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When the founders of Kion began brainstorming ideas for their company, they quickly rallied around a central guiding philosophy:
“The core idea that we had was to make Kion a place that we wanted to work at,” says technical lead Matt Song.
Two years and dozens of new employees later, that principle is still at the center of Kion’s culture, fueling a level of camaraderie, a shared sense of purpose, passion, and fun that’s also made Kion one of the most attractive tech workplaces in the region.
Kion — formerly known as cloudtamer.io — offers cloud governance software, helping companies large and small wrangle sprawling resources in the cloud and ensure they avoid expenses that can quickly balloon into the stratosphere.
Since launching in 2018 the company has attracted big-name clients. The key to that success has been recruiting talent across the company, from product design to solutions delivery to engineering. And that’s been driven by the company’s startup-inspired culture — which has helped Kion stand out in a region heavily populated by straitlaced government and government-related tech jobs.
“Everyone on the team really cares about the work that they’re doing and feels a sense of ownership over it,” senior product designer Tara Urso said. “It’s evident in how they do their work. It’s not just about finding a solution, it’s about finding the best solution and going above and beyond. It speaks to people who are really passionate about what they do.”
Starting out as a pretty small team and growing a lot, we still have that small startup-y culture, even though we’ve grown. I like that a lot. It’s pretty collaborative, and everyone’s willing to jump in and help where needed, and people will often contribute outside of their specific job description.Tara Urso Senior Product Designer
We want cloudtamer.io to be a place that we want to work at. There’s a very big sense of camaraderie in the company. Everyone is very open, everyone is very helpful, not only professionally, but even outside of work. Leadership is always open to new ideas. And they constantly ask employees for feedback.Matt Song Technical Lead
I manage one of our biggest customers. So day in and day out, I’m down there – metaphorically speaking, today of course it’s virtual – on the ground with the customer understanding what their needs are, how to best integrate our solution in the customer environment, and then taking that back home to cloudtamer.io to share with our team who are deep in the code. My role is to advocate for the customer, raise their needs, and work with our team to best arrive at a solution to address those needs.Hasnat Ali Senior Solutions Delivery Manager
What is the internal culture like at Kion?
Learning and on-the-job development are at the heart of the company’s approach. Employees are encouraged to expand on their existing skills and pursue new ones, almost always with direct help from a colleague. Mostly those skills are centered around tech, but it can be pretty unconventional, too — such as an employee-led cooking tutorial on how to make yogurt at home.
And while the company may not pay for you to attend a more formal yogurt-school, it does actively support professional development, from extra room to experiment with tools and features, to tuition reimbursement for outside education. And there’s always someone willing to jump in and help, whether by answering a question on Slack or serving as a mentor.
It’s that kind of support that’s created a culture that’s collegial while also driven, supportive while striving for excellence.
Tell us a little bit about the perks of working at Kion HQ.
You’ve already read about the camaraderie, the team spirit, and the shared passion for building something great. Additional perks include regular lunch-and-learns, the ability to explore any number of interests — everything from new developer skills to Slack channels for car-lovers, plant-lovers, carb.- lovers, and more — and “Innovation Days:” At these quarterly events, employees take a break from their work, and instead team up to develop something truly different, from a homemade smart-mirror to wall art to decorate HQ.
What makes working at Kion unique?
Hasnat Ali, senior solutions delivery manager: “Oh, my god, the caliber of our people: the engineering, delivery, marketing, sales, operations teams – every single person that I get to work with on a daily basis is just amazing.”
Tara Urso, senior product designer: “Everyone on the team really cares about the work that they’re doing and feels a sense of ownership over it. It’s evident in how they do their work. It’s not just about finding a solution, it’s about finding the best solution and going above and beyond and taking the time to really vet different avenues and arrive at the best possible solution. It speaks to people who are really passionate about what they do and not just check in and check out for the day.”
John Lynch, COO: “When we started this organization, we really wanted to be different and an employee-centric company. We didn’t want to approach it as ‘business owners;’ we all had this common vision that we wanted to have the best cloud governance solution out there, but to get there in an enjoyable way. So not just build an amazing product, but make it so everyone can build an amazing career. Ten, 20 years from now, when people look back at Kion, I would love it if everybody could think of it as the best job they ever had or the best work experience we ever had. If we can use that as the crux for making decisions, then we know we’re going in the right direction.”
What you look for in an employee:
The company values excellence and diversity: “We’re not looking for someone who’s a culture-fit but a culture-add: people who are going to bring new perspectives, new culture, and help us expand our culture and add to it,” COO John Lynch says. “It’s very unique to where we are geographically. It helps us attract the great talent that we need.”
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