Keep your lawyers happy!

Retaining top talent should be a priority for every firm. Turnover is costly in terms of training time, lost work, employee morale – not to mention unhappy clients. With the candidate market for lawyers increasingly tight, it is more important than ever to keep your lawyers happy! By providing a clear career track and support to enable their best work can only be to the benefit of your clients and your firm.

Here are four approaches to consider in ensuring your firm culture is optimised to retain your top performers.

1. Focus on employee experience

Considering the employee experience is essential to keeping your lawyers loyal and happy. Susan Peters, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at General Electric, defines the employee experience “simply as seeing the world through the eyes of our employees, staying connected, and being aware of their major milestones and the physical environment our employees work in, the tools and technologies that enable their productivity, and learning to achieve their best at work.”

Essentially, focusing on employee experience ensures that a firm goes beyond a one-size-fits-all approach to hiring and culture and caters a career track suited to maximizing the potential of each employee. This may mean understanding the differing needs of baby boomers, Gen-X/Y and millennials.

2. Prioritise employee engagement throughout the organisation

According to research by Gallup, only 13% of employees globally are engaged at work. This presents a significant cost to employers. Gallup’s research, which included nearly 1.9 million employees, confirmed a strong connection between employee engagement and key performance outcomes, including: customer ratings, profitability, productivity, turnover (for high-turnover and low-turnover organisations), safety incidents, shrinkage (theft), absenteeism, patient safety incidents and quality (defects).

Engagement is all about empowering managers and employees to effect positive change to their workplace.

“It should go without saying, if the person who works at your company is 100 percent proud of the brand and you give them the tools to do a good job and they are treated well, they’re going to be happy,” Richard Branson told Inc. magazine.

3. Recognition costs nothing

This might seem obvious, but showing appreciation for a task well done, a client kept happy or a crisis averted is cheap, easy and needs nothing more than a word of thanks or an appreciative email.

Some employees prefer a public accolade – a mention during a meeting, reflecting validation in the eyes of their peers – while others thrive from a quiet word of thanks in private. Public praise, however, serves the additional purpose of demonstrating to the team what kind of initiative is useful.

4. Provide workplace flexibility

Outcomes matter, not time in the daily grind. Offering employees the option of working remotely, working around school hours or only coming in when necessary can mean you retain a top talent while still achieving the results the business needs. As the global workforce shifts towards contingent and contract workers – the ‘gig economy’ – flexible workplaces will increasingly become the norm. Like so many other workplace practices, it’s vital not to be left behind – especially with NewLaw emphasising outcomes-driven work and flexible work practices.

The cost of unhappy employees

The costs of not keeping good employees happy are high. A study by the Society for Human Resource Management suggests that employers need to spend six to nine months of an employee’s salary to find and train their replacement – for a lawyer on $150,000, this equates to a cost of $75,000 to $112,500 for the firm.

Optimising the employee experience will be an easier shift for smaller firms and businesses. However, with the candidate market tight, employers will need to prioritise keeping employees happy more than ever.

Talk to us today about how we can assist you in finding top talent to fill your next role, email [email protected] or phone (02) 9555 5711.

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