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Natwest employee's outburst has potential to cost the business

Employment Law & HR
BG Purple

Note: this article was first written by our colleagues at Solve HR, before Solve HR joined Law At Work in March 2020. We have imported this...

Natwest has found itself at the forefront of the media recently when an employee went on an anti-vegan rant to one of their customers. The debacle made headlines when a Natwest customer phoned up for a loan with the bank and although the customer didn't meet the loan requirements, the call was recorded and after investigation, it can be revealed that she spoken to in a manner which would not suggest great customer service. After the staff member learned that the customer was vegan, he was recorded saying that '"all vegans should be punched in the face'" and told her that he felt vegans were forcing their beliefs on him. The customer stated that she felt his tone was '"really unpleasant'" and didn't feel she should be punished for her lifestyle choices by a '"big organisation.'" After listening to the recording, the bank decided to accept her loan request for £400 and pay out just under £200 in compensation. Last year, Starbucks had to deal with public fallout after an employee mocked a customer with a disability. The customer had a lisp and the employee wrote his name on the cup as '"SSSAM'". Like the Natwest story, both of these incidents have a great impact on the Company's branding. Poor practice, especially within visible customer-facing roles or roles susceptible to media coverages raises questions about how engaged employees are with the Company's corporate ethos. The impact for a Company's brand is huge if their employees are not upholding the tone or image that is expected of the Company. Often, improving employee engagement is incumbent on HR, as they are looked upon to improve how employees feel about the Company and how they engage with their work. A recent survey found that only just over four in 10 employees knew what their Company stands for. If you would like help on employee engagement and retaining your company image through your employees, contact us at Solve.

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