OK, so it’s taken me over 3 weeks to write this (despite making a resolution to do so on 1st January). I had the topic for my first personal blog planned out before Christmas but something happened today that gave me the kick up the backside that I needed to write this.
A really lovely client, who also happens to be a great employer, received a telephone call from a salesman from a well known competitor that sells generic HR & health and safety services. Unfortunately, an ex-employee has filed a spurious Tribunal Claim against my client’s company.
The salesman knew all the ins and outs of the Claim and led my client to believe that he had spoken to the ex-employee and therefore it was imperative that he made an appointment to see my client as soon as possible to make sure he didn’t pay thousands if he lost at the Tribunal Hearing. My client was confused as to the salesman’s role in the proceedings and explained that he was represented by my firm. He offered to give the salesman my number but the salesman obviously didn’t want to speak to me – good job too!!!! My client called me straight away and I explained that the salesman was effectively “ambulance chasing” after scouring through the Employment Tribunal records for this information. It’s funny that the salesman found my client’s details on the ET Response Form but must have overlooked my details!
There is nothing illegal about this as they are a matter of public record but it just stinks, doesn’t it?
My blog was always going to be about this competitor (and those that operate in a similar way) and my frustration with the fact that they pay top dollar for sales people to scaremonger employers into signing up to 3, 5 or 7 year contracts to “protect” them from employees who are out to get them and then pay inexperienced and unqualified call-centre staff to provide soulless, unhelpful, sometimes conflicting, textbook advice that means nothing to your business or circumstances – And then when you discover that the service is not what you were led to believe it would be, you are likely to be threatened by their well paid lawyers until you give in and carry on paying for that service without using it AND pay us for meaningful advice and support.
The worst part is that some of our clients have fallen into the trap of auto-renewing their contracts by failing to give 6 months’ notice before the end of their original contract term, meaning that their contract is extended by the same term and often at a higher price!
A client that we have been supporting for nearly 2 years contacted me the day before we broke up for Christmas and said “Good news Nickie, we’re paying C******* £1,000 to get out of our contract with them next month so we’d like to set one up with you.” Don’t get me wrong, I am delighted that we’re going to get the opportunity to provide more support to them but it has played on my mind that they have to pay off the company that has let them down so badly over the past 3 ½ years. Where is their integrity?
Experiences like this are all too common but please don’t lose heart that all HR retainer services are the same. We’re not! My team have all been recruited because they all share my vision, values and passion for providing bespoke, personal advice to clients with empathy and integrity. If you are having sleepless nights about a HR issue and you’re not getting the support you deserve from your current provider, demand better service or ditch them.
All new clients are offered a free initial consultation with us so get in touch to see if we can help you. I am confident that we can.
Nickie Elenor, Employment Lawyer and Managing Director of Your HR Lawyer