“I feel that face2faceHR are good value for money and a key part of my advisory team in growing business”

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  • Frequently asked questions

    What kind of thing can I ask my consultant to do as part of the FACEit retainer service?

    As well as regular, on-tap advice on any employment related matter, here are just some examples of specific things your consultant could do all as part of the service:

    • Recruitment – your consultant could draft or review job descriptions, advise on salaries and benefits, draft you an application form, review CVs, draft you a list of suitable and effective interview questions, draft letters to candidates, review or draft contracts for new employees.
    • Learning and development – your consultant can design an induction programme or checklist for new staff, provide training to managers on HR issues, advise on paying for employees’ study and reclaiming costs of training if they leave employment, advise about apprenticeships and other training programmes.
    • Performance – your consultant can draft a suitable appraisal form for you to use, can draft letters to employees regarding performance concerns and can advise on when you can use the disciplinary procedure for performance issues.
    • Absence – your consultant can advise on how to deal with lateness and regular absence, can give context on what normal levels of absence are, advise on strategies to deal with problem absence, provide access to an occupational health provider if necessary, provide a return to work interview form and self-certification for short absences and draft letters to employees for whom absence is a concern.
    • Family leave – your consultant can advise on current requirements in the ever-changing area of family leave, can draft letters to employees going on maternity leave or other leave, and can advise on the procedures you need to follow.
    • Terms and conditions – if you need to change terms and conditions your consultant can advise you how to do this and draft all the necessary letters and documents.
    • Termination – if you are contemplating terminating someone’s employment for whatever reason, or considering a redundancy process, your consultant can advise you on how to do it safely, on correct procedure and draft all necessary letters.
    Is your retainer service like the various HR helplines I’ve seen?

    FACEit works very differently to a legal helpline service as follows:

    • You always get your own dedicated consultant. This is not a helpline arrangement whereby you could ring up and get a different adviser every time. This is your own consultant who works with you and knows about your business, understanding the context and the history.
    •  You get the benefit of a long-term relationship with someone you trust. This means your consultant knows and understands the business, knows the history of the employees concerned, understands how you like to work and can give much higher quality advice as a result.
    •  We don’t give generic advice on the law in respect of any employee issue; we tailor it to the client and to the specific situation. Sometimes this involves giving advice and support over a longer period of time, with a specific end result in mind.
    • You don’t get issued with a standard set of documents, you get the documents either drafted by (or signed off as being suitable by) your consultant updated and continually tailored to your needs.
    •  It offers much more than a helpline service – many of the examples of things your consultant can do for you outlined previously would not be covered by a helpline service at all – you would be expected to do them yourself.
    Will I use the retainer service enough to make it worthwhile?

    What we’ve found is that where a client thinks there’s a reasonable chance of an issue arising during the year that will need HR advice, and needs a new contract or other work, it is likely that overall FACEit will represent better value for money than paying for work done on an ad hoc basis. It also offers the opportunity to spread the cost and acts as insurance against future HR expenses, as well as reducing the risk of costly issues down the line as they are identified earlier. We’ve also found that most clients use the service more than they thought they would.

    Do you have insurance?

    Yes all our consultants have professional indemnity insurance meaning that if your consultant’s advice leads to losses on your part and a legal claim against you, you will have recourse available to you.

    What if I don’t use the retainer service as much as I thought I would – am I locked in?

    Unlike some providers we don’t tie clients into long contracts. You can cancel with only a month’s notice after the first six months if you feel the service is not right for you. Similarly, we don’t automatically renew at the end of the year as many providers do – we discuss with you whether the service is right for you and whether you want to renew at that point.

    Does the fee for the retainer service go up if I take on more staff during the year?

    No not at all. The fee is set once a year, so even if you do a lot of recruiting during the year and increase your headcount, your fee will not be increased.

    I know you offer tailored documents but can I buy a basic standard contract from you for a lower price?

    No we don’t offer this – we think it’s crucial that contracts and policies used by our clients are specific to their individual requirements and meet their needs so we don’t sell ‘off the shelf’ versions.

    I work in HR and would like to be a consultant- do you have any jobs available?

