The secret to hiring big thinkers in your business? Building values that resonate

All businesses are looking for the best talent to help achieve their goals. But when you have employees with an entrepreneurial mindset, you’ll find that it’s not only a case of getting the work done, but also going on to achieve even bigger and better things for your customers.

We often joke that our founders are entrepreneurs with a UK banking license – helping other business owners realise their ambitions. OakNorth exists to remove the same barriers they faced a few years ago –access to fast and expert financing from a bank that understands success.

Because of this mindset we’ve been able to get to the heart of all kinds of interesting and innovative businesses and meet some incredibly inspiring people. But, we can only do this if we all think like determined business owners too.

We’re all entrepreneurs at OakNorth, not just because we have skin in the game when it comes to our own success, but because only when we think like a high growth business, we can help one.

Promoting an entrepreneurial mindset across your teams can help your business become more open minded to failure, innovative with tech and agile with growth and structure. At OakNorth, we have a set of values that we use to guide our business and we’re constantly referring back to them.

This reinforcement helps keep us accountable and on the right path towards our true mission – to empower Britain’s business ambitions by breaking down financial barriers. Here’s how our values help create the kind of working environment that will help attract entrepreneurial thinkers. 

A one-team mentality

Having the strongest individual team members can be of little use if there isn’t a team mentality drawing them all together. We don’t consider ourselves to be part of teams in different departments, but rather one big team that is all working towards the same goal. We foster this sense of unity throughout our whole business so that we can bring about positive outcomes together.

Individuals with an entrepreneurial mindset know that you will go further by working as a team and making the best use of the skills around you. Caring about each other and each other’s work will take you so much further than working as individuals, and allow you to grow together.  Not having this bigger picture thinking and not acting as a team player will actually be counterproductive to you achieving your goals, which is why it’s so important to build your team with the right mentality to get you to where you want to be.

Constant growth ambitions

The best teams not only want to work to meet their job requirements, but to exceed expectations and to continually grow. Ambitious goals are what takes companies from good to great, and is a huge part of how we approach moving forward at OakNorth.

Entrepreneurial thinkers can help drive you towards that next level of growth. These types of employees often have innovative ideas and naturally want to excel in their job, which will all contribute to the company performing better as a whole. We take the approach of thinking better is good, but ten times better is great. 

One of our values is ‘10x’ – to do ten times better than what we currently do, wherever we can. Having ambitious goals is how we keep propelling ourselves forward, and we’re certainly helped in this goal by having entrepreneurial individuals as part of our team. Whether it’s reaching 10x more customers or creating an application process that’s 10x faster, this desire to reach these ambitious goals helps us to continue to attract other entrepreneurial individuals to join our team.

Zero basing for progression

Entrepreneurs don’t only think of the ways in which we can grow, but also potential blockers along the way. The test of a good business and its strong employees will be how they can adapt when things aren’t working, and sometimes the way to move forward can be taking things back to square one. Even when things are working well, the ability to bring things back to the beginning can help you to grow even further.

We use the idea of taking things back to zero base, where we start from scratch to find the best solutions and improve our efforts to the next level. Reducing things to their simplest form can help give you a clean slate to see the best solution easily. Entrepreneurial thinkers are often able to identify a problem, isolate it and find solutions to be able to grow even further. We look for this style of thinking, an ability to stay calm under pressure and to find resolutions to problems when you need them to then lead the business when times aren’t difficult. This is why we think consistently using zero base is a great tool for employees to be using at any time.

The power of momentum – from failing forward to continuous growth

You want people with desire to grow within your company to help propel and inspire others around them to achieve your goals. We’ve found that you need people that aren’t just going to get the job done, but go above and beyond to accomplish ambitious targets. This is also the kind of environment that generates trust between its workforce, and builds the confidence to try new things even if you could fail, as it’s through the failures we’ll learn and continue to drive the momentum forwards.

We stand by our value of momentum to allow us to make decisions and progress at pace. Without momentum driving your team forwards, you can lag behind in all areas of a business; from not conceptualising new original ideas, being unable to execute your plans quickly and even missing opportunities if you’re not able to act fast enough to take them. Entrepreneurial thinkers understand the importance of continuing to work at pace to take advantage of all opportunities, and having lots of staff with this mentality will take you to new, higher achievements. So even if you fail along the way, you can fail forwards the initial momentum and what you learned along the way will help you to continue to progress.


Entrepreneurial individuals are invaluable members of staff to have in your team. Having this kind of talent will continue to attract the brightest and best to your company and build a reputation and word of mouth recommendations which is priceless, as the talented bring other talented people they know through referrals.

Attracting this entrepreneurial talent will set a ball rolling for you and will continue to make your team better. As our Head of Legal & Transaction Management, Ben Wulwik says, ‘if people live these values, it builds on everything we do’, and if we’re able to build a team with sound foundations and a strong sense of commitment to company values, then great prospects lie ahead.

From engineering to marketing, to legal and HR, we want the brightest and best across all our departments. If this sounds like the kind of team you’d like to be a part of, you can find our current vacancies on our Careers hub. And if this sounds like the type of business you want to help you realise your own ambitious goals, find out how we can support with expert financing.

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