Audience wowed by Adam Hale, EVP of Sage People, and his ambition to achieve global domination

20 June 2017

Audience wowed by Adam Hale, EVP of Sage People, and his ambition to achieve global domination

Audience wowed by Adam Hale, EVP of Sage People (formerly Fairsail), and his ambition to achieve 'global domination'

'Great People, Great Culture' were among the reasons why Sage People (formerly Fairsail) achieved the heights of being the fastest growing SME in the Thames Valley in 2016, according to Adam Hale at the eighth 'Talks on Enterprise Development' series at Henley Business School on Monday 12 June 2017.

Opening, Adam spoke of the transformational change in business today. He referred to the term 'personnel', which a few members of the audience remembered, and how it was reinvented by HR to 'people' to show the change of focus of today's HR. Adam went on to outline practices and norms like manual recruitment, annual appraisals and employee satisfaction, which have now been replaced by automated handling recruitment, continuous conversation and enhancing employee experience respectively. All of these new practices have been passionately embraced by Fairsail.

Acquired by Sage in March 2017, Fairsail has grown spectacularly over the last four years. Its client list of medium-sized businesses now numbers over 200, located in over 40 countries. Customers include Microgen, Westcon Group and Klarna, all of which have given glowing testimonials of how Fairsail’s HR management information platform has helped transform their businesses. Many of its clients have adopted nicknames for the Fairsail platform, showing how well it has integrated into their businesses and how well the platform is working to achieve their corporate goals.

Adam described the key factors for the success of Sage People, these being the great SaaS product and the team of almost 160 employees. Adam refers to the team as 'Great People' and the work environment at Fairsail, where the team was rewarded with share options, as a 'Great Culture'.

Adam screened a video which showed how the Sage People team (who all have numbers much like a football team, with Adam proudly wearing his number 22) celebrate together and demonstrate the company culture. At the heart of this culture are the values of 'Pathfinder Impact With Heart'.

Adam's one regret, which he illustrated and made it his mission to change, is that there are not enough students taught Computer Science at school and university. Sage People trains its own computer programmers and regularly hires students on projects and placements, providing them with an opportunity to gain valuable experience. Speaking passionately about this point, Adam raised replies from several organisations including Thames Valley LEP to say that they are helping to change the landscape with the provision of digital skills training and development and the opening of the new Department of Computer Science at the University of Reading is responding to the lack of skills talent.

Adam finished the talk by discussing some of the plans for the company's future. Following the acquisition by Sage, Fairsail became Sage People and later this year will be moving into its HQ to new offices at Gateway Building on the Thames Valley Science Park. Adam believes that being based at the Thames Valley Science Park will allow the business to expand even further in future and continue to move towards his ambition of 'global domination' in the SaaS HR Management Information Software sector. 

This is what members of the audience had to say about Adam’s talk:

Simon Thompson, Founder of Improved Apps: “Great to hear about success and how it was achieved.”

Tim Brownstone, Founder and CEO of KYMIRA: “Really enjoyed the talk.”

Andrew Chescoe, Director of AAC Systems: “Valuable insights into how it should be done.”

Stuart Keeble, CTO of Ancoris: “Very insightful.”

It was a real pleasure to have Adam Hale on campus and to hear the Fairsail story and the ambition for 2027. We wish Adam and the team at Sage People every success in achieving their ambition.

The next talk in the series will be on 16 October 2017 when Matt Franklin, CEO of Roc Technologies, will deliver the ninth talk in the Henley ‘Talks on Enterprise Development’ series. Look out for further announcements at

The University of Reading is committed to work with the SME community in the Thames Valley Region for mutual benefit.

Contact and Notes:

Jurek Sikorski, Executive Director of Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship

Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship

Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship is part of Henley Business School at the University of Reading which provides a hub for teaching and research in the subject, inspiring students from across the University to embrace, develop and apply their entrepreneurial abilities.


W: /henley-centre-for-entrepreneurship

The event was kindly sponsored by James Cowper Kreston and supported by the Thames Valley Business Growth Hub, Thames Valley Science Park and VitalSix.