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From Intent to Inertia: Why Some Law Firms Struggle To Uphold their New Year’s Resolutions

  • February 6, 2024

From Intent to Inertia: Why Some Law Firms Struggle To Uphold their New Year’s Resolutions

With the first month of the new year now in the bag, it is highly probable that those ‘New Year’ resolutions set at the back end of 2023 have already been broken – at least those set on a personal level where exercise or the quitting of bad habits are usually top of those lists.

In this regard, it is estimated that as many as 80% of people fail to keep their resolutions by February, with only a mere 8% seeing them through for the entirety of the year.

A 4000-year Old Tradition

The act of setting goals at the start of a new calendar year is reported to date back to Ancient Babylonians some 4000 years ago where ‘debts were promised to be paid to gods and borrowed objects returned’. And, whilst the new year promises were deeply entwined with religion and mythology, the premise of a ‘new beginning’ is one that has carried through for many thousands of years.

While resolutions are often associated with personal goals, they hold equal importance when it comes to business – especially around setting annual objectives and reflecting on the overall strategy in an ever-changing environment where continual review of the road ahead is crucial.

Most businesses will review their new year plans in quarter four when typically, there is enough information to reflect back on metrics and KPIs for the current year, assess whether or not objectives will be hit, and allow some wiggle room to re-calibrate and focus on ending the year on a high.

Objectives or ‘new year resolutions’ therefore have likely long been set at this juncture – and for those firms set on a growth trajectory, these will likely include executing hiring plans as well as a laser-sharp focus on staff retention.

Are Your Business Resolutions Still on Track?

At the stroke of midnight on 1st January, and the subsequent return to the office after the festive break, law firms will no doubt have set their sights kickstarting the 2024 objectives with intent. However, as the first quarter unfolds, it appears that some legal practices may be encountering obstacles in adhering to their hiring-focused resolutions.

Even one calendar month down the line, and then as the year progresses, it’s essential for law firms to reassess their hiring objectives, adapt to unforeseen challenges, and remain committed to the path of growth – especially when you consider a recent statistic that 75% of UK businesses are in a state of ‘existence’ or just surviving.

So what areas should firms be focussed on to ensure their well-intentioned goals remain on track?

Streamline (and Standardise) Your Hiring Process:

The aspiration to streamline hiring processes and avoid past mistakes holds promise, but the intricate decision-making within law firms can pose challenges. If you recruit regularly, it is worth looking to standardise processes where possible, albeit not at the detriment to the often-unique experiences of each individual candidate that comes into contact with the firm. An ethical approach to recruitment is recommended here – and is becoming a non-negotiable in the current candidate-led market.

Enhance Diversity Efforts:

Despite the emphasis on diversity and inclusion, some law firms may struggle to make significant progress due to ingrained practices and a lack of comprehensive strategies. Overcoming unconscious biases and fostering an inclusive environment requires continuous effort, which may not be progressing as rapidly as intended. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) are not just buzzwords or an acronym to add to your customer-facing marketing; they are essential components of a successful business strategy of any firm that aims to remain competitive. As the glue that keeps social dynamics within a business and in turn, team competence and efficacy functioning at its highest capacity, it is indispensable to your hiring strategy, whatever your recruitment goals or objectives may be, and when done right, it can be instrumental in keeping your talent attraction and retention efforts on track.

It is perhaps concerning then, that firms are yet to treat it as more than an emerging trend in practice, and some go only as far as paying lip service when professing to make it a central part of their recruitment efforts. If you’re serious about taking your hiring game to the next level in 2024, then this is a great place to start. We look at how to build a DEI strategy that supercharges your recruitment efforts here.

 

Revisit Your Job Descriptions:

Job descriptions may be overlooked as daily legal tasks take precedence. Busy schedules can result in insufficient attention to crafting comprehensive and appealing job descriptions, making it difficult to attract top-tier talent.

However, as the hiring landscape evolves, legal candidates still rely on engaging, informative, and powerful job descriptions to assess whether or not they are a fit for their career aspirations and professional development. The best job descriptions go beyond skill requirements, offering a glimpse into firm culture and showcasing benefits that matter to the market’s top talent.

As law firms forge ahead with hiring initiatives, the importance of making your voice shine amidst the noise becomes increasingly important. If you want to turn the heads of the right people from the get-go and avoid a ‘square peg in a round hole’ scenario with regard to your hiring efforts, then your job descriptions must be compelling, engaging and effective enough to attract the market’s top talent. Find out more about how to craft a winning job description here.

Harness the Potential of Social Media:

The traditionally conservative legal industry may find it challenging to fully embrace the power of social media. The time and resources required for maintaining an active and engaging social media presence can be overwhelming for firms, leading to a lapse in this resolution, however, love it or loathe it – the fact remains that legal professionals will research the whole digital footprint of a firm as part of their decision-making process.

