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Key takeaways from the Powerplayers tour

In November of 2018, our managing partner Michelle Sneesby was invited to join 20 other entrepreneurs from all over Australia in a week long ‘Knowledge and Study PowerPlayers Tour’ held at California’s UCLA.

For Michelle, this was a huge step outside of her comfort zone – not only had she never been to University, she had never travelled on her own, nor had she ever left her children.

After the initial nerves wore off, Michelle and the other guests settled in and got to know one another, before commencing what Michelle called a ‘magical experience’ of new challenges, new learning, new experiences and new growth – both personally and professionally.

Michelle has boiled down a weeks worth of learning to five key takeaway points for those of us not lucky enough to be present at the PowerPlayers tour. Below are Michelle’s top takeaway points from the tour:


Be present – leave technology away when in a meeting.  Don’t allow phones or computers

The reality is, when people are allowed to bring computers or phones into a meeting, they won’t be focusing on the meeting or contributing to it either. Instead they will be emailing, surfing the web or just playing around with their technology.

A scientific study conducted of UCLA students noted that students who took notes by hand rather than using a computer or ipad had an increased understanding of concepts discussed. The study also noticed increased productivity levels among students using good old fashioned pen and paper. So next time you have a meeting, leave the laptop behind and instead opt for taking notes with a pen and paper – you just can’t argue with science!

Get 7 – 8 hours sleep every night – it’s more important than you think!

In some workplace cultures, working long hours and running on little to no sleep is worn as a badge of honor, but new research is proving that lack of sleep has hugely detrimental effects in the workplace. Sleep deprivation reduces alertness, cognition, and reaction time. Fatigue in the workplace can also lead to irritability, absenteeism, accidents, errors, injuries and even fatalities.

Culture is everything

Work culture is an intangible ecosystem that makes some workplaces great to work, and other places toxic. In a nutshell, the ideology of a organisation is what constitutes its work culture.

A positive work culture can make or maim an employees performance. No matter how talented or smart someone is, a person can work to the best of their capabilities and creative skills when surrounded by an encouraging environment that values human resource. Humans are fundamentally simple, and a positive workplace culture impacts the way they think, act and reflect.

Don’t discount your pricing – value the service you deliver

When you offer a discount on your product or service, what are you saying to your prospect? You’re saying that you don’t believe enough in what you’re selling to sell it for the standard price. Discounting can give customers the impression that the services offered aren’t worth paying for. Focus instead, on the value of the product you are selling, on the excellent services you deliver.

Have a plan

A plan is a critical tool used not only within a business, but also on a personal level.

Writing a plan forces disciplined thinking. An idea may sound great, but as your write down all the details and the numbers, it may fall apart. Specific, measurable planning is absolutely essential – excellent ideas can be completely useless if you cannot formulate, execute and implement a strategic plan to make your idea work.

Three top interview tips for employers

Professionals such as recruitment firms and HR managers use a range of interview techniques to determine a candidate’s suitability for a position.

Below are three top interview tips that you can use:With these techniques and a structured set of procedures you can conduct a thorough assessment of skills, temperament and experience. Read more

The Importance of an Employer Brand

Empoyer Branding

Attracting talent and retaining quality employees is becoming increasingly difficult for most organisations, including law firms. This is due to a shortage of skilled candidates, the lack of employee loyalty as well as the many opportunities that exist for lawyers to work overseas.

The question becomes how does a law firm position themselves and make themselves more desirable to future employees? In order to attract, retain and develop talent, the recruitment function should be viewed as an extension of the marketing function. Organisations (and law firms included) must have clear strategies regarding marketing their brand to existing and future employees. This is because your employees are the organisation’s best  form of advertising.

What is an employer brand?

An employer brand communicates the organisation’s culture, vision, reputation and value system. Therefore, anything that an organisation does e.g. how management communicates internally and how an organisation’s services are perceived in the marketplace, impacts on the employer brand. For an employer brand to be successful, the entire employment lifecycle (e.g. the interview process, on-boarding, induction, performance reviews, exit interviews) needs to be scrutinised and where necessary improved and enhanced. It must always be remembered that quality candidates will always have several options to choose from.

How can interviews portray employer brand?

When attracting talent, the first interview is crucial in communicating the employer brand. Interviews are always a two-way street and talented candidates do not move purely for an increase in remuneration. Candidates want to know about an organisation’s culture and philosophy and whether it is in line with their own value system, objectives and career goals.

What are the main reasons for employees leaving?

