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Thomson Reuters
Law firm management

Attracting and retaining top talent at your firm

Image Credit: REUTERS/Mike Blake

In the wake of COVID-19, the modern workforce embraced the Great Resignation of 2021, leaving their jobs en masse for a variety of reasons. This movement was closely followed by the Great Realisation, wherein workers reevaluated their workplace priorities when seeking new positions.

As companies adapt to changes in workforce attitudes, attracting and retaining talent are top of mind. To achieve these goals, law firms must adapt to several new workforce demands.

Attract top talent to your firm

One of the effects of the Great Realisation is a workforce that has reevaluated its priorities. As the UK experiences its highest quit rate since 2009, employees are seeking roles that satisfy a majority of their professional and work-life balance goals. Companies can take advantage of the Great Realisation by addressing the modern workforce’s needs when attracting talent to their firms.

Clearly communicate with firm applicants

One way to attract and retain good talent is by giving potential hires as much information as necessary to best evaluate their potential for a given role. At the same time, law firms should also gauge candidates’ workplace and career priorities as they may vary due to the Great Realisation. To improve communications with job applicants, law firms should consider:

  • Training your firm’s recruiter to communicate well on behalf of the firm and vet applicants based on the firm’s preliminary criteria
  • Incorporating interview questions that seek to clarify a candidate’s workplace priorities
  • Communicating the firm’s mission statement, core values, and vision for the future to applicants
  • Detailing clear job responsibilities, duties, and other key metrics in job descriptions
  • Outlining what a candidate can expect from the interviewing process from start to finish
  • Asking candidates for questions, input, and feedback during and after rounds of interviews
  • Giving information about your firm’s career ladder and opportunities for growth within the firm

Optimise your hiring process with regular engagement

The way a firm structures its interviewing process can either help or hinder its efforts to attract strong talent. Strategic processes will incorporate various individuals to provide a well-rounded view of the firm. Each interviewer will ideally ask different questions or broach different topics so that more information is gathered and candidates will not feel interview fatigue. Engaging with applicants frequently, providing updates, and scheduling further rounds of interviews promptly will go a long way in showing candidates that your firm is well-organised and efficient.

Keep top talent by adhering to timelines

Be sure to adhere to the timelines provided to candidates concerning the interviewing process; a failure to do so may give off a negative impression of your firm. Try to avoid missing or rescheduling rounds of interviews when possible. When nearing the end of the interviewing process, aim to meet your firm’s timeline for filling a given position. As the workforce continues to reshuffle, you can assume that top talent will be receiving and reviewing offers quickly. If you are interested in a given candidate, act quickly to extend your offer while remaining open to ongoing communications about the role.

How to retain law firm associates

The next steps firms can take will aim to retain associates and avoid law firm turnover. This will involve reviewing and potentially revising your firm’s policies and practices surrounding associate retention. Doing so may involve reevaluating your firm’s culture, quality of support functions, and collaborative leadership opportunities.

Address lawyer burnout before it happens

Large workloads are contributing to feelings of anxiety, depression, and low moods among UK lawyers. The lawyer burnout rate is especially high for young lawyers. One way to retain talented employees is to address lawyer burnout before it happens. Many lawyers report that a collaborative, face-to-face work environment can boost morale. At the same time, flexible work hours, wherein lawyers do not need to be available for work around the clock, can also help alleviate feelings of burnout.

Consider work-life balance for lawyers

Another way to retain talent is by reconsidering what constitutes a healthy work-life balance at your firm. Today’s workforce prioritises flexibility in their work schedules, reasonable time off, and the option to work from home. Making adjustments to work schedule requirements, paid time off, sick leave, your vacation policy, and remote work opportunities can help address the work-life balance concerns many workers are prioritising now.

Law firm culture’s role in retaining top talent

Company culture can play a major role in an associate’s decision to leave in search of new opportunities elsewhere. Large workloads and “Zoom fatigue” can be mitigated by incorporating collaborative and face-to-face interactions between departments or teams. Thoroughly onboarding and immersing new hires into the firm can also help build stronger bonds between employees. Firms can also take regular surveys to gauge employee satisfaction and make adjustments when common trends arise in the responses.

Align talent recruiting and retention efforts with lawyer priorities

The Great Realisation has led to a worldwide re-evaluation of workers’ priorities, prompting law firms to adjust to attract and retain talent. Changes in the legal industry continue to be guided by what workers and employers want. To get ahead, law firms should consider how they can best accommodate these changes; watch the Great Resignation webinar to learn more.

Click here to watch the webinar “Stop the Great Resignation” and learn more about the changing nature of work-life balance.

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