Nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day, you bet on people, not on strategies.
– Lawrence Bossidy
The Journey to Becoming the Best Place to Work
Interviewing over a hundred candidates in thirty days was daunting, but exciting. For a fast-growing company like Cowrywise, hiring the right talents is a must-do, a delicate task to be executed with perfection. This is why we embarked on a thrilling adventure of getting the best talents to accelerate our growth.
Conversing with talents from diverse backgrounds and intriguing interests was an experience I looked forward to every day. It opened my eyes to the wealth of solutions and innovation that reside within Nigerian youths. While we couldn’t hire more than 1% of the reviewed applications, I was delighted with the quality of candidates in the Nigerian labour force.
We grew in staff strength by 81% over two months, achieving a male-female ratio of 4:3. While not deliberately designed, we have a national colour to our employee diversity having at least one employee from the six geo-political zones in Nigeria. Fascinating, yeah? We see this diversity as a huge source of strength!
The Quality of Our Brand
It was also exciting to hear what attracted candidates to our brand. It wasn’t surprising that for one or two roles, we had a “Final interview to hire rate” of 50-75%, and an overall “offer to acceptance rate” of 93%. This is a testament to the quality of our Employer Brand.
Building the right employer brand is a pivotal part of my deliverables. Hearing candidates talk about our value proposition, our vision, product design elegance, their interactions with our products and what people say about us in the corporate space was fulfilling. It was a great pointer to the fact that as an organisation, we are moving in the right direction.
Expanding the Best Place to Work
From a functional perspective, our engineering team expanded by 44%, our growth team by 37.5%, and our design team by 100%. This is interesting because just 3 years ago, we were a five-man team. Now, we’ve become an organisation with 29 brimming talents, and this further reinforces our mantra of delivering the best user experience while digitizing investment management for Africans.
Cowrywise welcomes you with open-hands and invites you to a full-course meal of fun, focus and freedom to explore your skills and talents. From our encompassing onboarding process to our tailor-fit policies, everything is designed to meet the different needs of our inter-generational workforce, and each interaction is a platform to build solid connections. It might interest you to know that we have a perfect blend of Millennial-Gen Z with a sprinkle of Baby-Boomers. This intersecting creativity is exuded in the aesthetic feel and in-depth way our product depicts how deliberate our team is.
With a converging demography, we are always effusing joy. It could be laughter over lunch or hearty bants while working, every second has been built to become memories that we treasure as colleagues. We are deliberate about creating a pleasing, ergonomic friendly environment that enhances employees productivity, reinforces collaboration and makes the workplace a home away from home.
Seriously, at Cowrywise, you are likely to feel bad if you don’t work from the office on certain days. You’ll get notifications like this on Slack and only be able to leave “rolling eyes” or “sad” emojis. 😁
As the foremost Hollywood legend John Cleese said- If you want creative workers, give them enough time to play.
With every process comes the exceptions and our expansion wasn’t exempted. The first scenario was our encounter with a smart talent, who was the exact fit, the purple squirrel for a unique functional role we were trying to fill but was an undergraduate.
In a world where flexibility is being infused into the workforce and remote work is becoming the daily reality, the candidate was given an offer that was mutually beneficial for both parties. We equipped her with the needed gadgets and soft-landing to enhance her performance and deliverables. Glad to say that we don’t regret our decision. In the past, we have had instances similar to this where young talents were given the chance to grow into important roles. Today, they have grown into holding some of our key roles as a company.
Workforce planning is being able to plan future demands with the present talent, not just for the present but for the future. While it is a massive investment, we see having young talent on board as a privilege for Cowrywise to be a chapter in their career development.
Breaking Recruitment Barriers
Another unique scenario was a candidate who had made the final list of a three-stage interview but wasn’t selected. Not because she wasn’t qualified but because another candidate possessed the cross-functional hands-on experience the role required. However, a few weeks later, she was recruited for another role that perfectly fit her skill set.
The lessons here, especially for job seekers, is to always deliver your best at every interview and to remember that a NO doesn’t mean you are not good enough. Neither does it diminish your value. It should rather push you to polish your skills and abilities.
At Cowrywise, we are deliberate about how our employees settle in as well as their ease of commute to work and how comfortable their place of residence is. Our Employees Value Proposition cuts across different tailor-fit policies to meet diverse needs and we leverage our Relocation Assistance policy to support our employees who need to move to a location that is closer to work. Below is what one of our employees had to say about her pre-onboarding experience.
Building the Best Place to Work
To draw the curtain of this continuously expanding script is to remind you of our commitment. We are building the best place to work. When I joined the organisation 99 days ago, I was given an exciting mission and backed up with the required resources to execute this mission. To lead the people and culture of a burgeoning start-up like Cowrywise has been quite exhilarating, stretching, but enthusing. It is a new dawn, an open door to an array of opportunities and we are committed to creating the best experience for our users, digitizing wealth management for Nigerians and Africans, while building the best place to work for our talents.
If you ask a Cowrywise employee what they enjoy about working at Cowrywise, they would tell you about growth, about gadgets, about a serene environment, about a healthy workplace, they might also include our sumptuous dishes, our hearty bants but the proper blend of all these stands us out and make us lustrous.
It is my 100th day at work, and many more days to come. Thank you for being part of my story, our story. It’s going to get even more exciting. Stay with us…
Lead, People and Culture.