If you have the core channels set up and active, it’s always worth a holistic review of things like your bio information, and your wider content strategy. What kind of things do you communicate? Do you share information that gives visitors to those platforms a good idea of your working environment and culture? Is it obvious how you celebrate success? Can you utilise the voice of your existing employees to focus on things like career development?  A social media strategy is usually easy to flex and improve as and when you need to, so if that review wasn’t part of your new-year resolution, it’s always worth finding the time to conduct your due-diligence and ensure that your channels are working as hard as they can to put your best foot forward to those in the active talent pools.

Invest in Training and Upskilling:

Despite recognising the importance of investing in staff development, law firms may face budget constraints or a lack of suitable training programs. This can hinder the execution of the resolution to upskill existing staff – something that will no doubt be on the agendas of businesses up and down the country as the much-documented skills shortage becomes a harsh reality.

Similarly, what legal professionals look for in an employer has changed significantly since the pandemic and the value of career fulfillment has become a staple part of the modern legal professional’s priorities when searching for the ideal employer.

The notion of the one-employer-career has changed dramatically in recent years, and it’s not at all uncommon for legal professionals to be left with a lingering sense of stagnation after spending a few years building their skills in their current role, and consequently view the option of jumping ship as the only way to experience real progress in their career.

The resulting high turnover rate is what has brought the idea of Employee Development Plans into focus for law firms, with an aim to ensure ongoing employability through improving the individual’s workplace soft and hard skills, and industry knowledge. A good plan will strive to create a series of actions designed to help the individual develop and grow within the context of their legal career, while also developing their capabilities and meeting the needs of the employer.

Build and Maintain Brand Image:

Building and maintaining a strong brand image demands consistent effort and resources. Law firms may find it challenging to allocate sufficient time and funds to enhance their brand, especially when immediate client needs take precedence.

Candidates believe in what they can see now more than ever, and in an age where information is easily accessible online, maintaining a strong brand and a good reputation is essential for attracting and retaining top legal talent. Prospective candidates will research a firm as much as the firm will investigate the candidates’ qualifications and qualities and should your credibility fall short as an employer you can be filtered out of shortlists before a CV or profile is even read.

A proactive approach is therefore essential in order to positively influence one’s brand and reputation in the market, whether that be by building a workforce that acts as ambassadors that champion the business values, or convincingly demonstrating that your business does indeed walk the walk when it comes to employee satisfaction. Click here to find out more about how you can tap into the potential your employer brand carries and catalyse its growth.

Consider How Flexible You Can Afford to Be:

One might say that the hybrid working drum has been beaten to death ever since its meteoric rise in popularity among legal candidates during the pandemic. It’s hardly a secret to anyone keeping a close eye on the state of play across the industry over the last few years, and most if not all firms competing for the best talent available on the market will be well aware of just how highly sought after flexibility is by the talent pool in their current market.

And yet, this topic of flexibility remains a sticking point with some employers today, and as a result a barrier to rather than a buttress for hiring success. While that is in part due to expected challenges in marrying candidate and business demands, it is also due to the general rigidity legal employers are known to have towards changes to traditional modus operandi in general. When competition for talent is fiercer than ever before, can your firm afford to be flexible when it comes to working arrangements?

Ultimately, the crux of your success in your hiring efforts will come down to how well you can provide the best employee experience better than your competitors (and back it up). If it is indeed a viable option for your business then it should absolutely be part of your recruitment – and retention – strategy.  We take a deeper look at this and much more here.

In Conclusion:

With almost 11 months left of the year, arguably it is still all to play for when it comes to adherence to your annual business objectives. If however, the roadmap to growth has already hit some bumps in the road, especially when it comes to talent attraction, utilising the services of legal recruitment specialists will undoubtedly get those plans back on track with renewed insight about current market conditions and the movement of talent within your region and/or practice area.

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 or email us here.

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6 Ways to Make Attracting Legal Talent Easier in 2024

  • January 29, 2024

Following the pandemic businesses across the legal industry have gradually started to find their feet, slowly but surely accepting and adapting to the multitude of changes the post-pandemic market has thrust on our shoulders. Employers have recognised and respected the change in status quo concerning the expectations set out in current client and employee demands and seem to be reworking their hiring strategies accordingly to keep up.

Last year however, it wasn’t quite the year of progress many would’ve envisioned, and while it’s certainly true that finding the right legal talent in today’s market is rarely ever a straightforward task, many will agree that few years have brought more challenges when it came to both the recruitment AND retention of top talent.

