It is often the large organisations that gain profile coverage of their efforts to create good working conditions and increase women or any other sector into the team. However out of the Est 1.2M SME’s with employees in the UK 71% are classified as Family Businesses. The statistic may relate to how many of the staff or board are or were related by blood but the trend in those companies when compared to the large firms (over 250 employees) is to promote an ethos that sees low staff turnover and very low sickness rates. This would suggest larger firms could reflect from the mentality these SME’s develop.

Morning Data has 23 staff, and is currently expanding both is rural Dorset Development centre and its London Business Centre.

The Managing Director, Kirstin, daughter of the founder Dr Market Cropper took over in 2006 a small £300k turnover company, with no specific strategy to grow the business past the 4 clients and 4 staff at that time. Kirstin revised the strategy during the financial crisis of 2008 and in 2009 looked to drive the company forward to meet a market need. Kirstin has grown T/O by 20% year on year for last 5 years. MDL operates in a niche market, supplying software to the Lloyd’s of London insurance broker & MGA market, made up of only 300 companies. This means that the company does not have all the luxury of diversification and regional expansion without changing fundamentally what it offers.

The balance of the right working environment and the requirement to maximise profit have long since been at odds, and here we enjoy an environment which is focussed on Clients and staff in equal measure.

In 2016 year we returned a 20% net profit yet whilst striving to ensure every employee male or female has flexible hours, support for hobbies & sabbaticals, and an environment that is more than just a place to work, both tangibly and emotionally.

The Dev centre in Dorset has breakout social rooms, space to enjoy without piling in desks per square foot. It is located in a beautiful rural location, and lunch times we will often see members of the team wander off around the roads for a walk, even feeding the local animal life, including our adopted local Donkey!

Kirstin set up the “Health and Well being” top up to our salary to fund Gym membership, Pilates classes or pairs of walking boots, whatever gets us active as IT is notorious for a sedentary life style. The options are tailored to the individual whether is it support to buy a bike, or a National Trust pass for hiking we are encouraged to think outside the box.

We’re supported on own educational program, this starts with the required Cii Insurance Exams to bring the whole team – developers, support staff and Client services, to a level of knowledge in our Clients business not just ours. Once completed we are then consulted to develop a pathway for continuous learning in our area of expertise and interest both professionally and personally. For many of these we are rewarded financially on exam completion.

The make of the team is relatively divers given the market and location in which we operate. The age range is 18 to 76, 40% of the team are female, and even Support team are fully trained to provide Technical support in our product, expanding hteir skills from Administrtion to Technical. 50% of these women are at Management level and the Management Team itself is 50% female the Board 30% (board of 3!) The Management Team is 50% female including the OpsMgr and DevMgr, & myself who’s also the Board Co Secretary. The salary gap between lowest and highest paid employee is just £30k. The whole team is 45% female, some have what the world labels as educational needs Asperges, as well as conditions such as depression, rife in the IT industry etc, in fact those with such labels often just bring new styles of working and thinking to the table. Kirstin always offers students work experience & just landed a gamechanger year, securing a £1.5m 4 year contract, and now we are turning our attentions to the next one.

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