Fighting for talent: building people companies to drive business growth

Paul Burrin
Published on 24th May 2017
2 min read

87% of companies recognize the need to focus on their people as they struggle to recruit and retain talent

Sage, a market leader in cloud accounting, HR and People software today announced a new report which reveals that the single greatest challenge for the smaller enterprise as they recruit to build their business is the global skills crisis and associated war for talent.

The research, conducted by Sage People (formerly Fairsail), of over 500 HR leaders in mid-sized companies reveals that despite fast growth ambitions, less than half (47%) of HR leaders are confident that they have the right people in the right place to drive this acceleration. Most (84%) are struggling to recruit the right talent and 70% have issues keeping their best people.

Adam Hale, EVP of Sage People, explains: “Gone are the days where you could simply post a vacancy to a job board and wait for the applicants to come rolling in. The war for talent is fierce. Now, we all must communicate the benefits of our brand and reputation as an employer to attract the best people. But that’s just the start. The best employers grow candidate relationships and deliver great candidate experiences throughout the entire recruitment process. This translates seamlessly into great workforce experiences when they start their jobs and subsequently throughout their employment lifecycle.”

High growth companies are people companies

The research also suggests fast growth companies are performing better than other companies in several areas. Typically, 80% have embraced HR automation versus 53% in lower growth businesses; are more likely to be using people data and analytics for making people decisions (46% v 34%); and have a roadmap in place to address people data shortcomings (92% v 66%). These and other findings show a clear pattern around how fast growth companies or gazelles[1], enable and harness the power of their people. Our survey shows that these companies are highly likely to be evolving “people companies”, organizations that recognize the value of their people and see them as more than just a replaceable resource or human capital.

Need to close the employee-manager gap

People companies also recognize that to improve engagement and drive performance, organizations need to create great workforce experiences. Fast growth companies are trying to enhance workforce experiences through changing HR processes, improving engagement and performance. However, many find this challenging, with 72% saying that they struggle to provide great employee experiences. The research also revealed a disconnect within organisations between leadership and the rest of the business. Some 55% of senior managers felt that their company is already a People Company, which puts its employees needs first. Unfortunately, only 29% of employees agreed.

Becoming a People Company takes time

The research reinforces that becoming a People Company is a journey which does not happen overnight, and no two organisations follow the same path. Leaders of people companies know their success depends on their employee’s individual talent, as well as corporate, success. They strive to make sure their people decisions are always data informed and consider them as important as finance, customer or operational decisions. 

People Science a necessity

People Science forms the foundation of a People Company, where data and actionable insights improve workforce visibility. Approximately two-thirds of HR leaders are not using people data to support their decision making or to inform strategic planning for the business. However, a staggering 92% of those surveyed said they’d like to use people data to improve their business and 87% said more should be done to put people at the heart of the business.

Get the becoming a People Company report

The ‘Becoming a People Company’ report includes practical steps to becoming a high performing people company. You can also find out where you are on the People Company journey by completing the Sage People profiler due to be released soon.




[1] Gazelles are companies growing revenue by more than 20% annually (for at least 4 years running) from $1 million


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