“A lot of my role is listening, collaborating and connecting. Finding solutions to try and improve the customer journey.”
If it’s the start of the week, it begins with me checking in with my team. We look ahead to what’s in the calendar and identify where we can support one another. During the week, I also check in with the wider team via team meetings. I usually have lots of interaction with our support teams, our delivery partners and external organisations. It’s so important to my role that I’m able to hear what the people on the front line are seeing and feeling from customers and their feedback but also what’s going on in terms of external market trends.
I have a great relationship with my fellow directors in the Start Up Loans team and they’re fantastic for bouncing ideas around and providing broader insights. We review things in the diary, chat about what’s going on in the world. I like to share best practices from customer experience and flag things that may be useful for them to know from a customer perspective.
“If you’re passionate and want to help aspiring business owners get started, this is absolutely the place. We’re not doing this for shareholders, we’re doing it for the British small-business community.”
It was always an ambition to work for the British Business Bank. I worked in private sector banking previously, but I was always frustrated when encountering customers who found it really difficult to get finance through the high-street banks. I developed a passion for wanting to connect those types of people and businesses with the funding they needed.
When I got the chance to come and direct the customer experience within Start Up Loans, I looked forward to really making that whole experience better. Because it’s tough enough running a business without struggling with finance. The more streamlined we can make the application process, the better it is for businesses.
“There’s a different motivation when you move from private to public sector. It’s about managing taxpayers’ money effectively. Here, there’s a shared ethic and an energy to collaborate, which I’ve just never experienced before.”
I came to this role from commercial banking, having spent 10 years working in customer services supporting small-business customers.
I do feel the Bank is focused on staff development, and what’s great is that you’re able to source your own learning. That’s a special benefit we get here, and as a team leader I really encourage my colleagues to look for courses that support their development.
We’ve recently run an all-day workshop on career development and planning. We had speakers from outside the Bank come in and talk about a positive mindset and resilience, how to create a really strong career plan, and how to get your CV up to scratch.
“We’ve had new employees almost hitting their performance targets in four or five weeks, which is absolutely unheard of. And it speaks to the way that the teams have pivoted to collaborate. They spend more time communicating than they probably did in the office.”
I’m based in the Sheffield office but I live in Birmingham, so normally it is a bit of a commute. Not having to spend that time on the train has meant that I can focus more intensely on my work. It’s removed some distraction, really.
I do miss the office – I’m very social. But what I’ve learned is that people can work incredibly effectively remotely. I was nervous about recruiting new staff members during lockdown, but we’ve brought in upwards of 10, 15 people over the last year and the way they’ve come in and hit the ground running has been incredible.
“Diversity and inclusion (D&I) is a huge passion of mine. In Stronger Together, we’ve created a D&I group that represents a diverse workforce.”
We’re currently creating an awareness strategy for D&I across the Bank, with a focus on comms and data, particularly how we can be more transparent. That data started with gender but we’re planning on moving on to ethnicity. The longer-term plan is for a more high-level D&I plan for the Bank.
While that’s being workshopped, we’ve been doing things like presenting at Town Halls for LGBT+ History Month, Black History Month and touching on what’s going on in society, so not just focusing on the workplace.