News & Views
The HARBOUR hangout… with Sarah Axcell

Want to know more about the people behind our company? Excellent. Here’s an interview with Sarah Axcell, our Chief Client Officer.

Ooh, Chief Client Officer – what’s that then?

So I oversee the two teams that service our lovely clients. There’s a Support Team that deals with day-to-day client enquiries and a Client Partner Team that works in partnership with our clients to give them all the advice, help and guidance they need. Ultimately I’m responsible for ensuring our service delivery is everything our clients would hope it to be – and more!

Been here long?

I came to HARBOUR in 2013 after a career in recruitment advertising. A contact put me in touch with Alex (esteemed CEO) and we had a phone chat – mostly about Luther, which we’d both seen on TV the night before. I came in for a group interview and they said ‘We love you! Come work with us.’ My first role here was Account Director, then I spent a couple of years managing the testing team before moving into the position of CCO last year. Regardless of the job title, I’ve always heavily been involved in Client Service – it's one of my passions.

So what’s a typical day for you?

There isn’t one! It’s always client-centric and at the moment I’m also involved with mentoring. Becky, who heads up the Support Team, and Rob, who’s in charge of the Client Partner Team, hadn’t been line managers before so I guided and supported them as they transitioned into their new roles. Now I manage them and oversee strategy to make sure it aligns with my vision for our client service. I also talk directly to clients to let them know what we’re up to and see if there’s anything we can do to improve our product and service.

Anything else you do? Someone mentioned brownies…

Oh yes, I help organise HARBOUR’s annual Forum when we have lunch and the most amazing brownies! We’re known for our sociability so every year – pandemics permitting – we hold the Forum to get together with our clients and chew the fat about all things recruitment software. I love bringing people together and getting them talking. 

What do you love most about your job?

Ha, ha – talking and listening! I love talking to colleagues and encouraging them to be the best that they can be. And I love talking to clients and hearing their views about recruitment software.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A teacher. I love helping people, to see them get the best out of what they have – whether it’s in themselves or in their Applicant Tracking System. 

So, it's International Women's Day – what's it like working in an industry that's dominated by men?

Working at HARBOUR, it’s never really crossed my mind. The company creates roles rather than pigeon-holes people into one. Being a woman has never been an inhibitor – I’m one of two female Board members – or even a ‘thing’ really; we’re all happy HARBOURites! There’s also an amazing work-life balance. I know the parental split is much more even than it used to be but I think there’s still an expectation for mums to do a lot of the household organising. At HARBOUR I don’t have to book a half day off to go my kids’ sports day or worry about leaving early to get to their school play. Being with a company that understands the pressures of juggling children and work is priceless

What would make your working day better?

Keanu Reeves.