It happened again this week. I was at the client’s lovely, recently refurbished offices, not too far from Gatwick. Could I advise on some of their policies, they asked? But of course, I said, quietly wondering if this was really an HR thing. Up first was Modern Slavery. Never a particularly cheery thought. Still, the business is importing stuff from all over the place, so it has to be on the radar. Had I reviewed the policy? I had. It was a masterpiece. My colleagues beamed.
So, were they actually doing these good things that they say they are doing in the policy, I wondered? No one was making eye contact with me now. Ah. Time for a little more detailed scrutiny, perhaps.
I often come across the most well-intentioned lip service to legal requirements by businesses. But legal risk management is a real thing, you see, not just a piece of paper. Behind that policy, or those Ts & Cs that no one bothers with, there needs to be an awareness, a genuine way of working, a real process. Or you are indeed just talking the talk – and this isn’t going to get a business out of any hole it may find itself in.
After a discussion over coffee, a bit of note-taking, and each of us taking on a couple of actions, everybody was feeling a lot more comfortable. When we checked, some of the necessary checks were actually already being done; other changes can easily be factored into existing practices. No drama, and, what’s more, no more talking the talk without walking the walk.