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 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.
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.
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 & 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.
There are many ways for an employer to improve their employer brand. Here are just a few practical tips:
Undertake research (both internally and externally) regarding the way current and future employees perceive the experience of working at the firm;
If you make a job offer and it is declined, find out why the candidate was not interested in working for the organisation;
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;
Always ensure that your values, vision and philosophy are conveyed at every step of the recruitment process;
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.