Triple Bottom Line
January 21, 2020
by Nathan Farrugia - CEO at Shireburn Software
2020 is a big year for Shireburn as our strategies for the next few years will shape the way we do business, the way our people grow and how our clients run their own processes using our tools. We’re pleased that the recent strategic decisions to build the innovative Indigo payroll has proven, by virtue of the 80,000 employees on board, to have been a good investment. It is easy to continue to push the boundaries of technology, but then our Business Suit is still extremely popular and adding huge value to our clients. Changing something that works is justified by ‘future-proofing’ but it needs careful consideration. So where next for us?
In our 2019 strategic exploration, it became clear that we need to focus on two main strategies going forwards – customer acquisition through new products and integrations, and financial sustainability through organisational restructuring with a focus on value-added across all areas of the business. Both lead us to a common purpose that is reflected in our ’triple bottom line’ approach to business. Profits, People, Planet.
Our Profitability is moving in the right direction, following 4 years of ploughing back the profits into the new products and growing the team from 35 to 65. We have kept our prices relatively low and focussed on increasing market share, with increased productivity and efficiency to support the first bottom line. Both our cloud-based Indigo Suite and our Business Suite are product leaders in their respective markets but need to continuously evolve to stay relevant. Our recent increase in subscriptions has put a load on our system which meant we have made significant upgrades that will benefit our clients in the coming weeks.
Our People strategy is not only about growth in numbers but in skills and maturity. We are proud to have one of the lowest turnover rates in our market, with the only people leaving being the people that have become so successful they have hit a hierarchical ceiling. This has driven us to create greater autonomy in our structure. Our goal is to arrive to a point where the limiting factor to your growth at Shireburn is your own ability and commitment within the constraint of the business pace. We have invested a significant % of our turnover in training & development, but the most effective learning comes from doing. Everyone is given the space to experiment and fail forwards, learning through trial and error. This makes it much faster, although quite messy at times. We have one rule which applies: “you can make as many mistakes as you need to through experimentation, but you can’t make the same mistake twice!” To innovate we need to break stuff and as long as we do this with purpose, not carelessness, then we are going to disrupt and move forward. If we make repeated mistakes, then something is very wrong as we are clearly not learning. This autonomy has allowed us to outpace our competition. For example; recent changes in legislation meant that the team spent the Christmas holidays re-engineering our system in time for January payroll, and we were the only company in the country to hit that deadline – everyone else has to recalculate retrospectively.
People also includes our employees’ families, and our new Flexi-working methods, remote access and extra leave are helping ensure our team synchronises work with life in a good way. People is also about our customers, so we have put extra effort (at considerable expense) to build a customer support system, automated ticketing, testing and documentation programme that will continue to speed up our resolution times. Our average resolution time is around 120 minutes, so that already pretty amazing; but we will always strive to do better. Finally, our clients need to know that they are in the safest possible hands, so our commitment to ISO certification and state-of-the-art encryption and cybersecurity measures gives them the reassurance they need.
Our third bottom line is all about our impact on the Planet. Last year we “saved” over 100 mature trees by potentially saving 70,000 employees from printing payslips by using our online portal. We encourage all our clients to avoid printing payslips and other employment-related forms wherever possible. We also encourage everyone to avoid printing cheques and use digital transactions where possible. Our goal is to be able to support all our clients in their environmental goals and ‘goal zero’ is no paper use through this digitisation. We also support a range of local nonprofit and social impact organisations, either with funding, our product or expertise in kind. Our team regularly volunteers when we have the opportunity. We are also taking closer looks at our supply chain and will be very careful in choosing our suppliers based on their own green credentials.
Shireburn team is ready to take the next step. Celebrating 36 years of business success and drawing on that huge goodwill and experience to launch the new growth phase over the coming years. 2020 will be all about setting the scene and ensuring we have everything in place to sustain future growth. This means ensuring our current products are best in class, so we can then scale on solid foundations.
What is for sure is that we will continue to focus on that triple bottom line as our benchmark for success. It is what drives us to ensure that we stay relevant and make a positive impact on the community at large.