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HR Owen: Email, events and enticing the 21st-century customer

“There’s now clarity about who is doing what and where responsibility lies,” Harris said.

“Particularly with the sales divisions, where sales and aftersales had to some extent been working against each other, with several directors of each – very silo-like with more allegiance to each department or franchise than the company. And personal staff issues such as appraisals weren’t being done consistently.

“Now, sales and aftersales report to Tim Kearns and Paul Westaway and they have a line of sight and authority to work out the issues.”

These measures contributed to an 86% response rate to the company’s third annual employee survey in November 2013, up from 33% in 2012 – and an NPS score of 39%. “More than 50% is considered excellent, so we are on the cusp of this,” said Harris. He has a personal interest in improving these numbers – his bonus is based in part on staff satisfaction scores.

HR Owen’s latest financial results suggest its three years of work is paying off.

Preliminary results announced in March reported revenues up 7% to £261.1m in 2013. Pre-tax profit rose to £2.4m from £2.3m year-on-year and underlying operating profit rose 63% from £2.3m to £3.8m.

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