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.

8 Things for Employers to Do This Year

The first month of the year is gone and before you know it will be the end of the financial year, then time for Christmas party invitations.  As an employer, what will 2015 bring for you?  Will you be the person your staff look forward to seeing when they come to work?  Will your staff be engaged, happy and willing to go the extra mile for you?8 things for employers

Here are eight easy things you can resolve to do in 2015:

Conduct your staff appraisals on time – don’t put them off, whether you are giving good news or bad.  And remember that appraisals are to cover off the last 12 months, not the last 2 weeks.  And if someone is not performing, before you leap into performance management consider whether coaching or mentoring will be of benefit first.

Review your policies – check that they are up to date and reflect your firm values and promote you as an employer of choice. Are you able to exercise discretion if needs be in situations of hardship?

Review salaries on the basis of gender and level – are you sure your staff are paid based on merit?  Conducting a comparative review of salaries based on year level and gender will show you where there are problems if you have a staff member at risk of leaving, and also if there are discrepancies based on gender.  Ask yourself honestly if differences are really based on performance or bias.

Deal with complaints or allegations of improper conduct immediately – remember the standard you walk past is the standard you accept. If someone trusts you to open up to you about a concern they have with someone else’s behaviour, don’t betray that trust by not confronting it.

Adopt the Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation mental health guidelines ( – review where you are and honestly commit to where you want to be.  Open up a conversation with one of your staff members if you are concerned about their mental health.

Make your promotion procedures transparent – are your promotions criteria and the performance criteria for senior associate and partner known?   Some firms keep this a deep dark secret but transparency of process and standards has a lot going for it. It allows for honest conversations about promotional prospects and gives staff something to aim for.

Keep your stars engaged and stretched intellectually – if you have a star performer, it is imperative to make sure they are not only engaged, but busy and also stretched intellectually.  Introduce them to clients, give them responsibility, and stretch assignments to give them new skills and a challenge.

Commit to flexible working – Flexible work is the way of the future.  It is the way of work now for many workplaces.  Don’t be left behind.  Check your own assumptions and biases about how people work.  Commit to measuring output not hours in the office.  For roles that genuinely require attendance in the office offer flexibility in terms of start and finish times.  Your generosity will be rewarded with loyalty.

Doing things the way you have always done them will result in the same output.  What can you do differently this year to enhance your performance as an employer?