Lessons from the C-suite: Jonathan Rowe, nCino

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Your organisation’s culture and core values must be authentic

I started out…

As a project manager at IBM. Then I was a professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington when nCino, a cloud-based fintech startup based in the area, approached me about joining the team to lead marketing and recruiting. Over the past nearly seven years it’s been an amazing journey to build the company.

I knew this was the right career path for me when…

I got the chance to be part of a company from the start that was built around amazing people, with a strong and authentic culture.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned along the way…

The importance of hiring the right people. The right knowledge and skills are important in hiring, but the attitude a person brings to the job and to the company is just as important.

My proudest achievement…

Playing a leading role in building our recruitment strategy to successfully hire – and integrate – nearly 600 employees into our culture across the US, the UK, Canada and Australia.

My biggest mistake…

Not realising that nobody sells your company and culture better than you. This is why we then added a recruiting team to our marketing department, so that we could be the ones finding, selling and hiring the great people who we’d be working alongside.

My biggest inspiration…

I get to work with people who are going against the grain, fearlessly challenging the way things have been done and leading change. They inspire me.

Keeping me awake at night right now…

Finding the right talent – this will always keep me awake.

The biggest challenge for organisations over the next five years will be…

The competition for talent will continue to intensify; a reality I hope will push people and organisations to take a harder look at their culture and ask themselves whether it’s something people want to join and be part of.

My advice to businesses competing in this war for talent is to take a cultural inventory of your company’s values, working environment and brand before you turn outward and start asking people to join you.

I need my HR director to…

Be a partner in ensuring the marketing team steers our recruiting efforts and hires in the best way possible for the business. Working closely with members of the marketing team empowers our recruiters to be creative with their search and talent acquisition strategies while also ensuring their overall messaging represents our cultural brand.

It annoys me when HR…

Is siloed into a service function versus an integrated and critical component of overall business strategy.

More HRDs would become CEO if…

They recognised that employees are the most powerful representation of the organisation’s culture. HRDs should ensure their companies’ core values are clearly identified and authentic, and are truly upheld, lived and breathed by all employees and the business.

What I’m reading right now…

The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story by Douglas Preston, about a journalist who goes looking for and eventually discovers what is thought to be the last ‘lost’ city.

My top leadership tip…

Create and maintain core values to drive the leadership team, every employee, and therefore the company forward. By clearly identifying, constantly articulating and faithfully upholding your company’s core values you can build a unique culture that your employees are proud to be part of and share with others.

Jonathan Rowe is chief marketing officer at nCino

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