According to a report released last year by Vacancysoft and Search, 2023 was a less active year than anticipated for the UK’s top law firms with vacancies down 35.5% year-on-year. And, even as hiring appetite increases as a new year takes hold, according to the Wolters Kluwer ‘Future Ready Lawyer 2023’ Report, recruitment and retention are likely to still be key challenges for the legal industry in the next 3 years, one that legal professionals “are not yet ready to overcome.” A similar concern for the general outlook on recruitment in the coming years was also echoed by the International Bar Association in their IBA legal agenda, listing talent attraction and retention as one of the biggest challenges to businesses in the sector, due to the changing demands and priorities of younger legal professionals, in particular work-life balance and a greater sense of purpose in the work they do on a day-to-day basis.

For any firm intent on growth this year, there is therefore no better time than now to put your recruitment process under the microscope and lay the groundwork needed for it be successful – particularly against a backdrop of continued economic uncertainty and a skills shortage still prevalent in the sector.

Recruitment can be, and often is, a laborious and multi-faceted process, but here are 7 steps to ensure you start on the right path this coming year >>>

1. A Focus on Flexibility

A direct and perhaps one of the biggest consequences of the widely reported skills shortage is the sudden shift of the industry towards a more digital tech-oriented manner of working and the incorporation of such tools into legal practice – something that’s sure to change demand for certain skillsets within the legal profession. What is poignant about this fact however, is how it will actually emphasise the need for soft skills in the near future. With AI technology set to spearhead the streamlining of legal procedures and more work to be commoditised, what will be highly sought after by legal employers skills-wise is the ability to deal with human beings, and the qualities that best serve that purpose.

However, if some of the inflexibility found in firms across the sector continues to persist, the search for talent of this calibre will only get harder. A paper published last year by Harvard Business School and Accenture revealed that a huge number of skilled hidden workers are shut out of employment simply due to the lack of flexibility present among employers today. Law firms risk being oblivious to the reservoir of talent right under their noses if they fail to adapt to the changing demands of legal professionals.

It therefore serves your firm far better to begin looking at how you can better serve the candidates you want working at your firm. Whether this requires a sit-down with your recruitment team to discuss how such accommodations can be made and communicated throughout the hiring process or a talk with your management team to improve existing firm practices to better support its employees, it is a must for any firm seeking to remain attractive to prospective candidates.

2. Update Your Hiring Strategy With a Focus on Candidate Care

As you begin to rework your hiring and firm practices with your candidates in mind, the central theme of empathy should be the thread that runs throughout your hiring process, as this is what virtually all job seekers are looking for at the end of the day.

Show your candidates you have their best interests in mind and are invested in delivering the right level of support at every stage of the application process, by implementing strategies for better candidate care. This could involve simplifying interview processes to enhance accessibility through the option of flexible interview locations or the use of screen readers during assessments. This could be especially ideal if you’re looking to hire remote and hybrid employees.

Remember to implement and establish channels of communication with your candidates throughout the hiring process too. Regular communication is key to a good candidate experience.

3. Refine Your Employer Brand

Your employer brand is what gives your law firm the edge over the competition in your search for legal talent. It’s how you ensure you appeal to candidates with what your firm has to offer, whether that be an excellent salary and benefit options, a sense of purpose, shared values or great career development opportunities.

Despite its recognised importance in any successful hiring endeavour today, many law firms still struggle to utilise it effectively to position themselves in front of their target audience. If you find yourself questioning the efficacy of your brand, then a good starting point will be to define what makes people actually want to work with you. Ask your team members what convinced them to continue with your firm, and what they find most appealing about working there.

  • Do you have a supportive leadership team?
  • Does your firm offer excellent opportunities for professional development and growth?
  • Does it foster an employee-centric culture that eliminates many of the problems legal professionals encounter in the workplace, such as burnout?

Once you know what makes your business unique, the next step is to get it publicised as much as possible.

Don’t forget that existing employees can help here – particularly those that are engaged and are already good advocates for the business and brand.

By giving them a voice to provide prospective candidates with insights into the employee experience, you add much more credibility to your message and get the attention of the right individuals. Use testimonials, success stories and positive feedback to your advantage and make them known on social media as often as possible to expand your reach.

4. Review Your Digital Footprint

Establishing a compelling employer brand is pivotal for attracting top legal talent, but its effectiveness hinges on strategic exposure to the right audience. A strong digital presence is essential for any law firm in the industry today. Presently, approximately 86% of job seekers incorporate social media into their job search, and prospective legal candidates frequently turn to the web for insights into a firm’s culture through reviews.

Ensuring that your website provides an insider’s perspective on your business operations is crucial for the credibility and authenticity of your employer brand. Clearly articulate your values, mission statement, and vision to engage the interest of potential candidates while maintaining a consistent presence across the social channels frequented by your target candidates. Don’t forget to assess and update your appearance on job review boards too.

