Let’s go back to 1997, in the small coastal town of Tenby in west Wales, where the first iteration of Merit Payroll is being worked on by a team of five.
The temporary recruitment market has increasingly complex payroll requirements, and no software has the functionality needed to properly serve the needs of agencies.
The gap in the market is obvious and the team at Clayton Associates, as Merit was known as at the time, is ready to fill it.
Developed on MS DOS, this simple but powerful piece of software quickly gained popularity in the recruitment industry. By 2000, the system made the leap to the increasingly popular Microsoft Windows operating system, where the software wouldn’t be held back by technical limitations.
In that small, modest office in 1997, none of the team had any idea that in 2022 we would this month be celebrating our 25th anniversary.
While still heavily focused on the temporary recruitment market, Merit is now also the leading payroll software provider in the umbrella industry after being first to market in 2007, with a dedicated online division and a SaaS business model.
Through huge legislative shifts in our market, financial crashes, and a once in a lifetime pandemic, Merit has consistently moved with the times and adapted to new challenges and requirements.
Nobody could claim that running a successful company for 25 years is an easy task, but we’ve always tried to keep things simple, and that ultimately has been the key ingredient to our winning formula.
We develop software that meets the exact needs of our customers, always talk to them about their specific requirements, and ensure that we’re first to move with the ever-changing landscape of our industry.
This approach as a software partner who helps our customers grow, rather than a simple software provider, means that some of customers have stayed with us from the very start.
One example of this is Robert Walters. Chris Hicks, Head of UK Contract Payroll, says: “Having Used Merit since 1997, we have found the payroll system to be very user friendly, flexible and reliable, and is ideally suited to the requirements of our business.
“The support service is second to none, and can always be relied upon to resolve any query or problem regardless of the lateness of the hour.
“We have also often asked for alterations or additions to the system, which have been seamlessly applied in a timely manner. I would have no hesitation in recommending Merit to any potential client that requires an adaptable, reliable payroll system.”
But of course, this commitment to partnering with our customers wouldn’t be possible without a dedicated and talented team behind the scenes.
Since moving to our current office in 2002 on the Neyland Marina, the team has grown to nearly 50 members of staff – some of whom have been with us since the earliest days of Merit.
We attract the brightest minds locally and invest in them heavily which, combined with a wealth of knowledge from the longest serving members of staff, results in a team who are always pushing the company forward.
Culture is a big focus for us as Sam Radion, Sales Director, explains: “When I first joined Merit in 2008 I soon came to see that a big part of the culture at Merit is looking at the company and constantly reviewing how things can be done better.
“This has led to continuous improvements in staff retention and training as well as new products continually being worked on and launched when ready. Currently there are three major projects happening in the background, with launches planned right up until 2027.”
Reflecting on the myriad of achievements of the last 25 years, Ben Noden, Managing Director, says: “When you look at the humble beginnings of the company, to where it’s grown to now, it’s really incredible to see the journey so far. I’m really proud of what all members of the Merit team, both past and present, have built over the last 25 years.
“As we expand and evolve our SaaS offerings, I see that we are entering another chapter of the Merit story, and when we stop to look back at our history like this, it’s clear to me those are always the most exciting of times.
“What I’m really taking away from this milestone event is that no matter how the industry and technology changes over time, the core ethos of the company remains the same. We always have a hard working, friendly and close-knit team who work together to deliver the most important goals, and that ultimately is our greatest achievement.
“So I just want to say a big thank you to the Merit team, our loyal and supportive customers, and everyone who has been a part of the Merit journey so far in any form.”