It is very clear that in today’s mobile workforce, retaining talented employees is just as challenging as attracting new talent. Therefore, an organisation’s leadership, the way it communicates to its staff and the opportunities within the organisation to develop and progress all impact on whether an employee will stay or jump to a competitor. The lack of training and development opportunities are the main motivators in employees leaving, not necessarily reward and remuneration. Keeping your staff motivated is one of the keys to low turnover as well as offering a workplace that is flexible and a management that is transparent in their decision-making.

How can a company improve their employer brand?

There are many ways for an employer to improve their employer brand. Here are 5 tips to help improve an employer brand:

  1. Undertake research (both internally and externally) regarding the way current and future employees perceive the experience of working at the firm;
  2. If you make a job offer and it is declined, find out why the candidate was not interested in working for the organisation;
  3. Conduct an audit of your organisation’s values and vision statement. It may be worthwhile to conduct a survey within the organisation to compare the value statement with the employee’s reality;
  4. Always ensure that your values, vision and philosophy are conveyed at every step of the recruitment process;
  5. Conduct an annual review of your employer brand and where necessary make changes to your organisation’s vision statement. This is where your staff’s feedback is useful.

The aim of every organisation is to be an ‘Employer of Choice’ and a strong employer brand will help a law firm or any organisation, attract and retain the best talent.

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Why you need a recruiter to get it right

Written by Libby Mizrahi (LLB) (Hons) – Recruitment Consultant (Legal Professional) Melbourne, VIC

Often we are asked about the benefit of using a recruitment agency. There are loads of recruitment agencies in Australia, which in itself can be confusing. It can be a bit like shopping in that you need to try a few before you find the one (or two) that really ‘get’ you.

With so many jobs being advertised and the horrible feeling of not being considered for the roles you apply directly for; a well-connected agent can be exactly what you need. So, how can your recruiter help you?

  • It’s what we do! We have the active positions across practice areas and industry knowledge about what’s happening in the market and potential opportunities.
  • We have long established market contacts throughout Australia and also further abroad!
  • We can support you with finding a position that is going to be the best fit for you, both career wise and personally.
  • We can help you with tailoring your resume so it has the impact you need it to.
  • We also assist with interview preparation to help you impress in an interview.
  • If you have questions that you don’t feel comfortable to ask directly we can help!
  • We can describe the culture of a firm to you to ensure that you make a fully informed decision.
  • We support you right through the initial days, weeks and months of your new role, you will always have a sounding board with us!

When people put their trust in us to help them with such an important decision in their career, it’s not something that we take lightly. Using an agent shouldn’t feel like an annoying middle person, it should instead feel like a new support network and be an excellent way of understanding the market you are tackling and increasing your chances of success.

 

Temp Etiquette – How to Pull Out of a Temp Assignment

Whether you’re in between permanent jobs, looking for some casual work while studying, or wanting to make some money before your next overseas trip, the flexibility that temping offers makes it a great option for job seekers in many different situations. But that doesn’t mean it should be taken for granted! In today’s job market, temp staff are a luxury, and businesses only use temps when they have stretched all other resources as far as they’ll go. quit-temp-assignment

So, if you’ve been lucky enough to secure some temp work but find that you’re no longer able to honour your commitment, here are a few tips to keep in mind to make sure you’re going about it the right way:

  1. Be up front right from the start. Whether you’ve secured an interview for a permanent position, you’ve got some holidays booked, or you have an exam coming up – let your recruiter know before agreeing to the assignment. It might seem insignificant at the time, but they can manage the process best if they have all the information.
  2. Be honest. Recruiters have heard all the excuses in the book – from family emergencies to hitting a kangaroo with your car! You will be more likely to be offered further temp work if you tell the truth about your reasons and own the situation.
  3. Pick up the phone. It might be easier to send through a quick email or text message, but do the right thing and make a phone call to your recruiter to let them know what’s happened.
  4. Give as much notice as possible. You can’t help it if you wake up on the day of your assignment feeling sick, but wherever possible, give your recruiter the opportunity to replace you so the client isn’t left in the lurch. Even if it’s after hours or on the weekend.

Keeping these simple things in mind will ensure you maintain a good relationship with your recruiter and are offered further assignments in the future.

Erin Horan
erin@legaleagles.careers

Why You Need a Recruiter to Get it Right

Why you need a recruiter to get it right by Emma Weeber LLB.

Often we are asked about the benefit of using a recruitment agency. There are loads of recruitment agencies in Australia, which in itself can be confusing. It can be a bit like shopping in that you need to try a few before you find the one (or two) that really ‘get’ you.

With so many jobs being advertised and the horrible feeling of not being considered for the roles you apply directly for; a well-connected agent can be exactly what you need. So, how can your recruiter help you?

