Oakbrook and Best Places to Work in Tech

6th October 2020

Oakbrook Finance passes the ultimate test to win workplace culture award in the midst of pandemic crisis

A FINTECH firm which passed the “ultimate test” during Covid has won a prestigious national award for the continuing strength of its workplace culture.

Oakbrook Finance had to switch its 140-strong team from being office-based to home-based almost overnight when lockdown was introduced earlier this year.

Now, the company has been recognised as one of the UK’s Best Workplaces in Tech 2020 by the Great Places To Work organisation, which ranks the quality of working environments based on confidential surveys of staff.

Besides its own lending business, Oakbrook develops leading-edge technology solutions which it plans to make available to other financial services companies in the future. Headquartered at Accelerate Places on Wollaton Street, Nottingham, the company says it has long regarded a strong workplace culture as a foundation of the responsiveness its customers look for.

Sarah Marriott, who is Oakbrook’s Chief People Officer, said: “The pandemic has been the ultimate test for so many businesses. Not only has it impacted on the economy, it has also posed a challenge to teams by making staff work apart from each other. This is where the long-term investment we’ve made in people, technology and systems has paid dividends.

“Our approach has always been to give our people all the support and tools they need to be the best they can. The smoothness of our transition to remote working is a real tribute to the commitment of our team and the processes we’ve all put in place.”

The Best Workplaces in Tech award is the latest in a series of accolades given for the support Oakbrook provides for its staff. It has also been recognised as a Great Place To Work UK, a Great Place To Work for Women and for excellence in its approach to staff wellbeing.

Sarah says continuing to invest in people will be critical as the lending industry adapts to new technologies. She explained: “One of the key trends driving the future of lending is Open Banking technologies, which will drive dynamic change and more personalised products.

“To continuously improve those technologies, you need an agile culture where people share a passion for the company’s vision and mission and feel trusted to trial new ideas which drive progress.”

Luke Enock, Oakbrook’s CEO, added: “I’ve long been a supporter of flexible working patterns, having seen how much colleagues value it during my time living and working in Scandinavia.

“The impact of Covid has actually changed working practices in the UK for the better. Given its success, this change is likely to be a permanent one.”

Luke continued: “Our cloud-based technology played a vital role in our overnight transition from office-based to home-based working.

“However, it’s our collaborative working practices and our strong culture that has really been memorable during this period. But the changing role the office will play post-Covid means we won’t rest on our laurels.”

Oakbrook’s ranking means it is one of the best medium-sized tech businesses to work for in the UK. To secure the award, it had to demonstrate an intimate understanding of the importance of trust, collaboration and innovation in achieving organisational goals.

Benedict Gautrey, managing director of Great Places To Work, UK, said: “Especially during these times of crisis and uncertainty, it’s been incredible to see the number of organisations in the UK’s tech space that have prioritised building a positive employee experience.”