Do companies know more about their customers than their own people?

Over the last 2 months I have spoken to many mid-market organizations across the world, as well as attending HR Tech and Dreamforce in the US, and one theme has come through clearly; companies often know more about their customers than their own people.

Why is this and how could it happen?

Well, customers were badly neglected for a long time, but there has been a huge amount of focus in the last 15 years on rectifying this situation through CRM, Customer Insight, Behaviour, Predictive Analytics, and now moving into Customer Success.

Another factor has been that during the recession and banking crisis, the focus has been on maintaining top line revenue while controlling costs.  As a result there has been relatively little focus on people and people systems – to put it bluntly, in a recessionary market there can be the attitude that people are ‘lucky to have a job’.

However, the world has changed.

As economies move back to growth there is a global skills crisis, attrition is high, and the ‘war for talent’ is back. And then some. In this market companies really need to understand, motivate, develop and retain their people.  But that’s hard when the primary HRMS many companies have is a legacy domestic system, or even ‘spreadsheet hell’ cobbled together over years.

This period of growth and increasing awareness of talent management is keeping us very busy indeed at Sage People, which is good for us as we love helping mid-market companies across the world.  We see as much focus now on the Workforce as there has been on Customers. My new mantra is:

Customer Success + Workforce Success = Company Success

We practice this and we have grown by 150% in the last year. That’s not pointless self-promotion, it is just to demonstrate a simple fact that: it works. Our HRMS allows other companies the opportunity to enjoy similar successes with an engaged, fulfilled and rewarded workforce.

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