Kainos update headquarters with brand-new office extension and collaboration space

  • We sat down with Colette Kidd, Chief People Officer, to hear all about how the plans for this new space came to fruition. She also talked to us about their new employee engagement strategy and how this is making many positive changes throughout the business.

    In 2021 following Covid, after a phased return to working in their offices again, Kainos moved to a new hybrid way of working. This heightened the need to review how they used the office from both a cultural and physical perspective. While they were starting to slowly open offices back up, they started a process of consultation with their people. Through this feedback they discovered that one of the main reasons that people came into the office was to collaborate and meet with friends and colleagues. This, in turn was one of the drivers in designing their new spaces. They wanted to give their people greater flexibility about their work location, taking into consideration their own needs, those of their role, team and customers.   

    With growth continuing across the globe Kainos created an office blueprint model based on this feedback that they could roll out across their offices globally. Colette said, “We wanted to create an amazing experience for both colleagues and visitors, a unique place that respects local culture yet expresses its global presence underpinning the Kainos values of co-operative, creative, respectful, honesty and determined. We based our design on four main principles; welcome, work, collaborative and social”

    The new workspaces have been purposefully designed to support the diverse needs of staff to enable them to work to their full potential. This includes quiet spaces, presentation spaces, formal and informal meeting spaces, as well as prayer rooms, quiet spaces and wellbeing areas.

    Colette stated, “Our spaces enable our people to collaborate with each other whether that is in small groups of 1 or 2 people or larger dispersed groups of employees across the globe. Our redesigned offices support every eventuality and have the technology in place to enable this to happen.”

    To create that warm welcome each office exudes the same look and feel starting from reception and extending throughout the entire office. As a result, all staff and visitors are greeted by the front-of-house team who exemplify Kainos’ unique culture immediately as soon as you step through the front door.

    The importance of collaboration is self-evident and breakout spaces have been created to allow a place for teams to get together, share knowledge and innovate. These spaces all have interactive technology to enable cross-team communication which is essential given Kainos’ teams operate worldwide.

    Finally, to promote social connections there are entertainment and break-out spaces to encourage social interaction. Informal chat areas were intentionally included, with coffee shop-style booths to provide a relaxing environment to have fun with colleagues.

    But, Kainos aren’t just stopping here, Colette stated, “Our ambition is to create sustainable workspaces that will promote and support our values and the diverse needs of our workforce. We want to enable our people to become more connected socially with their work colleagues.”

    Kainos is the perfect example of how a company can effectively use employee feedback to create a wonderful place to work by listening to their employees' needs, concerns, and suggestions. Previously undertaken annually, at the start of this year, they made headway with this by implementing a new employee feedback tool, Peakon, that sends a monthly survey to all employees across the globe. Colette stated “After much research, we introduced Peakon to the company which is an intelligent listening platform that allows us to anonymously capture employee feedback about how we can improve the employee experience at Kainos. Peakon gives our people the chance to provide their honest opinion confidentially and regularly, so we can drive change and help build a better workplace”.  

    Colette stresses how important it is to respond to their employees’ needs, not just for them but for their customers and for the overall good of the company. Peakon gives our people the chance to provide their honest opinion confidentially and regularly, so they can drive change and help build a better workplace.”

    Many innovative ideas have been born out of this feedback and Colette is in no doubt there will be many more to come. “Our office blueprint was a direct result of employee feedback, and we also have introduced new policies such as our menopause policy, our reasonable adjustments policy and made amendments to other policies thanks to suggestions from our people.”

    As a result, a global benefits review was conducted resulting in private medical insurance and group income protection being provided to everyone at Kainos from day one of employment. Family leave was also re-evaluated, with maternity and adoption leave being increased to allow employees to spend more time with their families when it is most needed.

    Colette says that communication is key in supporting Kainos’ values of honesty and respect. “We believe in being open and honest with people as we understand that how we communicate feeds into how people perceive our culture as an employer. I consider this an ongoing process as improving our communication is never complete, it’s something we must continue to work at.”

    Kainos operates on a global scale and are the most diverse they have ever been in their entire history, so actively listening to their people and acting on that feedback is vital to their operations. Colette stated, “We want our people to be proud to work for a company that protects the planet, celebrates diversity and creates a sense of community across our global workforce.”  

    It is clear that Kainos value the happiness and wellbeing of their people and are committed to providing an environment that sparks creativity and fosters teamwork. They are working through a phased refurbishment of their offices, with Birmingham and Belfast now complete they plan to complete their Indianapolis space in August, with Toronto and Gdansk completing in November.

    This article appears in the summer edition of Sync NI magazine. To receive a free copy click here

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