Team White Ink had a brilliant night at the Irish News Workplace and Employment Awards 2022 and came home with not 1, but 2 wins for Best Place to Work and Employer for the Future!
BEST PLACE TO WORK
We were delighted to receive this was award which recognises the company that outperforms the competition with unique and special benefits, robust training opportunities for professional development and commitment to employee recognition and appreciation.
Our Winning Entry:
We believe in growing our business from the inside out. Our staff is what sets us apart and drives our success.
We adopt a bottom-up approach to most things within the office. We want all members of staff to feel like they have a voice that will be listened to. In line with this, in 2021 we took a bold step for the company: to shape its future and reward every staff member whose efforts continue to make it successful by becoming an ‘Employee Owned Trust’. After extensive research it became clear this would facilitate the rewards so desired for every member of staff. To name but a few:
- Research shows that employee-owned businesses perform stronger, with employees who are more engaged, committed.
- The EOT model means that future directors of the practice will be determined by leadership skills and talent – not the ability to access funds.
- The EOT model also benefits clients, because every employee has a vested interest in the success of the practice and therefore, their continued work ethos.
Becoming at EOT has reinforced our belief that its success stems from our passionate team. When thinking of the future, this just made sense!
We are a proud teaching practice. This extends from contributions to Belfast’s universities to the growing of talent in our staff. We have a strong ethos of continuous learning, and all staff are encouraged to continually self-develop beyond their profession’s minimum requirements.
We have a practice-wide development and training strategy. In addition to supporting formal external CPD, we also run several in-house training programmes:
- ‘Lunch n’ Learn’ which provides an insight into all technical aspects of practice led by specialists within our team.
- Our BIM team maintains a full record of BIM capability and provides training to students in the form of ‘Revit Teatimes’
- Monthly ‘lessons learned’ events attended by the full team provide the opportunity for staff wide discussions on lessons captured from their work to ensure continuous improvement.
- Monthly book clubs to provide an informal forum for discussion on relevant matters within the industry.
We encourage in-house experts in various aspects including staff with qualifications in Passiv-Haus design, ICE CLCM construction law certificate and we encourage and pay for additional training and development.
Staff wellbeing is central to the values and success of White Ink Architects. To ensure we targeted the correct areas we encouraged a staff lead initiative to form our wellbeing strategy. A staff survey and subsequent workshops guided a collaborative and holistic approach to our wellbeing strategy – encompassing financial, social, physical and mental wellbeing to be addressed at primary, secondary and tertiary levels. By targeting wellbeing at 3 different levels of intervention, we aim to ensure topics are addressed at high-level strategy, secondary interventions and with light-hearted, spur of the moment touches that make staff feel appreciated and valued.
Wellbeing is well established within our company policies. We believe transparency, engagement and empowerment builds trust. We value and listen to our team.
Our Annual ‘Feel good February’ focuses on the 4 pillars of wellbeing through a range of activities and events. ‘The 28 day fitness challenges’ throughout the year encourage physical wellbeing – bringing out comradery with a competitive edge! Light touches including office walks, Friday treats and daily tea times provide an extra boost when needed!
Monday ‘Pow Wows’ set the tone for the week and ensure that staff feel connected with others outside their teams. Twice daily tea times bring everyone together in the canteen or online as part of our hybrid working scheme.
All staff have been trained and received a profile with the HBDI Whole Brain Thinking Model. This model is used to understand each person’s thinking, communicating and decision making preferences, both day to day and when under pressure. As each staff member now has an understanding of themselves and their thinking styles, it has led to greater understanding and of others and has boosted wellbeing, connectivity and appreciation of the team.
We also provide office-wide health benefits for our staff including the use of Aviva Digicare + workplace app which provides access to tools including clinically trained therapists, online GP services and annual health checks.
As a direct result of the efforts from the whole team to provide a rich office culture and culture of learning, three big client focused themes set us apart and clearly demonstrate that our dedicated empowerment and staff improvement strategy benefit the business of White Ink.
- Design and Delivery – We get things done. Our clients trust use because we always keep them right. Harnessing the efforts of our CPD we strike a balance between design integrity and technical execution bridging the gap often left in the construction industry. Our attention to detail is renowned because we relish the challenge of solving difficult problems without sacrificing quality.
- Efficiency – We use innovative thinking to bring projects in on budget. Fuelled by our curiosity, design ability and technical knowledge, our forensic approach identifies areas where we can add value without impacting on quality or compromising the design vision.
- Humanity – We listen to clients carefully and respond relevantly. We work in a way that makes the lives of the people we work with easier. Understanding how people think, work and live is fundamental to our entire approach.
So far our 2021-22 efforts have seen us achieve the following:
- £217 Million construction Value delivered in 2021 including 191 new homes and 642 new hotel rooms.
- £396 Million construction value of projects still ‘on the drawing board’
- Promote 3 Associates
- Employ 5 new full-time staff
- 39% of our Architects are female (UK Average 29.6%)
- Become an EOT to safeguard our future
- Raise over £2000 in charitable donations and donate 500kg of food.
- Plant 244 trees as part of our ’28 Day Fitness Challenge’
EMPLOYER FOR THE FUTURE
The Employer for the Future Award sought to reward the company that future proofed its business, introduced robust processes to harness the talents of its staff to ensure success in the continually evolving business, economic and regulatory environment.
Following our move to become an Employee Owned company together continuous efforts of staff to maintain a teaching, development and wellbeing programme this was a special award to win!