My personal credibility and the credibility of my profession as a whole are very important to me. But as with any profession, there are plenty of incompetent HR professionals out there and plenty who take advantage of clients’ lack of employment law knowledge. Is yours one of them?
An HR consultant to a small business is in a position of a certain amount of power and authority over the client. The HR consultant has (or should have) knowledge of legal liabilities that the client often does not have, and, as many business owners have a very negative (sometimes unnecessarily so) view of employment law restrictions, it is potentially very easy for the HR consultant to ‘scare’ the business owner. The client doesn’t know any better so if the HR consultant says ‘you can’t do that or you’ll get a tribunal claim’, the client has little choice but to believe him/her and act accordingly.
I’m in the same position with my accountant. I will freely admit that I don’t enjoy accounts at all. This effectively means I rely completely on my accountant to tell me what to do and when, and I have to assume he will give me the best advice for my business.
Fortunately I do trust my accountant, who was recommended to me by a client, but I am relying on his expertise and integrity. The same goes for my clients who rely on me and assume my advice is the best it can possibly be.
So with that in mind here are 7 questions to ask yourself to work out whether your HR consultant is being lazy or genuinely working hard to get the best answers for you:
- Does she seem to say ‘can’t’ a bit too often?
- Does she provide you with restrictions on what you can do rather than solutions to your problems?
- If you go to her with a problem does she ask what result you want before advising you and tailor her advice accordingly?
- Does she give you some different options for achieving your desired outcome and give pros and cons?
- Does she genuinely understand your situation and your business or is she giving generic advice?
- Does she project possible developments in any situation?
- Does she highlight and acknowledge risks and how to minimize them?
It’s important you trust whoever is advising you on HR matters to give you the best advice to resolve and prevent problems, while at the same time meet your legal obligations. But if you ask yourself the above questions and aren’t happy with the answers, it might be time to challenge your HR consultant to up their game!
For professional, down to earth HR advice tailored to your business, contact us on 01480 387933 or email info@face2faceHR.com.