The fintech event that puts people first

Michael Schlein
Apr 11 · 5 min read
At the Inclusive Fintech Summit, leaders came together to discuss how we can drive financial inclusion.
Being well-informed about and responsive to your customers is the only way to come up with appropriate solutions.

It’s all about people — not technology

Companies everywhere are wrestling with how to use technology to achieve scale and efficiency while meeting customers’ preferences for human touch. Being well-informed about and responsive to your customers is the only way to come up with appropriate solutions:

  • Don’t assume. Talk to prospective clients first. What technology do they use? How do they use it? What are they willing to try?
  • Shrink your time zones. Have your tech team near your customers so they can respond quickly. Create a feedback loop where both your tech team and customers inform one another.
  • The more your team knows your clients, the better. Make sure your entire team knows who your customers are. Arrange client visits or allow back-office staff to join customer calls.

Tips for hiring teams in emerging markets

Hiring is the only challenge that gets more difficult with time: as roles become more complex and as an organization takes on more work, hiring the right candidates becomes harder and inhibits companies’ ability to scale.

  • Treat recruiters as business partners. Ultimately, you’re both working to build a better organization.
  • Value the right attitude and generalists over specialists. Specific skill requirements can change over time, so it’s better to get someone who can adapt to multiple future needs. And attitude should count as much as skills: Harvard Business School found that avoiding toxic employees is worth twice as much as the returns that top workers produce. Toxic workers also diminish productivity and drive out other employees.

Corporate culture results from CEOs’ choices and behavior

CEOs’ actions and choices have an outsized role in creating corporate culture.
  • Cultivate psychological safety. The feeling that a team “is safe for risk-taking” was the biggest contributor in Google’s review of successful team dynamics. Psychologically safe teams brought in more revenue and were twice as effective as ‘unsafe’ teams.
  • Develop employee value propositions. These identify why a prospective employee should work for a given startup. They elevate the organization’s mission and explain how an employee could grow from their work at a particular company.

How to help your team get through a crisis

One session on overcoming adversity resonated with many in the room. Founder-CEOs routinely face any number of crises; professionally, there’s nothing harder than trying to lead your team through a major challenge.

  • If bad news is coming, you want to be the one sharing it. Don’t let someone else tell your story. This is true for your investors, employees, and family.
  • It’s important to be honest and transparent. In good times — and especially in bad times — let people know what’s really happening. That said, you don’t need to bring everyone through every twist and turn. Focus on the most important issues and communicate them well.
  • Protect your health. Founders emphasized basic self-care, including exercise, sleep, cutting alcohol and sugar, and seeking advice from mentors.

Ventures

We're a global nonprofit dedicated to building a world where everyone has access to the financial tools they need to improve their lives.

Michael Schlein

Written by

President and CEO, @Accion. Harnessing the power of fintech and impact investing to advance financial inclusion and improve lives. www.linkedin.com/in/mschlein/

Ventures

Ventures

We're a global nonprofit dedicated to building a world where everyone has access to the financial tools they need to improve their lives.