    Our consultants all own their own businesses which operate under the face2faceHR brand, so we don’t recruit consultants on an employed basis. If you want to know more about becoming a consultant please visit www.myhrbusiness.com or get in touch through our contact page.

    Can consultants do things like interview candidates or chair hearings, or do they just advise on the phone?

    Absolutely. If you are signed up to our FACEit service you get a number of site visits a year which can include these things. Similarly, our consultants are available on an ad hoc basis for site work including interviews, taking part in or chairing hearings, meetings with employees and also delivering training. If you have a particular on-site need in mind, just get in touch with your nearest consultant to discuss how they can help you.

    I’m worried about a tribunal claim and the cost of lawyers. Do you offer legal cover?

    No we don’t. This is a deliberate decision after careful consideration and research with clients, for the following reasons:

    • The measure of successful performance for a provider with legal cover is avoiding having to pay out on their guarantee, rather than purely about successful resolution of problems for the client. The easiest way of avoiding claims at all costs is to adopt a ‘you can’t do that’ approach. Great, it means you are very unlikely to be the subject of a claim, but it also means you are not being provided with advice on actually dealing with your problem.
    • Small businesses need quick resolution of their problems as they can represent an enormous drain if allowed to drag on for ages. Money is tight; there is limited room for supporting long sickness absences or reassigning duties elsewhere while the business has to wait for ages to address an absence or performance problem. So the ‘can’t do that’ approach isn’t in the best interests of a small business.
    • Legal cover often (though not always) comes from a big provider giving advice via a helpline. The staff answering the phone usually know little or nothing about your business and will usually provide generic advice only, not advice tailored to your business and your circumstances.
    •  We think the peace of mind some small businesses think they may get from legal cover is better obtained through confidence in their HR provider, a personal relationship with them and the knowledge that their consultant’s interests are aligned with their own.
    • Legal costs will be covered if you use a helpline provider with legal cover. But you will lose control over the situation. Your provider will choose the solicitor that will be used (or will represent you themselves). They will make the decisions about when/if to settle a claim, and those decisions will be in their interests not necessarily in yours.
    • If your provider offers legal cover they will have insurance to cover that. But that means they are working for two parties –you as the client and their insurers. Your interests and those of the insurer will almost certainly not always be in alignment. Your provider should be free of third party influence and focused purely on helping you address your problem.
    If I’m a client of yours and I do get a tribunal claim, what will you do?

    Clients who follow our advice are extremely unlikely to be on the receiving end of legal claims, however if the unlikely happened, we would discuss with you the best approach, including discussion of possible settlement at a time and on terms that are acceptable to you. We would seek legal representation from high quality, recommended local solicitors.

    What happens if my consultant goes on holiday?

    Your consultant still has access to emails and voicemails and the office line is answered while they are away with messages passed on. Your consultant can still ring you back or email you about urgent issues, and if the issue requires more time or a site visit on an urgent basis, they have colleagues they can access who will help you.

    Ultimately, we find clients prefer a dedicated consultant who understands their business but is away on holiday occasionally where the alternative is an anonymous helpline service. Similarly, although some helpline services offer 24-7 access, we think the chances of you needing urgent HR advice at,say, 3am on Boxing Day are extremely slim, and we’ve found clients would prefer to wait for high quality tailored advice from their own consultant during working hours.

    I’m an employee not an employer – can you help me?

    Unfortunately we do not take on private clients, and instead work for employers only. If you are an employee seeking advice about an issue at work, we recommend you contact your trade union if you have one, alternatively Acas, the Citizen’s Advice Bureau or a local solicitor specialising in employment law.

    Can I pay for the retainer in instalments?

    Yes, you can opt to pay upfront in one payment, or alternatively in instalments monthly or quarterly*

    *terms and conditions apply

    Can I take up references for your consultants?

    We have lots of testimonials from clients of all our consultants, and in addition they all have individual testimonials on their profile pages, however if you would like to speak to an existing or previous client of a consultant you are thinking of using, do feel free to ask – clients who are happy to provide testimonials for our website are also generally happy to speak to other potential clients.