Your employees are the lifeblood of your organization. Your talented and hard-working employees can help you to gain an advantage over competitors by producing higher-quality work and winning the business of new clients. What’s more – given the low unemployment rate – talent has become an even more valuable commodity in today’s legal industry.
This is especially the case when you consider hiring costs, which can run up to as much as a third of an employee’s annual wage. But the adverse side effects don’t end there! If you lose a lawyer, you may have to turn to freelance help to plug the gap, lowering the quality of service and slowing reaction times. Employee turnover also lowers staff morale and productivity.
So, bearing that information in mind, what can law firms do to retain their top talent? Here are some proven retention strategies that should help to focus your efforts.
Employees of today will not invest themselves in your business unless you will invest in them too. It’s a two-way street. By providing ongoing professional development, you are demonstrating that you want the individual to succeed, driving up loyalty and commitment.
While training should be part of onboarding every employee, it shouldn’t cease once an employee has properly oriented into an organization. New training should be given regularly to reflect changing roles and responsibilities.
The focus of training materials should be specific (such as training for a qualification) while having an emphasis on educating employees about the culture and overarching mission of the company. Once they see how they fit into your organization, they’ll buy into it and become committed to its success.
Mentoring and Feedback
Employees hate making it through an entire year with no structured feedback before being told that performance wasn’t good enough at an annual review. Not only does feedback help employees become aware of deficiencies they can work on, but you’ll also benefit as a company by molding your employees to perform in the way you envision.
A great way to shape feedback is through a mentorship scheme. By having a more senior employee (who’s been in the shoes of their junior mentee) giving regular constructive criticism, it’s more likely to be taken on board than if it was given by a senior authority figure who sees little of the day-to-day performance of the employee. To make this type of scheme as effective, it’s helpful if the mentor is not the direct line manager of the mentee, making the feedback and suggestions more authentic.
Opportunities for Growth
An increasingly important attraction for top talent is upward mobility. Even at the interview stage, a candidate should know what the next 5-10 years would look like if they joined your firm. By laying out clear career progression paths, you can motivate employees to go the extra mile to secure the next step on the ladder.
Job title changes, salary increases, and regular promotions don’t only engage employees; they drive them forward and keep productivity levels high. Sometimes a new opportunity could be something as small as sitting in on a client meeting. Not only will that help you as an employer when the time comes for them to lead a client meeting, but it will make them feel like a valued part of your plans for the future.
Employee Retention is Critical Moving Forwards
The investment you make into retaining employees is dwarfed by what it would cost to replace them. Thus, not only is an investment into talent retention a good business strategy, it’s cost-effective too! In a competitive legal industry where open jobs have risen 141% in the last decade, can you afford not to?
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