When the newest challenger to the mainstream players, Redwood Bank burst onto the scene nearly four years ago, it impressed people as being the UK’s first challenger business bank to be completely ‘born in the cloud’.
It drew further acclaim as it became the fastest ‘licence-to-launch’ in UK banking history. No mean feat for an organisation which launched with just 25 employees. It now has over 100 staff.
"Word soon got out that Redwood Bank was a great employer," says Tracey Lester, Head of Human Resources.
"We’re attracting some of the best in the business as people want to work for an organisation that is dynamic in its decision making, treats all staff with respect, genuinely has the customer at the heart of their business but also adopts traditional banking values.
It was a very simple, but extremely effective way to entice people to come and work for us."
Recruitment and staff satisfaction have always played an important part in the recent growth of Redwood Bank.
"If you keep your staff happy, they will work hard to keep your customers happy," says Gary Wilkinson, CEO and Co-Founder.
"This simple formula works and is the reason why customer satisfaction sits regularly at 97% per cent. Our staff care because the Bank cares."
Since its inception, the team has grown steadily, with recruitment continuing at pace during the first lockdown in 2020.
"Our HR team worked tirelessly to overcome the hurdle of welcoming new people remotely, but thanks to our robust, secure systems and excellent online communication channels, all new employees have settled in incredibly well," Gary explains.
Tara Procter, Human Resources Officer; Tracey Lester, Head of Human Resources
Ian Symons, who was recruited as a Senior Asset Liability Management (ALM) Analyst in April 2020, admits it was a "strange" experience starting a new job from his sofa at home in Bristol, but the entire process was "seamless". Prior to his first day, the Bank arranged for his IT hardware to be sent to his home so he could be set up remotely.
"I was set up completely over the cloud. The transition has been seamless and everyone at the Bank has been very welcoming. We’ve had lots of team calls, many with the entire Bank, which often ended with a virtual game of ‘Play Your Cards Right’, which was great fun. The sense of community within the Bank has been very strong from the beginning."
But even working from home still left him the dilemma of what to wear on his first day.
"Everyone knows that first impressions count and when you start a new job you want to get off on the right foot. So, I began my first day in a full suit and tie, but by the time I was on my first video conference call with the team, I had got changed into casual clothes," he laughs.
Human Resources Officer Tara Procter says Redwood Bank has a reputation for embracing new employees within the industry.
"New colleagues often say how great they think the culture is here and how easy it is to settle in due to the family feel. Even those who have joined in recent months, where they’ve only met colleagues virtually, say what a nice atmosphere Redwood has cultivated," she says.
But the new working practices introduced during the pandemic, impacted everyone, even well-established Redwood employees.
Rhia Botha, is Head of Treasury and has worked for the Bank since 2017 she says, "the challenges of being a working mum and home-schooling at the same time can’t be understated. This has been overcome with the help of the Bank. The flexibility and understanding of the executive team meant I could make up my hours in the evenings, a more convenient time for me as the kids are then in bed."
Lee Casey, Portfolio Management Manager
Lee Casey who has been with Redwood since 2018 says he is really "proud" to work in such a supportive environment. He says
"Redwood is a team of people who work together, and everyone really cares for one another. There is a huge sense of family and I’m proud to work for an organisation like this. I’m also so proud that we get recognised by the awards that the Bank wins, particularly when we’re up against high street names."
Learn more about the Redwood Bank team