Naehma – I used to work for a competitor, so it’s very different. I heard from a lot of people that first direct was the best place to sort of…build a career.
Johnny – I came from a plastering background, so it’s kind of completely different, workmen on site and stuff like that, so i really didn’t know what to expect really, I just know…that if somebody’s kind of on the same kind of track as myself, just give it a go, give it a go . We have snowball fights all the time, just little, little spongy balls and you throw them, have a bit of a get up for everyone. I remember doing archery…at a bank! You don’t do it! We’ve done archery before, they’re always doing fun things like that, it’s not…we do work really hard, but there is also, if you work hard, again, they reward you. You get customers, just calling up just to wish us a happy Christmas…
Naehma – I know, that is crazy.
Johnny – I mean where else are you going to get that?
Naehma – Your customers have got that relationship with the bank, and that’s just…that’s amazing. You don’t get that at other places and when they say how much they love banking with first direct, it makes you so proud to be a part of it, you want to be a part of it and now, being here, I know why I want to be a part of it, because it’s so amazing. Passion is what makes first direct I think, because when you’re walking round and look at the people here, they all are passionate about what they do, they want to do the best for the customer, it’s not because their manager is telling them, that’s what they’re here to do, they want that, it’s drive it’s passion, it’s what you have inside you that makes you want to come to work and to deliver the best service, because nobody else can teach you to do that. That’s what you have, that’s what you have naturally and that’s what first direct are looking for I think.
Adele – When you first come into the call centre and see all the experienced reps on the phone and they’re taking all their calls, you think ‘I’m never going to be able to do this’ but the minute you sit and you’ve got that headset and there’s always someone there supporting you the whole time, taking that first call is the most nervous thing you’ll do, but once you’ve done it is the best feeling ever. Knowing that you can actually do that, and enjoy it at the same time.
Kathryn – Even for me after 19 years, I still get that same feeling coming into this building that…I love coming in. When I see the building and it’s black and white, and I come in… I get that sense that…I love being here.
Fiona – You work hard and you play hard and playing is the best part, it’s amazing and we do lots of things. We dress up in our team, we have events that come to first direct, we have toboggans and it’s just such good fun, every day is play day!
Sarah – We have a team of colleagues who work on internal events, so they’ll do lots of fun things, they’ll do awards ceremonies…they’ll have fun fairs out in the car park, we have a lady who deals with careers, internal careers and developing yourself at work.
Fiona – Concierge!
Sarah – The concierge, she goes shopping, which may sound an easy thing to do, but there’s times especially at Christmas she can have nearly 80 requests to go out and go shopping. She’ll do all sorts of things and then of course there’s myself dealing with Sports and Social. I have to be honest; I think if Willy Wonka owned a bank, it would be first direct because it’s a crazy place to work!
Fiona – And Willy Wonka was in the bank wasn’t he?!
Sarah – He was, yes. We did a competition, where there were chocolate bars and I think you won a golden ticket.
Fiona – I did, I won that!
Sarah – What did you win?
Fiona – A 64 gig I-Pad, wow!
Sarah – High five!
Fiona – And first direct is all about family.
Sarah – Yes.
Fiona – And as I say I came because of the nursery, not realising that my wee girl would be brought into my work in a way that you couldn’t believe. There are pantomime tickets, things like that, my wee girl loves that.
Sarah – And then you see them grow, and the next minute they’re at one of your concerts going to see Pink or Lady Gaga and you think ‘I remember you when you were at the pantomime and you were only that big!’ so they kind of grow up with the culture here as well, as well as their parents working here.
Chris – Always on for me is just always being there, being responsive, being one step ahead and just being the best you can be for the customer every single time.
Yasir – Always on for me is if you’re…are always looking at improving yourselves and giving the best output you can give, you always generate the ‘wow factor’.
Chris – We offer a 24/7 service to our customers, we offer a 24/7 service to our people so we have a gym on site that is 24/7. I’ve done it myself, gone on the treadmill at 4am in the morning, it’s a very unique experience, but you can guarantee you’ll get a space in the gym. We’ll be there to take them through training on the phones and give them one on one support. We won’t send anyone out not feeling comfortable. What we’d expect from them is, just their own personality. It’s all about bringing a unique service to our customers and that’s what we’d want from our guys coming on-board. Family
Bev – There are lots of barriers to lots of working families, because, childcare is a big issue. It’s very, very expensive and it’s very inconvenient, but the fact the nursery is onsite here at first direct, it’s fantastic, it’s very convenient. It’s a win win situation really for first direct and for our employees.
Nikki – And I started at the nursery here. My mum used to work here, so that’s one of the things that drew me here and so I’ve kind of grown up at first direct, which is crazy, no one can believe it!
Bev – Yeah, I mean family is really important to me, not just because of what you think is childcare, but you know, a few years ago my daughter was critically ill and the support not just physically but emotionally and practically from first direct was amazing, and actually you can’t put a price on that.
Carly – My grandma always says ‘I’ve never known a business like it!’ that is her comment whenever I tell her what we’re doing at work or whatever’s going on. That’s her phrase, she says it every time!
Andy – We always try and stay innovative and try and do different things and think of different ways which you could access your money and interact with your bank, whether it’s through your phone, through an app, or whether it’s, you know, different levels of online banking… and just seeing things differently I suppose and thinking outside the box, thinking outside the norm.
Carly – We like to consider ourselves the human bank.
Andy - Yeah