Financial Inclusion Innovation

The Situation

Our Client, a trading body specialising in financial inclusion in emerging markets, approached TPN looking for support in appointing a Head of Mobile Money to lead their mobile payments department. This individual would be accountable for owning the vision and strategy for the company’s work on mobile money, ensuring greater scale in the industry and charting opportunity for business model innovations. Setting thought leadership agendas in close consultations with senior industry executives and represent the company at high-profile forums. Leading numerous teams across the globe with a variety of skill sets and agendas including policy & regulations, data & insight, engagements, and technical teams. Pitching for investment with donors, government organisations and stakeholders. 

The Challenge

Challenged with filling a critical position within the company and backfilling the unexpected permanent extension of maternity leave, meant that we had to balance finding the appropriate niche expertise whilst also adhering to businesscritical time frames. The key requirements needed for this position dramatically narrowed the talent pool. We were looking for someone with expert knowledge specifically on financial inclusion from both a payments and telecommunications background, extensive experience across all emerging markets, commercial management experience, a strong understanding of regulations and policy, technical knowledge of payments and most importantly the ability to lead a challenging team as the company looked to evolve the department’s culture. With such niche requirements the opportunity was opened globally with visa sponsorship offered.

Further into the recruitment process it became apparent that amongst the above challenges, a further hindrance to making a successful appointment was the interview process. Numerous long and intense interviews were scheduled, often with 3-4 weeks wait for feedback. Plus, then the added delay as the company looked to identify potential interviewers, reporting lines and a hiring manager. With this came frustration and pressure from candidates as they pursued other opportunities and offers. 

The Solution

Due to such niche requirements TPN mostly relied on its headhunting techniques specialised over 20+ years in executive recruitment. The first and most important step in filling this position was market analysis. Identifying not only potential individuals, but also potential companies that offered either exposure to financial inclusion innovations or experience in emerging markets. Once a potential long list of candidates was identified and approached, we then began to speak with individuals and deep dive into their overall exposure and leadership experience. Assessing their career history against the key requirements of the role. Our second agenda when speaking with candidate was to access cultural fit. Important for every company and hire, but a key focus for this client. As they offered exposure to numerous cultures, policy makers, government organisations and an extremely divers team / presence in the office. This also allowed for us to evaluate candidate interest, particularly for those who were considering relocation. After initial screenings were completed, we were able to offer our client 5 candidate introductions, in which we were confident a successful appointment would be made from.

The Outcome

From those 5 candidates introduced a final offer was made. Here we advocated and negotiated the finer details on behalf of both the client and candidate. Ironing out unexpected cultural difference in package make up such as private tuition fees for the candidate’s children, living allowance, a chauffeur for private and personal use, and international medical cover. We efficiently secured a mutual agreement and offer acceptance. The successful individual has gone on to reshape the department, including the development of a new team focused on FinTech Innovation, the generation of an Innovations Test Lab and an Accelerator Funding Programme. Having quickly built up a specialist network within financial inclusion and emerging markets, plus being able to refer to previous detailed market analysis, we have successfully gone on to place numerous senior positions within the company. Our open and honest approach to working with our client allowed for us to support in the streamlining of our client’s recruitment and interview process. Dramatically reducing the overall time frame from months to weeks and decreasing candidate dropout rates