactly are we in the business of doing? We provide lending and deposit services to consumers, but more specifically, we make the dream of homeownership possible for the underbanked. Because we are a CDFI, we are able to get mortgages to folks like independent contractors or immigrants that are often overlooked by our competitors.   We lead digital bank innovation. We want to be the leader in nimble and innovative digital transformation. We take brand new ideas—things that have never been done before—and turn them into reality.

4. How will we succeed?

These are the arrows in the quiver, the things we’re doing that are different from other places. They’re our adaptive lending products, our new deposit products like Bitcoin Rewards Checking, or being a CDFI. For example, Quontic isn’t interested in lending to people like me. I’m not a Quontic customer for mortgages. We’re serving the underbanked. That’s part of how we will succeed.

5. What is most important right now?

What is most important for us to accomplish right now, both in 12 months and in 90 days? Right seats, right people. People are our most important asset. Period. And we want to be sure we have the best and brightest, no matter where they are located, on our team. We want to give them a challenging role where they can thrive professionally and give them engagement opportunities to grow personally and socialize with other team members even when we are all hundreds, maybe thousands of miles apart.

6. Who must do what?

This is a really critical question because you’ve got to clearly assign who’s going to own what within your team. Then, in most cases, you have a gap. Like, in order to accomplish this plan we’ve laid out, we need a front-end web developer. The answer to this question starts to identify the talent you need to bring in for the organization.

So, we package up the answers to these 6 questions, turn them over to our recruiters. Those recruiters go out and find the people that can answer the question: What needs to be done, and who’s going to do it? They find that talent and sell them Quontic’s growth story. It all starts right there.

However, the worst thing you can do is promote this great culture and then not live it. You can’t just sell an aspirational vision, you’ve got to deliver on it. In order to deliver, it requires everybody in the bank to show up, understand the answers to these 6 questions, and live them out. That’s why, in our all-company monthly meetings, we have a section where we spotlight employees who live Quontic’s core values. And it’s not management that determines who gets recognized. We ask our employees, “Who in the last 30 days have you seen living our core values?”

Meaningful change in an organization starts on the inside and works its way out. Remember the story of Abe Lincoln, who said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.” Take the time out to sharpen the ax. Slow down enough to understand who you are, to reflect on who you want to become, and to make that change from the inside out.

That’s where Quontic is right now. We haven’t always run on these core values in the past 11 years. We’re still learning and putting them into place and making sure we’re hiring people that align with them, who think our values are sexy. We’re not perfect, but every day we get a little bit better at it.

 

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