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How your value proposition can attract standout legal professionals to your law firm

Posted by: Lynn Sedgwick

The job market in 2020 was undeniably challenging and unpredictable with record redundancies of 14.2 per thousand recorded only last November. And, whilst there is much uncertainty as we look ahead – particularly amongst those industries hardest hit by the COVID pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, the Legal sector, particularly in the second half of last year, appears to be gaining momentum once again with proactive hiring in practice areas that require additional support due to demand or are victim to talent shortages more generally based on niche roles or specialisms.

Conveyancing, Private Client and Family in particular, are practice areas where we are witnessing demand outweigh supply – perhaps in part due to low inertia from those candidates and a genuine nervousness around change at a time when change itself has been the only constant.

Nevertheless, Law Firms that are beginning to future gaze and take actions today that will impact business and the bottom line in the next few months have two clear strategies to implement and/or refine – particularly in those sectors that have live jobs but are simply not getting the interest from talent in the market: retention and recruitment.

Retention and a Renewed Focus on the EVP

Robust staff retention and attrition strategies for Law Firms are imperative in competitive sectors, particularly those that have a short supply of qualified professionals within the region or in that practice area. We highlighted last year how firms can retain their talent during a skills shortage, and businesses that invest in developing their ‘Employee Value Proposition’ (EVP) will certainly benefit from employee engagement, advocacy for the firm and brand, and turn the heads of additional talent that they’re looking to hire.

But what is EVP? And why is it worth investing in developing this within your Law Firm?

Pioneer of employer branding research globally, Brett Minchington defines EVP as “a set of associations and offerings provided by an organization in return for the skills, capabilities and experiences an employee brings to the organization.” In simple terms, a unique set of benefits that a legal professional receives in return for the skilled work that they do. However, a focus on ‘perks and pay’ just won’t cut the mustard any longer with a savvy workforce that simply demands more from their employer.

As standard, this may include a distinct focus in the following areas:

Remuneration & Rewards

At a basic level this would include the main hygiene factors of a fair pay packet as well as a considered bonus structure and any other performance-related or behaviour driven reward schemes.

Workload

Aside from job descriptions and the day-to-day expectations of the role profile, looking more generally at the variety of work on offer, levels of autonomy and whether the work gives the employee a sense of pride and purpose. Employees benefit hugely from knowing that the work they do has a positive impact on the rest of the business – so communications channels that focus on this transparency are hugely beneficial.

Career Progression

At the heart of any retention strategy should be a focus on endorsing ‘moving up’ to mitigate moving on. And, whilst progressing ‘up’ a corporate ladder may not be for every legal professional, a strong EVP would have clear routes of progression to cover all bases – lateral moves, cross-departmental exposure, and internal mobility as well as personal development matched to individuals own goals and aspirations.

Internal Culture

The culture of any business is always inherently hard to articulate, yet it is often a driver and motivation for moving on if it is not defined or indeed experienced by the workforce. Employees will consider the Firm’s values – whether they are not only communicated but ‘lived’ by their colleagues. The beliefs and behaviour of employees and management and how they interact internally and externally with clients and stakeholders will also impact the type of cultural framework the business has. Mobilising these factors to actively monitor and manage culture over time is key.

Employer Brand

A strong employer brand undoubtedly aids recruitment strategies to attract top-tier candidates – and it is instrumental as part of the wider EVP. Employees will be always mindful of market position and reputation, as well as prestige amongst their professional networks. Employees, perhaps more so in the last decade, are engaged by laser-sharp Corporate and Social Responsibility programmes that give the organisation (and their work) purpose, a sense of worth and impact on the wider society.

Whilst the above is by no means exhaustive, Law Firms who have a clear value proposition that is informed by, and experienced by their employees will undoubtedly have competitive advantage – mitigating flight risk internally and creating standout in the market.

Employer Branding, EVP, and Recruitment

It goes without saying that if a Legal Practice has an established and valued EVP that is unique and compelling, it is also a key driver of talent attraction. It provides a consistent platform to communicate the benefits of working at the firm that goes far beyond a job advertisement.

In a report from 2019 Deloitte looked specifically at what employees want and there is much written about distilling employment packages in a way that attract individuals to an organisation, with the intention of keeping that expertise engaged and preserved. Perhaps in a post-COVID world such factors will evolve once more to address the seismic changes we have seen in how legal professionals work, and how things like culture and internal brand can be measured and driven when remote working has replaced Boardroom meetings, and firms rise to the challenge of engagement through previously under-utilised digital channels.

It is certainly clear from conversations that we have daily with Law Firms across the country that many are actively rethinking their talent strategies at all stages of the employee lifecycle – to attract, engage and retain skilled professionals in a competitive, if a little turbulent, job market.

If you are actively searching for legal talent, we’d love to speak to you about your employer proposition that we can really sell to our pool of active candidates. Contact us or call the office 01772 259121 to speak to one of our experienced legal consultants for more information on how our exceptional recruitment experience can enhance your hiring strategy.

 

About Clayton Legal 

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and during that time has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability. We have made over 5,000 placements from partners to legal executives, solicitors to paralegals and legal IT personnel to practice managers.

If you are building your legal team or looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121.

If you would like to access our free guides, view them all here.

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