  • It’s what we do! We have the active positions across practice areas and industry knowledge about what’s happening in the market and potential opportunities.
  • We have long established market contacts throughout Australia and also further abroad!
  • We can support you with finding a position that is going to be the best fit for you, both career wise and personally.
  • We can help you with tailoring your resume so it has the impact you need it to.
  • We also assist with interview preparation to help you impress in an interview.
  • If you have questions that you don’t feel comfortable to ask directly we can help!
  • We can describe the culture of a firm to you to ensure that you make a fully informed decision.
  • We support you right through the initial days, weeks and months of your new role, you will always have a sounding board with us!

When people put their trust in us to help them with such an important decision in their career, it’s not something that we take lightly. Using an agent shouldn’t feel like an annoying middle person, it should instead feel like a new support network and be an excellent way of understanding the market you are tackling and increasing your chances of success.

 

Emma Weeber LLB.

Email: emma@empiregroup.careers

Getting Recruitment Wrong? The Critical First Step You Need to Know

Getting Recruitment Wrong? The Critical First Step You Need to Know by Kara Plummer

 

Although fee-earners are sometimes reluctant to spare the time to do it, the smart ones will know that taking the time to provide HR with proper details of what they’re actually looking for will certainly increase the chances of recruiting and more importantly recruiting someone appropriate for the position. 

 

Obviously the job specification can change and evolve as the recruiting process progresses, but fee-earners taking the time up front to explain what they’re looking for will help enormously and prevent “stabbing in the dark” or you having to use your powers of ESP to work out what they want.  In addition, giving a detailed spec to recruiters will save you time as it will prevent you having to answer the same questions a thousand times over.  I’m sure you’ve all fielded multiple calls from recruiters trying to explain what the role is.

 

What do candidates really want to know before they consent?

 

Obviously this differs according to the level of the recruit, however for a lot of lawyers, they simply won’t consent unless they are given a detailed job specification.  When you’re talking about lawyers who are naturally cautious and risk adverse, and who are concerned about confidentiality, unless they are given a large amount of information about the role, it can be incredibly difficult to obtain consent to the particular role.

 

A practice area, level and name of partner won’t — in most circumstances— be enough for the candidate to consent.

 

Here’s an idea of what information is required to obtain consent from lawyers to go forward for a position:

 

  1. What team is it to work in?
  2. Who the role is to work for (whether it’s one partner in particular or a number of partners).
  3. The structure of the current team (this is obviously more important for more senior lawyers, but most would want an idea of who is in the team already.
  4. Why the team is looking to recruit?  Is it a replacement or expansion position?
  5. What salary you’re looking to pay for the role.
  6. Is there any particular experience the person needs?
  7. What experience is desirable for the role?
  8. Does the recruit need a specific academic background?
  9. What sort of personality would fit well in the team?
  10. When does the recruit need to ideally start?
  11. What sort of hours will lawyers be expected to work in the team?

 

If you have this information, things should be a lot easier.  It will also save you a lot of time if you have the information up front and not have to go backwards and forwards to the partner and candidates/recruiters with the information.

 

Kara Plummer

Senior Legal Professional Consultant

empire legal

kara.plummer@empiregroup.careers

Connect with Kara at https://au.linkedin.com/in/karaplummer

RETENTION MADE EASY – HIRE WELL TO START WITH

RETENTION MADE EASY – HIRE WELL TO START WITH

I am often asked by partners or business unit managers how to improve retention rates, or to turn it around the other way, how to reduce turnover. It is easy to forget that functional turnover is not the end of the world – the voluntary resignation, or managing out, of underperforming staff is ultimately good for the business. It is, however, costly and one of the best ways to avoid functional turnover is to hire the right people to start with.

We think about this issue a lot here at empire careers because that is our ultimate aim – to find you the right person for the job. So here are my top tips for making sure you hire the right person.

Don’t be in a rush to fill the role

In saying that, of course there is always a need to act quickly when you need to fill a role and we will respond to that. But please don’t recruit someone just because they have a pulse and have a bit of experience that is relevant.

Know your minimum requirements

Sit down and objectively write down what you are looking for in terms of expertise and skills.  Develop a ‘score’ card so that you can score the candidates you interview against those criteria. You might like to weight some things higher than others as well – for example, you might be seeking someone with, or with potential to develop, specialist accreditation, or another qualification. This will help you compare apples with apples.

Beware of your own biases

We all have bias – both positive and negative, and you need to be aware of them in the interview process.  Do you unconsciously favour someone for example that went to your alma mater? Do you subconsciously worry that a young woman sporting an engagement or wedding ring will abandon you to have babies? Do you dismiss applicants with foreign sounding names without interviewing them? Bringing out your own unconscious biases and being aware of them is a good way to minimise them.

