People Operations Manager George, on his experience at Zopa and his career moves so far.
I studied economics with a focus on microeconomics and game theory
The latter points out people are not rational. So, I took the irrational decision to do a Masters in HR and shift my focus from numbers to people. It was the best decision I’ve ever made – I love what I do.
I worked for a huge range of companies and places before I got to Zopa
I started working in finance for Coca Cola (benefit – unlimited soft drinks) but that wasn’t for me, so I ran a bar (benefit – unlimited drinks) for a few years. After that I moved to London and finished my Master’s. I then started working for the BBC HR Team (benefit – regular free audience tickets and celebrity encounters), moved to a people data and system transformation role at King’s College London (benefit – student discount) and then financial services company Cantor Fitzgerald (benefit – view from my desk) in a similar role. Then almost a year ago I started my role at Zopa (benefit – amazing culture and smart people).
My role isn’t exactly what you’d expect for a typical people professional
I spend my time thinking about how to make our processes more efficient, how we use data in decision making, projects and how everything works within our team and Zopa. What I enjoy the most is how open people are to change and to trying new ways of working.
I work on specific projects with different functions where there is a crossover with HR or where they need insight into people processes. There is always something new and exciting coming up which makes my job really interesting. Everything in business has a people side which is why you can see me everywhere and working closely with every team.
A lot of things that I do have to do with improving ways of working, building relationships and joining up the functions in terms of reporting. Our Risks & Controls for our operational readiness for bank launch keep me on my toes. Apart from that, a lot of the projects I work on are about automating various people related processes (I believe in a world that systems do all our admin), integrating systems for seamless data flows, implementing new systems (for example our new performance management platform Lattice) and also changing how we do our reporting to make sure it’s effective and that it benefits the business in the best way.
My typical day starts with my morning walk
I take the train instead of the tube (by choice) so I get to walk from Fenchurch Street station to the office and I usually take photos of the buildings and the view from London Bridge. I come in, chat with everyone, have a coffee and then go to meetings.
The rest of the afternoon will find me in meetings, talking with different teams and thinking about new ideas and efficiencies we might be able to implement.
The culture here at Zopa is unique and people are happy being at work
As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, it’s important to know that I am accepted as I am, without having to hide parts of my life or my identity. My coming out story is linked with work since while I was at King’s, I felt comfortable enough to start speaking to others about myself more openly since I knew that I would be accepted. Zopa is one of those places too where people embrace their colleagues – and everyone is part of this big and inclusive community.
Zopa’s culture encourages everyone to socialise together regularly. There are lots of opportunities to spend time with our colleagues like in our games room all the events held by the All-In and Wellbeing Clubs and the Friday Company Meetings where we all catch up on the week and start our weekend with a drink.
In my spare time, I like absorbing the culture in London
I like walking around London (I’m still feeling like a tourist), going to galleries, operas… recently I realised my main hobby is trying to find a hobby! I try new things all the time from archery to pottery, from fencing to gong meditation.
I’m inspired by…
Mental health and wellbeing in general are very close to my heart and every time I meet people or hear stories about how they overcame their problems and helped others, I feel inspired and motivated.