I was invited to a seminar this morning to ‘…benefit from a wealth of advice about 2017’s latest legislation and employee rights’.
Too late I realised the seminar wasn’t an update on the latest developments in employment law. I probably shouldn’t have been invited. I certainly shouldn’t have attended.
This was a sales event containing general ‘titbits’ of information with a repeated sales message to put in place ‘their’ employment policies if you want employees to behave (properly).
When it comes to influencing behaviour I know policies and procedures are not enough. This seminar was a great example of that.
I spent (wasted) 3 hours listening to someone tell me how, as an employer, everyone is after my money;
- Employees will claim for virtually anything and everything because they are basically lazy and greedy
- I can expect a huge increase in the number of unscrupulous no win no fee lawyers coming after me because tribunal fees have been scrapped
- The Pensions Regulator and others because auto enrolment is the next PPI
- The HSE who, even if you don’t have an accident at work, will fine you through their Fee for Intervention programme.
The irony wasn’t lost on me when they attempted to sell their computer based HR system to a charity with 2 employees!
It got worse when the presenter was asked a question about the free ACAS Conciliation Service. He proceeded to tell us 85% of employers using the ACAS service settled employee claims. The fact is that 85% of employees actually abandon their claims. Now it could have been an honest mistake but, given the style of the presentation and the fact that statistic won’t help them promote their own mediation services, I doubt it.
There’s a reason we still refer to the saying ‘actions speak louder than words’. The way you work has more influence on employee behaviour than written policies and rules. Ask any lawyer. If there’s a gap between what you say you do and what you actually do, it’s what you do in practice that counts.
As an advocate of employee engagement I was never going to like the style of this seminar – there was such an outdated view of the employee employer relationship! That aside the presenter was sending me lots of conflicting messages. There was a gap between his words and behaviour that I found very disappointing. It made me question his integrity and the integrity of the organisation he represents. Did they have the same values as me? What kind of service would I get if I was to engage with them again?
Of course these are just my feelings based on my personal experience. I don’t know what other delegates thought. Neither did I raise my concerns. Like 96% of most unhappy customers I just left and resolved not to go to another seminar. And just like your average dissatisfied customer I will probably tell between 9 and 15 people about what happened and how I felt.
As a business your reputation is based on (an emotional response to) peoples’ behaviour not policies and rules. Your reputation is based on what your employees do, what they say, and what others say about them. Make time to manage it properly.