Keeping the little guys in the loop: How Funding Circle hopes to fix the financial system

Let’s be honest, financial institutions can be bleak places. Pretentious, impenetrable, and determined to make you feel conscious of your own tiny existence.

So when I step into the lively hive that is Funding Circle’s office, it’s a breath of fresh air. There’s not a suit in sight, the place is immersed in a babble of chat and laughter, and some members of staff are elbow-deep in a game of table tennis – though admittedly, it was lunchtime.

Even their canteen, which has a polaroid-mosaic of every employee brandished on the wall, seems too cool to belong to a finance firm. But should we be surprised that a company so integral in the new era of finance is switching things up a bit?

An image opposite the reception desk says “we’re building a better financial world” in large lettering. It’s definitely a bold statement.

Here’s a team doing some serious work in trying to change a finance system which its founders describe as “broken”, but that doesn’t mean their work has to take all the fun out of life.

“When we think about the people we hire, it’s all about energy,” says Funding Circle co-founder James Meekings. “We want staff to share their excitement about what they do with others in the office – even if they’re talking about tax.”

It’s clear that the company is serious about creating a healthy workplace culture, but as many burgeoning firms know, instilling the values into a rapidly growing team is no easy feat.

A couple of years after the business launched, Meekings and his fellow founders, Samir Desai and Andrew Mullinger, decided to set certain values. “You soon realise that you are no longer going to meet everyone you hire. You start to see different behaviours emerge, so you have to codify how you want the company to behave.

“Most companies put values in place, but the real question is how you live those values.”

Of course, culture is a hot topic in the business world at the moment. Big financial organisations have come under scrutiny for their corporate culture, and even fresh-faced tech companies are not immune from criticism over some pretty questionable behaviour.

An image opposite the reception desk says “we’re building a better financial world” in large lettering. It’s definitely a bold statement.

Here’s a team doing some serious work in trying to change a finance system which its founders describe as “broken”, but that doesn’t mean their work has to take all the fun out of life.

“When we think about the people we hire, it’s all about energy,” says Funding Circle co-founder James Meekings. “We want staff to share their excitement about what they do with others in the office – even if they’re talking about tax.”

It’s clear that the company is serious about creating a healthy workplace culture, but as many burgeoning firms know, instilling the values into a rapidly growing team is no easy feat.

A couple of years after the business launched, Meekings and his fellow founders, Samir Desai and Andrew Mullinger, decided to set certain values. “You soon realise that you are no longer going to meet everyone you hire. You start to see different behaviours emerge, so you have to codify how you want the company to behave.

“Most companies put values in place, but the real question is how you live those values.”

Of course, culture is a hot topic in the business world at the moment. Big financial organisations have come under scrutiny for their corporate culture, and even fresh-faced tech companies are not immune from criticism over some pretty questionable behaviour.

Read more here.