Kevin Banthorpe joined us three months ago as Director of Development. It’s very important for us to know how newcomers find it being at Pico, so we decided to ask Kevin a few questions to find out.
1. What made you decide to join Pico?
Michael (Pico’s Talent Acquisition Manager) phoned me about the Director of Development opportunity and his energy and enthusiasm for the business made a great initial impression. The following interview process with Jane, Gary, and Alan (the Board of Directors) was a genuinely enjoyable two-way experience, concluding with Michael showing me around Pico’s newly refurbished office space. Having met some great people with an obvious passion for the company and seeing the fantastic working environment, I was hooked and I went away with a real desire to join the team at Pico.
2. How has it been joining Pico?
Simply put, it’s been great! My first exposure to the Pico Team was prior to officially joining the company when I was invited to join the team at Pico’s 30th Birthday celebration. I came along to the evening event slightly apprehensive, and not knowing anyone, but I needn’t have worried as I quickly got talking to Mark (Project Manager) and Dave (Product Owner) who wasted no time in introducing me to more people that I could possibly ever remember, so much so that by the time Alan (Managing Director) appeared there was no need for him to make any introductions!
The event was really well attended by all departments including what was going to be my team, Development, which once again gave me a good feeling about the culture at Pico. After early evening drinks we made our way through to the dining area for our sit-down meal and the guys at the table made me feel incredibly welcome, and the wine and the conversation flowed. I appreciate that not everyone gets to join a company in the way that I did but what a great way to meet your future colleagues.
Pulling into the carpark on my first day I immediately noticed a long row of EV charging points, not just a token gesture, but a real commitment to Electric Vehicles. This forward-thinking dedication to energy reduction, and the environment, was further evidenced when I heard about the significant contribution to Pico’s electricity use that comes from the array of solar panels on the roof. And I’ve just heard that the charging points are free to use, what a great perk!
I was excited to find that the theme of people and culture was embedded deeply into the company. Before I joined, I’d seen on Pico’s web page that they give people time for “Blue Sky” activities. It was great to see time blocked out in people’s calendars encouraging them to either learn new skills, or work on exciting innovative projects for ideas that they’ve had. This wasn’t just marketing on their web page, this was real and happening!
Another surprise for me upon joining Pico was the flexibility. The company has put in place a flexible and hybrid working model that offers people quite a bit of freedom around where they work and when they work. What surprised me is that amount of people who chose to work in the office more often than the policy requires, simply because they like it, which is a great testament to the company, its people, and the office environment.
I’ve been working through a process of informally chatting to each of the members of the Development Team in what I like to refer to as “skip 1:1’s”. The resounding feedback is that everyone really enjoys working at Pico, they enjoy the nature of the work, the flexibility, and the fact that they can be creative in their work. What also stands out for me is how involved Alan (Managing Director) is in the development activities. He’s very approachable and can frequently be found walking the floor, catching up, and sharing ideas with the Development Team. Having an MD engaged at all levels in the company isn’t something you often see, it’s earnt Alan a lot of respect in Pico’s Development community.
3. What have you enjoyed the most at Pico?
The people! It’s the people and the fact that we have a workforce that is not only highly motivated, but also passionate about the business, and proud of what they do. A happy workforce makes my job so much easier. For me personally, I really like the fact that it’s a mixed discipline team: hardware, software, mechanics, etc. because what really gets me out of bed in the morning is shipping finished products that we’re proud to have developed in all aspects.
4. What are we doing differently compared to other companies?
The key things I have seen that Pico do differently: firstly, there is a real sense of community, and the business has worked hard to make sure there are social events, social networking, food vans, days out, and parties. All of these things contribute to creating a great feeling. Secondly, the investment in people and technology such as the already mentioned “Blue Sky” elements which allows the time for learning, creativity, and innovation. In some companies that would be considered a luxury, but here it’s just built into people’s calendars. Pico have also created a very unique working environment which is not only modern, but it has a great personality to it as well with themes throughout linked to the company’s holiday homes, which incidentally is another great perk of working at Pico.
5. What challenges are you facing as a Director of Development?
The real challenge is that we’re a growing organisation and we need to make sure that, not only are we developing the right products, but also that we’re developing them as efficiently as we possibly can. The other big challenge is attracting new talent to the business, it’s a competitive environment right now, and we have to work hard to bring in the people we need to grow the business.
6. What would you like to change?
Pico has done an incredible job over its 30 years delivering world-class products from a small talented team which has led to a well-recognised and highly respected brand. As the company grows, we need to put a little more framework in place to reduce dependency on some of the founders and long serving members of the business. This framework is going to be key to ensuring that we build an ever-increasing portfolio of world class products that continue to delight our customers.
7. What would you say to others, who are thinking of joining us?
If people are interested in working for a company that has a great community, is flexible, creative, forward-thinking, and that develops market-leading products then Pico is a good place to look. Listen to the employees, everyone I’ve spoken to loves working at Pico!