5 golden rules to working effectively with employment consultants

We specialise in providing specialist employment consultancy to professional service providers and their clients . We work predominantly with law firms and accountancy practices to support  business with employment problems.

Professional services offer sound advice to their clients in a range of different situations including employment, but this advice isn’t always put into practice.

This can be for a variety of reasons:

  • Concern about creating conflict
  • Lack of experience or confidence to deal with such situations
  • Implication in events, perhaps a key witness or hearing manager in the early stage so unable to hear the appeal
  • Limited managerial capacity to handle what can be time consuming issues
  • Lack of appetite to deal with the situation and will therefore unlikely to apply the right level of rigour

What sorts of situations are we talking about?

These situations are wide and varied but include:

  • Conducting investigations
  • Handling disciplinaries, grievances and appeals
  • Reorganisations
  • Changing terms and conditions
  • Pay and grading implementation, and
  • Redundancy consultation

But how do you ensure that you get the best from employment consultants so that they create value for your client and knock on benefit for your business?

What are the 5 golden rules to ensure employment consultants add value to your clients?

You will have developed trusted relationships with your clients over the years and often you will be the first port of call when an issue arises.

Why would you want to introduce another party?

Often you will offer initial advice on how the client should handle an issue, but what if they need more than that?

Sometimes the client needs somebody to do some of the work or to support them whilst they deal with matters and put your advice into practice.

The way Athena work is to maintain a three way relationship:

We work closely with the client to understand what they need, support them with the difficult bits on the ground and keep you informed of what is happening and how matters are developing.

keep us informed of the advice you have given so that we can let you know how and whether your advice is being followed.  You also get to know what is happening enabling you to adjust your advice accordingly making it even more commercially grounded and appropriate.

The client has support both in terms of sound advice ans how they put that advice into practice in a way that will ensure process is followed throughout.

Concerns and risks

A common concern voiced by professional service providers is that there is overlap between what we do as employment consultants and what you do as professional advisers.  If you introduce  us we will do the work that you currently do and you will lose business as a result.

Another concern is if we, as the consultant mess up, this creates reputational risk for you and your business.

Mitigating these risks is key, and in our work we have identified 5 golden rules around setting such a relationship up for success.

  • Be clear who owns the client relationship, and be granular about any limitations you want to impose on direct client contact
  • Communicate effectively with the employment consultant and set clear expectations around how you want the employment consultant to communicate with you
  • Do your homework, there are a lot of employment consultants out there of varying ability, ask to see examples of independent work undertaken and take up references
  • Be clear about any referral arrangements
  • Complete case reviews to ensure lessons are learnt

Setting the relationship up for success

Building trust between you and the consultant is the key to making the relationship work, so that the communication flow between you, the client and the consultant is seamless, ensuring your clients are delighted, your advice is followed and matters are dealt with in a way that will stand up in a tribunal if necessary.

Your client will then have choice over how they settle matters.  If process has been followed in a robust manner the client will be able to choose between litigation or settlement.

If you would like more information about how we can set up a mutually beneficial relationship call us now on 07977 932551 or email on jane@athenaprofessional.co.uk