Revolut article in WIRED today - not good PR!


#1

Revolut insiders reveal the human cost of a fintech unicorn’s wild rise


#2

Sounds a tough place to work.


#3

Primarily, it starts with their CEO Nikolay [Storonsky] being very vocal about their mentality, that if you do a 9-5 [workday] it won’t work out

It is far more effective to measure workers on their output, not on their input (number of hours spent in the office). Some people work efficiently with excellent time management and can achieve in a 5-hour day what the next worker will achieve in a 10-hour day. Measuring the hours spent in the office rewards the inefficient worker and doesn’t reward the efficient worker.

I work in the same industry, and I see plenty of people who work inefficiently, spending a disproportionate amount of time on time-consuming tasks with little benefit, and they work 10-hour days being unproductive.

On the only occasion that I’ve visited Revolut’s offices, there seemed to be plenty of workers hanging around who were not participating in the evening event, but doing very little and giving the impression that they couldn’t go home for fear of creating a bad impression to management.

I notice that Revolut advertises “Free dinners with Deliveroo” on all its job adverts, which suggests that working in the evening is the norm, not the exception.


#4

Great comment, NFH. I was going to add something along the same lines but you’ve summed it up perfectly.

It does seem odd that this far into the 21st century, employees are still judged primarily on input rather than output. I know that for some jobs it’s hard to define exactly what ‘output’ would constitute and for others (e.g. software development) you could end up with bogus metrics that actually make the output worse (e.g. #lines of code produced). Having said that, I still think that presenteeism is the predominant attitude in most white collar workplaces and I don’t see this changing any time soon.

Also, if someone is smart and productive, so that they’re able to structure their workflow in a much more optimal way or get things done quicker than their co-workers, this might not be obvious to their managers as they could assume that it was simply an easier task that you worked on (e.g. doing something in Excel in 5 mins that could take someone else over an hour).

We’ve got AI supposedly just around the corner but still have relatively industrial models of work and education.


#5

The problem is that many companies won’t reward efficient workers. If one finish the same task earlier than someone else he will get more tasks instead and that’s why it’s very common to be inefficient. Inefficiency reduces stress and work and it’s the best way to avoid a burnout :smile:

Also a view worth https://www.sagepeople.com/about-us/news-hub/creating-culture-working-less-boost-productivity/


#6

@Pangolin, everything you say is spot on. The only scenario where I see presenteeism being diminished is where working from home is accepted as an everyday (or every week) part of the culture. Employers that allow working from home on a regular basis tend to find that staff are more productive. For example, when I work from home, I might work 7am to 7pm London time, overlapping with the Far East in the morning and overlapping a lot with New York in the evening, but I spend a lot of time doing personal stuff in-between. Working efficiently, I get all my work done in less than half of that 12-hour day. And as I’m not in the office, I know that I’m being measured only on my output, not at all on my input, so I make sure I’m even more productive, efficient and responsive.


#7

Well, the authors of a book published 2007 concluded that this actually might result as well in stress, in something they’ve called boreout. Ironically a situation that shows very similar physical symptoms like burneout.


#8

That’s true, and the reason why this whole system need to be changed :smile:


#9

This is a true story. I was paying my cleaner £10 per hour and it took her 4 hours to clean my flat. She became pregnant and introduced her friend to take over the cleaning, who charges £12 per hour but it takes her 3 hours to clean my flat. The new cleaner is more professional and cleans better than the previous one. I prefer to pay £36 for 3 hours with a better result than £40 for 4 hours previously. But if Revolut was making the choice, they would prefer the previous cleaner who charges less per hour and works longer hours.


#10

Many business owners are not ready to changes, sadly. Some of them say that “new generation” dont want to work anymore. I believe its not true. Millennials want to work, but they want to do it different - with more effectiveness, less hours etc. If you think how much time we spend in work, its completely crazy. If you work all the time, when do you live? :frowning:


#11

Employees in the UK are allowed to opt out of the maximum 48-hour working week that is imposed by Regulation 4 of the Working Time Regulations 1998 and Article 6 of Directive 2003/88/EC.

It’s usually in a worker’s interests to opt out only if they are paid by the hour and not by workers on a fixed salary with unpaid overtime. I wonder whether Revolut pressures its employees to opt out. Some employers even try to include an opt-out within their employment contract, although I don’t believe this is enforceable.


#12

Nothing new here. It is common that people come to work and basically pretend like they are working. Doing something unnecessary. People who really work get more work often, but payslip doesn’t reflect that most of the time.


#13

This article completely changed my attitude towards Revolut. I will now look for an alternative service and cancel my Revolut account.


#14

You’re right. I am doing the same.


#15

I think this is all blown out of proportion.

Employment is a consensual relationship between an employer and an employee. Any employee is going to be held to a standard that they must meet an output.

Revolut has said people are below target, remember that Nikolay is Russian and such will have different culturally inspired beliefs on what people should do when behind their targets.

For him it is likely completely normal and expected that people should work weekends, to catch up on their missed targets.

For what it’s worth, I think it’s entirely fine for Revolut to fire people on these grounds. If you don’t meet your target and you’re not even willing to work in your own time to meet them, why are you working there? You’re clearly not cut out for the job.

May I further add that workplace environment is extremely Darwinian, if its an unacceptable environment that simply doesn’t work, one of the following will happen.

  • Revolut won’t be able to find staff
  • Revolut will have to pay 6 digit figures to all staff to avoid a walkout for the mass responsibility placed on them. This will bankrupt them!

Anyone leaving Revolut due to practices that really aren’t an issue though, should perhaps think twice. You will not get an alternative service that let’s you actually hold over 20 currencies. Nor one that you can use across the entirety of the EEA and Switzerland, with such favourable exchange rates.

Nevertheless to those who are leaving us, I wish you the best of luck in your fintech journey!


#16

Stop defending, it is a shitty behaviour towards employees and you know it.

An employee almost always is the weaker part, that does not give the stronger employer the right to abuse.

Revolut will always be able to find new young inexperienced people with bills to pay and an empty wallet who will jump at a chanse of a job but is it good business practise to do so just because they can? No.

This article is the canary bird in the mine, unless things change this WILL cause damage to :r:

I liked :r: before but lately there has been little positive and now shocking negative information. Will keep the account but daily spendings will be on other cards until :r: gets back into positive news and vibe.


#17

The problem here is that one of the targets is input (hours spent in the office), which is not an valid indicator of performance. Only output (i.e. what the worker actually achieves) is a valid indicator of performance.


#18

This is simply wrong though. It clearly says from the article I read that there is no clock-watching culture and as long as you reach your goal no one cares.


#19

Wrong. The employee can quit.

Revolut are a startup with a startup culture and will pay you enough that you can save money and leave the job, if you don’t like it.


#20

This is nowhere mentioned in an article I am aware of. I am paraphrasing, but it was reported that management noted that even after not meeting performance targets, product owners still would not show up on weekends.