Our approach to clients is to develop a personal relationship with them, understand their business, their culture, their people, their work and their management style and preferences. This enables us to offer much better quality, tailored advice, which is great, and it makes client work more enjoyable and rewarding, but it also enables us to offer more proactive support than a traditional HR helpline service or similar.
We get to know what initiatives will work in that business, what training would help, what kind of guidance managers would benefit from and respond well to, and what kind of questions to ask the business owner. We become familiar with what kinds of issues tend to pop up, either because of our experience of that particular business, or of similar businesses elsewhere, and can help business owners identify them early and hopefully avoid them altogether.
We have lots of clients who are on retainer, and who are therefore entitled to ring or email their consultant as often as they wish for advice. This means it would be easy to sit back, safe in the knowledge that the client will ring whenever they need help, but we don’t do that. Whilst clients on retainer can ring whenever they like, the realities of running a business means that sometimes they don’t as soon as we would like. Or perhaps they don’t realise something is becoming an issue for a while so don’t take any action. Problem sickness absence is the classic one – often it is only when a business owner looks back at several months’ worth of absence from one person that they realise exactly how much time has been taken off and want to do something about it.
So what we do is ensure that we meet with clients for review meetings regularly, and stay in touch generally in between. The review meetings are great, because we can ask questions and find out how things are going in the business, meaning we can often identify issues that might be cropping up and put things in place to deal with them early. This makes our job easier – who wants to be attending unpleasant disciplinary hearings when they can be avoided? It also makes the process of running a business smoother and more trouble-free for the client.
In addition, being proactive in this way, rather than waiting for a phone call with a problem, means we are constantly demonstrating our value to our clients, meaning they tend to stay with us for the long term.
If you’d like to run your own HR consultancy and want to discuss becoming a partner, do get in touch.