In the spotlight: Peppermint Technology
- Date Published
SEP recently published its 2022 ESG report. The portfolio company with the highest overall ESG performance score for the second consecutive year was Peppermint Technology, an innovative cloud software company providing a range of applications to leading law firms. A key factor in achieving top performer status was a strong performance across all three categories of the SEP responsible investment framework (governance, culture, and society), demonstrating commitment to excellence in all its ESG practices and policies.
Peppermint, led by chief executive Gary Young, is a rapidly expanding leader in the UK legal software market, serving a growing number of the top 200 UK law firms and with plans to double UK market share in the next few years. It has also established a foothold in North America as part of its ambitious growth strategy.
Gary says that embedding strong governance and robust ESG practices across its entire operation is key to maintaining the trust of its law firm clients, for whom customer data integrity, security and privacy are of paramount importance.
Peppermint, which already had Cyber Essentials accreditation, has continued to raise the bar in this area, gaining ISO 270001, an audited international standard that defines the requirements of an information security management system (ISMS). To gain accreditation, companies must demonstrate the effectiveness of policies, procedures, and processes to manage information risks such as cyber-attacks, hacks, data leaks and theft.
“Our entire operation went through a nine month, very rigorous, two-stage independent audit to obtain ISO 270001.” says Gary. “The auditor was pleasantly surprised that we were already in very good shape, with no major gaps in our information security systems. It’s testament to not just our leadership team but to everyone in the company.”
Peppermint has Microsoft Gold partner status and was recently recognised as a finalist for UK Partner of the Year for 2022, a mark of trust in the business.
“Our trusted partner status is absolutely key to our clients and to their customers.”
Peppermint’s legal software platform sits within the Microsoft technology ‘stack’ which brings additional benefits in terms of environmental impact as Microsoft is committed to becoming a carbon negative and zero waste business by 2030.
“Peppermint itself has a relatively low carbon footprint, all our software is in the cloud. We also have a lot of software hosted with partners like Microsoft which are world class organisations with ambitious ESG agendas.”
Processes are only as good as the calibre of people responsible for them. Attracting and retaining top talent has been a major focus since Gary became CEO four years ago. “The culture of the company has always been high on my agenda, it’s not just something we looked at because of talent wars in the tech sector.”
Peppermint has systematically measured employee engagement in six-monthly surveys for more than four years, using the insights to dramatically reduce what was previously a relatively high rate of staff turnover. These efforts have had enormously beneficial results for Peppermint, with a consistent improvement in engagement scores and a major reduction in turnover.
“We benchmarked turnover against other technology companies of a similar size and our turnover is now regularly below the market average.”
Unusually in the tech sector, which remains generally male-dominated, Peppermint has an almost 50/50 split of male/female employees as well as a 50/50 gender split on its executive board. Senior roles occupied by women include chief financial officer, financial controller, head of people performance, marketing and communications manager, head of product enablement and leaders of our development, QA and customer support teams.
Having access to SEP’s Women in Tech leadership network events is a boon for existing managers as well as up-and-coming female talent. Inculcating a positive and inclusive culture at
Peppermint begins even before day one for new starters, with a well-designed recruitment process, followed by a warm welcome and smooth induction. As the talent war rages, these things can be pivotal in wooing fresh talent.
Maintaining a strong community spirit across the company has been challenging during the pandemic. Peppermint has tackled this with monthly online ‘all-hands’ meetings as well as getting employees together in charitable projects such as sleep-outs to raise money for a homeless charity. ‘We did a sleep-out in Nottingham because we are a Midlands-headquartered company, but homelessness is a global problem we can all help tackle.”
Gary says: “Being a responsible business means looking outwards as well as inwards at ways to make a positive impact. It’s important for our customers, our employees and for the communities we engage with either directly or indirectly.”