WHO WE ARE: OUR PEOPLE, CULTURE, AND VALUES
The OBIE is transitioning from a pure programme delivery model to an ecosystem enabler and services provider.
The OBIE is a young organisation, on the path to creating a culture that reflects our three key functions as outlined above, and the goals and values to which we aspire. Collaboration, transparency, innovation, and rigour are in our DNA. We help to set the standards for the industry and do all we can to adhere to the highest standards of conduct and openness ourselves.
The OBIE started life as a delivery-led programme staffed by contractors. This reflected the specific focus at that time on designing the standards and building the trust framework that sits at the heart of open banking. As the programme has evolved and the ecosystem has grown, the emphasis has shifted to operating the infrastructure and providing services into the ecosystem.
Consequently, in 2020 the OBIE transformed itself into an employee-based organisation. That transition went well despite the sudden disruption of COVID-19. It is a great tribute to the efforts and dedication of our teams that they were able to adapt so quickly to the new structure. They also had to deal simultaneously with our migration to fully remote working: a complex challenge that many in the open banking community also had to contend with. We are enormously grateful for the commitment, patience, and support of the entire OBIE team.
Our first permanent employees joined the payroll in March 2020 and the process was 95% completed by the end of the year. Some 80% of our staff are now permanent, with 20% working on a contract basis due to the nature of their roles. Moreover, of our 71 employees, a large number transitioned from being contractors to permanent staff, bringing a sense of continuity and allowing us to retain their valuable expertise.
"The OBIE is a young organisation on the path to creating a culture that reflects our three key functions."
SUPPORTING OUR PEOPLE THROUGH CHANGE
This includes the introduction of comprehensive Human Resource processes and policies, sickness and health cover, performance reviews, and the creation of a Culture & Values Working Group.
The transition has also allowed us to make progress on the more intangible elements associated with a maturing organisation, such as building a supportive, open culture and prioritising the mental and physical welfare of our staff. This is more of a priority given the impact of COVID-19.
We have offered increased flexibility and support to employees dealing with additional childcare responsibilities and home schooling during the pandemic. We are also running a series of talks given by a range of inspiring speakers to support people’s emotional resilience.
To help foster a collegiate environment, we have launched an employee engagement strategy, based around regular team-building events. The first quarter of 2021 also sees the launch of our Reboot initiative, focused on work-life balance, health, parenting and familial support. As recently as Q4 2020, we carried out an employee Pulse survey and were delighted with the enthusiastic response (with 69% of permanent staff engaging in the survey) and the positive nature of the feedback overall. 97% of respondents, for example, said that they believed in what the OBIE is trying to achieve, while 91% affirmed that they felt their contributions counted at work.
We plan to build on this employee engagement throughout 2021, using, for example, our weekly All Hands calls and frequent business function and team check-in calls. A cross-section of employees has also formed a social committee devising ways to keep everyone in touch virtually, including a very successful Movember fundraiser which raised thousands of pounds in aid of the men’s health charity.
“The OBIE is a young organisation on the path to creating a culture that reflects our three key functions.”
CREATING A DIVERSE, INCLUSIVE TEAM
The OBIE is strongly committed to building a diverse and inclusive organisation. Not only is this essential as an employer but, given that open banking is something we want everyone to be able to utilise, we want to ensure that our workforce is representative of the general populace.
Today, two-fifths of the OBIE’s permanent staff identify as female, and a quarter identify as a minority. We fully recognise that this area is a work in progress and, as such, it remains an absolute priority for us. We have implemented learning and development programmes as part of our colleague agenda, with evolved recruitment practices such as balanced candidate pools, diverse interview panels, and advertising all permanent roles available as flexible.
One particularly exciting development is the OBIE’s involvement with Accutrainee’s scholarship programme to help talented and under-represented BAME law graduates qualify as a solicitor. The OBIE is delighted to welcome our first trainee on board in March 2021 and has encouraged other ecosystem participants to do the same.
Our goal is always to recruit people who not only meet a core set of competencies, but who also share the OBIE’s values and our vision for open banking.
“Our goal is to recruit people who share the OBIE’s values and our vision for open banking.”