Long reads

Are you being trampled by a hippo at work?

Kirstie McDermott

Kirstie McDermott

Senior Content Editor, Amply

Many of us know the frustration that can be inherent in the decision-making process at work. It goes something like this: you or your team carefully research a solution to a problem and come up with something that is data-driven, cost-saving or simply really innovative. You are convinced this is the right way to go.

Enter your boss, or a senior leader in the company, who immediately puts the kibosh on your solid, evidence-based idea, and decides their way is the best way. Congratulations, you have just met a HiPPO.

In a workplace context, a HiPPO is an acronym for ‘the highest paid person’s opinion’. The term was coined by author Avinash Kaushik, and it refers to the kind of manager or leader who often tramples all over other people’s ideas, projects or plans, simply because they have the most authority and think they know better.


Leadership naturally comes with authority, as well as long experience in what works. It’s reasonable for leaders to expect they know best. However, ignoring subject matter experts or those team members with specific skills when it comes to decision making can be a mistake.

Take data science as an example; data scientists are in high demand because of the exponential growth of data which businesses are generating. Approximately 328.77 million terabytes of data are created each day, with 181 zettabytes of data predicted to be generated in 2025.

The ability to extract valuable insights from data so that specific evidence-based decisions can be made around improving operations, products, and services, is a key business imperative for most companies. Data scientists can also build predictive models and develop algorithms to automate processes and form a snapshot of what a company needs to do in the future.

One study found that 80% of survey respondents said they relied on data, with 73% using data to make decisions. However, 84% reported that managerial judgement remains a factor when making key decisions.


Constantly being passed over for the opinion of the highest paid person can lead to disengagement and burnout. Gallup’s 2022 State of the Global Workplace Report found that engagement amongst European workers is just 14%––the lowest globally.

Disengagement can lead to you becoming detached from work, not offering good solutions or being proactive––essentially, you check out in the form of ‘quiet quitting’.

It’s not surprising that unfair treatment at work is the leading source of employee disengagement, according to Gallup. It is followed by unmanageable workloads, unclear communication from managers, lack of support from bosses, and unreasonable time pressures.

If you identify with these challenges, a career move could help. A company with a flatter structure or a more collaborative decision-making process can help you progress quicker, own your decisions, projects, and results, and re-engage with a job you love. Below, discover three jobs that are currently hiring, with plenty more to discover on the Finextra Job Board.

Integration Engineer, PayPal, London

The Integration Engineer will be responsible for supporting PayPal’s enterprise merchant base, ensuring the merchant develops and launches a best in class solution to a reasonable timeline. You will interact directly with clients, merchants, partners, and developers to recognise and articulate business requirements and how best to implement PayPal solutions, while adhering to guidelines and company policies.

To be considered for this role, you will need a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience in finance and computer science as well as three or more years of experience with web and mobile technologies including web services, APIs, REST, HTML/HTTP, iOS, Android, and leading web and mobile application frameworks. On top of that, you will know multiple major programming languages (C++, Objective-C, C#, Java, JavaScript, Ruby, Perl, .NET, PHP, Python). Find out more here.

Credit Model Validation Analyst, Monzo, London

Working with the credit risk team, the Credit Model Validation Analyst will be expected to ensure the models Monzo uses are best for customers. As such you will perform independent model validation and make sure the credit risk models are fit for purpose. You will also contribute to improve model risk frameworks including policies, standards, and procedures helping to embed the best practise in business.

To apply, you will need experience in decision science, in-depth knowledge of statistical techniques for management of credit risk, and credit risk management knowledge. Experience using SQL or Python is a bonus. Apply for this job now.

Android Engineer, Starling Bank, London

As a fully digital bank, Starling is looking for engineers that are able to understand and prioritise security when implementing new features, fixing bugs, or making technical improvements across all the layers.

As an Android Engineer you will design, build and release new screens. Testing is also a significant element of this role. Applicants should have experience using Espresso and JUit. This is a hybrid role and as such the new hire can work from its London, Southampton or Cardiff offices. See the full job description here.

Want a new fintech role? Browse the Finextra Job Board to find your perfect fit.

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