Keeping Britain working

Daisy Communications CEO Dave McGinn has introduced a simple philosophy across the eight offices he now oversees, which he's willing to share here with industry friends and competitors for the greater good.

McGinn believes his pet Bengal cat has the loudest purr in the UK and has recorded a sound peak of 89 decibels – nine above the highest recorded - so an appointment with The Guinness Book of Records is in the offing.

As a kick-off to our chat in a central London bistro, McGinn's pride in his deafening feline is an entertaining icebreaker, but we expect nothing less from a man who loves telling a story. His tale links perfectly with his mission to keep Daisy's business purring by loudly declaring a simple philosophy that resonates through his fast-growing organisation: Keeping Britain working.

He believes our industry should be making some noise about how technology can help customers grow, create employment and, ergo, bring in more tax revenues for UK plc. Take note, Messrs Sunak and Starmer.

Cue another McGinn story...
"Around 75 years ago, Sir Ludwig Guttman recognised that people with disabilities were not living as long as they should. His mission was to create more taxpayers by reverse engineering disability and giving disabled people the means to improve their fitness and wellbeing. From that basic thought, he founded the Paralympics, and the rest is history.

"What a great way of doing things, reversing paradigms. And that's how we in the UK should be looking at business. How can we, as a country, compete on a worldwide platform? Technology enables you to do that, and it's why we at Daisy came up with a philosophy about keeping Britain working.

"Firstly, we looked at our own employment and wanted to support the government Kickstart scheme. We wanted to help people on universal credit and guide them through a journey. A couple of them successfully navigated that experience and are now on our apprenticeship schemes.

"Then we took on T-level commitments about supporting our local colleges and communities. We went to our local college and asked them how many students were on their two-year T-Level technical course. They said 10 or 11, and we took them all. I met them recently, and they all said they hoped to get a job with us when they finish. On top of that, we've taken on a lot of interns from Sheffield University, some of whom have stayed on in permanent roles.

“That’s what I mean about keeping Britain working. Supporting local communities by offering employment opportunities, creating a dynamic space for these young adults to learn and grow through the chain of command, and in turn, help our customers to adapt with the changing technology.”

McGinn argues that customers can grow by simply being provided with the right technology to work how they want. “Jokingly, I have said people don’t buy connectivity because they love looking at that white box in the corner. They buy connectivity and technology to communicate, grow their businesses, and keep them functioning. We want to ensure resilience in what they do, and when we talk about keeping Britain working, everybody in an organisation understands what that means to them. If a customer calls us and says their connectivity isn’t working, we’re not keeping Britain working. Everyone at Daisy is empowered to make sure customers are connected so they can keep working.”

The company has a three-tier ‘Flight Academy’ management training programme, enabling staff to break through glass ceilings, develop their management skills and progress towards their career ambitions within the business. As well as espousing the keeping Britain working philosophy across the group, McGinn has also introduced a ‘better every day’ culture, with six people employed solely to help staff be better versions of themselves. “It all started when I embarked on and ultimately completed my MBA. How could I tell people to be better every day if I wasn’t prepared to improve myself?”

How can we, as a country, compete on a worldwide platform? Technology enables you to do that, and it's why we at Daisy came up with a philosophy about keeping Britain working

Daisy’s SME division now has 900 employees working in offices in Newcastle, Nelson, Sheffield, Warrington, Birmingham, London, Sidcup and Basildon and manages the comms needs of nearly 200,000 customers. The British Government undervalued the ICT channel's work in keeping Britain working during Covid and continues to do so in the cost-of-living crisis. Maybe politicians should listen more attentively to the big cats in our industry, like Dave McGinn, who have the vision and passion to put technology at the heart of growth.

“The Big Switch Off is a case in point. The government’s not really behind it,” adds McGinn. “When the TV analogue switch-off happened, there was massive advertising by the government, and everyone was ready. It’s down to companies like us to spread the message, but we can only do so much. If every one of our customers opened a message from us about the switch off, that would only be 3% of businesses in the UK. So much more needs to be done.”

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