Don’t hire someone too qualified

In the excitement of finding a candidate who has the right experience you’re looking for, but at a more senior level, you forget that you may not be able to offer them the challenge they need with the work you have, particularly if you already have three other people at that level in the firm. They may leave because the job did not meet their expectations or there is no career path for them.

Values based recruitment

What are the firm values? Does the candidate exhibit those same values? Use your behaviour based interviewing techniques to find out their values to make sure they align with yours.

Consider Executive Search

Often the right person for your role is happy and well paid somewhere else and not actively looking for a new job. Consider looking via a targeted search rather than advertising and you will be surprised who you might find!

Do you have any tried and true methods for hiring the right person the first time?

HOW TO BE A BETTER BOSS THIS YEAR

HOW TO BE A BETTER BOSS THIS YEAR

Here we are in mid January and before you know it, end of financial year invitations will be flooding your in-box, followed quickly by Christmas party invitations. As a supervisor what are your goals for 2016? What would you want your staff to be saying about you at the end of the year?

Here are my top four tips to be a better boss this year.BOSS

Don’t think of yourself as the boss

Yes, I know I used that word. But in reality, if you treat your staff as you would like to be treated yourself, and act as a team-mate, albeit one with greater authority, you will develop greater trust with your staff than if you regard yourself as their ‘boss’. This is not to say that you can’t, when the situation requires it, be the one in charge and make difficult decisions or have difficult conversations – how you do this will determine how you are viewed.

Communicate often and well

Tell your staff what is going on – with you, your work, the clients and the firm. Knowing the big picture, and what the stressors are, both internal and external, will allow staff to understand you in a much deeper way and promote stronger relationships. Partners often worry about telling staff too much – obviously very confidential matters can’t be discussed with staff, but if for example your firm is looking to expand its practice areas, you can discuss in general terms where you see the firm going.

Conduct your staff appraisals on time and with time

Your staff appraisals are very important – an opportunity to review progress against goals, give constructive feedback and set goals for the future. I know you have many to do – your staff member just has the one and it is important to them. Don’t put them off, whether you are giving good news or bad. And allow plenty of time to do it properly. Remember that appraisals are to cover off the last 12 months, not the last 2 weeks.!

Model best practice

Be flexible. Say thank you. Network like an Olympic champion. Deal with difficult issues promptly. Communicate. Delegate. Be generous. Model the behaviour you like to see in others and the behaviour you want your staff to emulate.

 

Mix it up in 2016 – we all have things we can do differently or better.

What can you do differently this year to enhance your performance as an employer?

HOW TO HANDLE MEETING DERAILERS

Meetings! They seem to take up a lot of time and sometimes achieve little. Internal meetings, in particular, while important, can be time consuming and involve a lot of people who don’t need to be there, or who don’t participate and shouldn’t be there.

A colleague sent me this the other day and it made me laugh out loud:


If you are in charge of an internal meeting here are the most common meeting derailers, and how to deal with them:

Latecomers

Some people are always late. Don’t wait for them; start the meeting at the designated time, unless they have advised in advance that they have been caught up in another meeting. In that case, advise the other meeting participants that the meeting will be starting late.

The Tangent takers

You have an agenda (you DO have an agenda, don’t you). Some people like to derail a meeting by going off on a tangent and take you down a path you don’t wish to take. As soon as you see this happening, bring the meeting back to the agenda and tell the group that if time that item will be dealt with at the end. If no time, either take it up in private or at another time.

The strong silent types

This is the person who sits in the meeting and says nothing. Oftentimes this person does actually have something to say, but waits until the meeting is over and says it to everyone else except you. Draw them out by asking for their opinion on the various agenda items. Or give them a heads up before the meeting that you would like their input on a particular item.

The over-talkers

Conversely, the over-talker likes to have something to say about every item on the agenda, even if they know nothing about it. Over-talkers need to be told politely that it is time to move on to the next item, or ask someone else for their views. Over-talkers are often interrupters as well. Be conscious of this, as it is not only rude, it will prevent others from speaking up if they are only going to be interrupted.

Passive aggressive pariahs

There is not enough time to talk about passive aggressive people in this blog post. They’re the ones who will say something like ‘Do you think that’s a good idea?’ with a concerned look on the face. What they are really saying is ‘I don’t think that’s a good idea’. They just don’t want to say it; they want to make you feel unsure about your direction. Best way to deal with this – turn it back on them. ‘Yes I do, but you clearly don’t. Tell me about that’.

Telecommunications twits

You know the type – constantly looking at their phones and responding to texts and emails. Or checking Facebook. Ask everyone to place his or her devices face down on the table, or place them in a bucket at the beginning of the meeting. Seriously – do it!

A productive meeting is a good meeting!