Prince Harry became BetterUp’s Chief Impact Officer in late 2020. The job was announced a few months later, and since then, BetterUp’s profile has grown worldwide. BetterUp, a private coaching company, has secured billions upon billions of investments and has expanded widely across North America and Europe. Various corporations have already hired BetterUp for their staff and executives, and BetterUp has recently partnered with Invictus Games through Harry. But that’s not all the sunshine and roses – obviously, BetterUp executives started with how to pay their independent contractor coaches, and there was a coach revolt. BetterUp has already begun to recover payroll changes, but that hasn’t stopped the Daily Beast and other media outlets from crying out about how “Harry’s Company” is in deep trouble.
Prince Harry signed on as BetterUp’s chief impact officer last spring, pledging to help the startup’s “mental well-being” and its more than 2,000 professional trainers promote the Army’s mission. This is probably a lucrative gig for the British royal family: BetterUp raised $ 300 million in October, valued at $ 4.7 billion. But just six months later, BetterUp’s recent announcement sparked a revolt among the company’s career coaches that it would revise their contracts যার resulting in those advisers saying a secret pay cut had been effectively cut-according to six coaches who spoke to the Daily Beast.
“Many of us are upset now,” said a coach whose effective salary would be reduced by about a third, to discuss private companies on condition of anonymity. “I would say my heart is broken. And I think morality is really in question. “
Two key issues were at the center of the still-evolving controversy: coaches’ salaries and a new rating system that would also affect their fines. The company has announced a plan to cut a stipend coach used for taking notes, allocating research and activities to clients. The firm’s new metrics, meanwhile, have partially assessed trainers based on how a client has found their “life-changing” guidelines and how often they’ve met for the session. These changes, in particular, have raised concerns about the concern that they would violate industry rules and panders to their clients instead of giving coaches a neutral response.
“[If] I am training a member, I do not want to focus on how they will evaluate me, ”said another Bettup contractor. “From an ethical standpoint … we’re there to train clients, not to press their ‘like’ button.”
Now, amid internal turmoil, BetterUp says it is working to revise its original plans – although details are still unclear. The agency has scheduled several town halls for this week and has promised to return to at least some changes. “No one will see a reduction in their effective session rate compared to their 2021 effective session rate,” a BetterUp executive wrote to coaches on Tuesday, after the Daily Beast commented. The note opens up the possibility of adjusting contracts in 2023, saying, “We are on a journey of many years, and we will consider this first year as a time of learning.”
The agency, which declined to comment, appears to have eased at least some coaches with its latest update. “I’m relieved, but I’m not satisfied,” one coach said in response to an email. “It simply came to our notice then [BetterUp] Rotating their initial plan at all makes me doubt their motives, and makes me distrust them. It was humiliating and insulting to pressure them not to cut our wages – it made me feel bad. ”
[From The Daily Beast]
The rest of the article is just anonymous coaches complaining about changes that are already going back. Apparently, the executives have already apologized personally to the coaches via webinar, and BetterUp is making all the right noise about bringing back the changes and listening to their independent contractors. I mean, coaches can’t be united … because they are independent contractors. Don’t get me wrong, I think there are real problems and it wouldn’t surprise me if BetterUp gets too big too fast and it certainly sounds like there are some management issues. But as far as corporate responsiveness is concerned, BetterUp sounds pretty responsive. They seem to have acknowledged it, and are telling people how they worked and what they can do to fix it. It has little to do with Prince Harry, but of course Harry’s CIO position makes it a “royal story.” The only mention of Harry in this Daily Beast from the coaches is that they are concerned that BetterUp has hired a lot more executives in recent years, and there are questions about how “meaningful” Harry’s role is (from the coach) all “smoke and mirrors.”
Photos courtesy of BetterUp, Instar.