Blogs

Retained Service

This article was written by Shakira.

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Only the other day we were in the same boat as you.

The dilemma of weighing up the pros and cons of taking on a retained support contract. The process was enlightening and what we have learnt we are now applying to our own service.

Typical Business Model

Our Board is made up of a Managing Director, Finance Director and Junior Partner not unlike the hierarchy that applies in most businesses. We each come from different backgrounds and so balancing three different viewpoints and methods of working isn’t easy. However for me, what I found interesting is how we each measured success or, indeed, our return on investment.

Retained service board room

What do we get for our money?
What happens if we don’t use the service?
What if they don’t produce the goods?
How long are we tied in for?
What happens if the service doesn’t meet our needs?

This got me thinking about the process our clients go through when they choose us as their HR provider and how successful are we in demonstrating value for money to our clients.

How does hchr differ?

I know what work we do, I know we go above and beyond providing the ‘added extra’, but do we communicate this to our clients? The answer is no. We get the job done with the clients’ best interests in mind, but with my rose tinted glasses removed, I can’t help think that we are doing ourselves a disservice. In the competitive business environment that we operate it’s our modus operandi or ‘different service’ that sets us apart from our competitors. We should be singing this from the rooftops rather than trying to swim with the big fish in the HR corporate pool. We aren’t about glossy brochures and call centres; we are about rolling up our sleeves to get the job done.

So what have we learned …
• To be ourselves! We are providing a human approach to human resources that’s what makes us different
• Be clear about the service we offer, timescales and delivery
• Make sure clients understand they are not tied in to onerous contracts
• Ensure that we understand and meet our existing and future clients’ expectations
• Ensure we understand and respond to the ways that our clients are measuring our success
• Understand that a retained service isn’t right for all clients, and sometimes building a relationship on an ad hoc project basis is more beneficial for both parties.

This is not rocket science and it is nothing that I haven’t said before when sitting across the table from a Chief Executive or Board of Directors. The difference being now that my experience of the shoe on the other foot, I am more mindful of the different needs and driving forces sat around the Board room table, which are not so dissimilar those in our own hchr Board room.

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