EQ > IQ
Until we walk in someone else’s shoes, we don’t judge their journey.
Our biggest differentiator in the financial sector is how we coach our clients. Our trainers provide personal, 1-on-1 support to every single client, helping them set individualized goals, budget, save, repay debts, travel hack, boost credit scores, and secure retirement. As a result, it is extremely important that we have and practice empathy.
Our engineers need to be able to communicate and empathize not only with our clients, but also with our trainers. The current tech team members kicked off their orientation by completing the financial coaching training program. This two-week bootcamp covered everything from debt management to expense management, and how to deal with clients. It also provided EQ training that included case studies, looking at real clients, role playing, and breaking down the different tactics they’ve tried to help previous clients get to financial fitness. We found this insight into the financial training piece of the business to be immensely helpful, and will be a requirement for future tech hires going forward.
Currently, our tech team includes our CTO, Nicole, and three full stack developers. We expect to hire 12 employees to join the tech team by 2021, and look forward to building out our in-house engineering team. If you’re interested in learning more, please reach out!
Engages with Community
Money is personal and people aren’t algorithms, which is why education is key.
We’re an inclusive community and strongly believe our services shouldn’t be off-limits to people in need. For instance, during the height of the pandemic, we paused membership dues for those affected. We also have an awesome puzzle wall of donations and we give those funds to clients who need a little extra help.
In addition to 1-on-1 education through our formal training sessions, we also engage with the community by regularly hosting educational and fun meetups and events (which are open to anyone, not just clients) at our HQ in NYC. These events will also take place at our new LA, DC, and Brooklyn offices. For example, our “Wine and Learn” events include topics like Investing 101, The Art of Travel Hacking, and How to Meal Prep on a Budget. While they’ve been remote during COVID-19, we hope to be back in-person as soon as it’s safe to do so.
We also have monthly “Regional FinFit Group” meetups in various cities at bars or coworking spaces (again virtual for now). These are run by enthusiastic clients (anyone who wants to raise their hand) and we reimburse them for the costs. Engineers are more than welcome to participate in these events, in-person and remotely.
Finally, we also offer resources on our blog including articles about how to maximize your credit card perks and why you should still save for travel (even if you can’t go anywhere right now). You can also check out Martinis and Your Money, a podcast hosted by our CEO Shannon McLay, which covers topics like how to crush student loan debt and entrepreneurship. In particular, we recommend checking out the “Financially Naked” episodes (one of the podcast’s most popular series), which mimics what a client’s very first session with their trainer would be like. It’s a great place to start if you’re curious about how our mission can help people from all walks of life. We recommend this episode featuring Sean, one of our full-stack software developers.
Flexible Work Arrangements
We want our team to get the most out of their workday – regardless of location.
At The Financial Gym, flexibility is important because we want our team to work efficiently while also being comfortable. That’s why we’ve been open to remote work since the beginning and currently have employees in Texas, North Carolina, Kentucky, and other states.
Ideally, all of our 1-on-1 coaching sessions with trainers are in person, but virtual 1-on-1 coaching is an option (especially during the current pandemic). We want to serve everyone in the U.S. – so having employees in different time zones helps us scale – but the overall vision is to have onsite locations.
Ultimately, we recognize the benefits of allowing remote work, so we’re open to remote and flexible work arrangements for engineers. At the end of the day, we all stay connected through Slack.
Fosters Psychological Safety
We want team members to feel safe to raise their hand and ask for help when needed.
Our team values hard work, but we are also there to help one another when needed. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, or have taken on too much and need help delegating tasks, it’s a safe environment to reach out and ask for support.
We’re learning every single day, especially as we look to build our engineering team from the ground-up. Not everything we do is going to be a win right away, and that’s okay as long as we acknowledge and learn from our mistakes. Losing clients is tough, but it provides us with an opportunity to learn from what went wrong and coach each other through these instances. That could mean re-examining how we set expectations or communicate.
For every project we do, we make it a point to have a recap at the end. For example, at the end of each training class, Joy Liu (Head of Trainer Development), puts together a deck summarizing what they did in class, what they learned, and what she’d do differently next time. This is then shared with the leadership and executive teams.
Impressive Team Members
We all come from diverse backgrounds and are hustlers.
Our employees all have different work and life experiences. For example, Joy previously worked in advertising, while our other Head of Trainer Development, Crystal, has a background in the education space. That said, we have one important thing in common: we all have a strong passion for life and helping others.
Diversity is paramount to our success as a team, and we hope to continue learning from each teammate's unique life experience as we grow. Our culture is tight-knit and we want the engineering team and any new hires to be part of that. For example, recent events included themed virtual happy hours, Netflix watch parties, and stipends for events by location. Last year, we flew all of our remote employees to NY to join us in HQ for a holiday party at the office. We hope that once the world returns to business as usual we can enjoy future events together as well.
Meet us on our team page!
We foster an environment where everyone can speak up and engineers can set their team’s tone.
We have regular weekly meetings to address any concerns or issues internally, and a monthly all-hands meeting the first Wednesday of every month. Shannon, our CEO, values transparency and keeping the team informed. During this meeting, she shares business results for the last month, how conversations are going with investors, and provides an overall status update. Then each department (operations, trainer development, and technology) is given air time to discuss any new features or developments. We also open the floor and anyone can speak up about another team member’s accomplishments. At the end of the meeting, we finish with “teammate delight”, which is part of our internal recognition program and rewarded with a day off.
We are super excited to grow our existing team. We are looking forward to finding people who can help set and align the engineering team’s culture with our current culture. Our team prides itself on a collaborative and open communication style, and we firmly believe that our product and users are more important than the code that is written. When we find the right fit, we want new hires to feel comfortable with being open about their strengths and weaknesses. From there, we can build a team around individual needs and capabilities.
Promotes from Within
We want employees to grow into leadership roles without a large bureaucracy roadblock.
Our founder highly values folks who can start from the ground up, and wants to help others level-up their careers. Once we feel you are a great fit in your role and have a solid track record within the company, we prefer to promote from within. This gives our employees a quick path to leadership roles without all of the large company bureaucracy that often makes it hard to reach the top. For example, Joy started as the 3rd financial trainer in the company. She raised her hand to take on new projects and initiatives and was rewarded for her hard work – she’s now Head of Trainer Academy. As she puts it, “it’s often a myth that there’s a meritocracy in the workplace, but we really do have that here.”
And she’s not alone – Alicia’s career grew to Chief Operating Officer while Caitlin has become Chief Marketing Officer. There’s a huge opportunity for creative self-starters who want to set and own the trajectory for their career growth.
Wears Many Hats
This isn’t a job, it’s a lifestyle – you’ll jump into the deep end.
Being a startup, we value giving our employees the opportunity to gain a wide range of experiences. We believe in a “giving with healthy boundaries mindset,” meaning we value hard work (which sometimes means long hours), but all within reason. We definitely prioritize mental and physical health first and foremost.
We are scaling from a 21 person team to a 50+ person organization and now have two tech products under our belts. One is client-facing and helps our clients better track their spending. The other helps our trainers create financial plans faster and more efficiently. Since gaining so much traction and closing our Series A funding in January, we are ready to fully invest in our technology and develop an app that will carry us through the next stages of our company.
We’re looking for engineers who are excited for the breadth of work that needs to be done and are drawn to our mission of changing the financial services industry as we know it. If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We look forward to meeting you!