5. Spark the Interest You Want Through Your Job Descriptions

Your job descriptions are one of the first things potential candidates will examine when deciding whether they want to work with you. With this in mind, it’s important to ensure you’re conveying the right information. Don’t make the mistake of putting off talented legal employees by listing too many unnecessary or “preferred” skills.

Highlight only the characteristics and qualities you know you’re going to need most. At the same time, make sure you’re avoiding any language in your descriptions that may show unintentional bias towards a specific audience.

When writing your descriptions, don’t forget to showcase reasons why your candidates might want to work for you. Draw attention to your unique company culture, your salary package, and even the available training opportunities in place.

More help to ensure these turn the heads of the right people can be found here.

6. Bring in the Experts

When it comes to attracting legal talent, undoubtedly the best tool you can possibly have in your arsenal is the services of an expert in the field – one that takes the time to understand your firm’s business needs, and acts with your best interests at heart, while giving you the support you need at every step of the process. This is what makes the expertise of a legal recruitment partner so invaluable for hirers as not only can they position your business in front of the right legal candidates – a task becoming increasingly harder by the day in today’s market – but they also work with you to build a talent pipeline and ensure your recruitment process remains efficient and effective even when not actively hiring.

Amongst several other benefits that come with such partnerships, perhaps one of the most beneficial is that the longer you work with them, the better they can understand the needs of your firm, and the better the fit and quality of candidates they can find for your business as a result.

At Clayton Legal, we work with law firms such as yours to make this a reality, no matter the staffing requirement asked of us, and are committed to adding real value to the businesses that partner with us for their hiring needs. Our team make it their mission to ensure you get nothing less than the support and the talent you need to make your recruitment endeavours successful – and are on hand to provide guidance throughout the process wherever necessary.

If you are currently weighing up your options and feel that your hiring efforts could do with a little extra help from a recruitment expert then there is no better time than now to get in touch with our team for an informal chat about how we could help. Give us a ring on 01772 259 121 today or contact us here.

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 or email us here.

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Why Every Law Firm Needs an Employee Development Plan

What legal professionals look for in an employer has changed significantly since the pandemic, with work-life balance being the theme that has taken centre stage in job discourse amongst legal candidates. As the importance of employee satisfaction has grown massively in recent years – whether that be in the form of hybrid working or strong DEI practices – the value of career fulfilment has become a staple part of the modern legal professional’s priorities when searching for the ideal employer. 

Today it’s not at all uncommon for employees to be left with a lingering sense of stagnation after spending a few years building their skills in their current role, and consequently view the option of jumping ship as the only way to experience real progress in their career, in part due to the negligence of their employers to ensure their continued growth with a long term development plan of any sort.

The resulting high turnover rate is what has brought the idea of Employee Development Plans into focus for law firms, as it provides a range of solutions that can benefit all parties on an individual, collective and corporate level. Such plans centres on work-related skill development, and is owned by both the employee and the line manager. As a continuing process that is consistently and regularly reviewed and updated, an EDP should aim to ensure ongoing employability through improving the individual’s workplace soft and hard skills, and industry knowledge. A good plan will strive to create a series of actions designed to help the individual develop and grow within the context of their legal career, while also developing their capabilities and meeting the needs of the employer. 

 EDP: Goal & Objective

As mentioned above, the goal of Employee Development Plans is not just to meet the needs of the individual – when done right it should also help employers effectively tackle the problems that are brought about by a lack of professional and career growth, the biggest of which, is replacing key skills and people your team without having to invest so heavily. The difficulty of doing so in today’s market is no secret to any Hiring Manager or Partner and while utilising the services of a specialist legal recruitment agency can mitigate this, it is still very much advisable to eliminate other causes of persistent turnover issues by demonstrating a genuine commitment to your employees’ professional development. This in turn will create and facilitate a productive workforce that gives back that same level of commitment across the business because it: 

  • Meets their career/professional needs. 
  • Provides that sense of security and support they need from their employer to thrive as individuals. 

It also ensures your firm doesn’t constantly run the risk of being hit by a skills shortage, and helps avoid additional costs involved in recruiting, onboarding and training up new staff. 

 With the importance of an Employee Development Plan in a firm’s people strategy now established, let us look at what makes a great EDP. 

How To Create A Great Employee Development Plan 

 There are 6 key points to consider when mapping out Employee Development Plans, and although not exhaustive, are certainly a good place to start:

1. Where does the skill gap lie?

  •  Begin with an audit of the individual’s skills and see how their existing skillset aligns with the demands of their current role. You’ll want to consider how your clients’ needs have changed over time, what skills the role will demand of the individual in question and how the role will develop/evolve based on this. Knowing where the employee needs to be at the end of the training will enable you to measure progress, and gauge what the next step forward will be at each stage. 

 2. What training and development is required? 

  •  Leading on from the initial skills audit & your vision of the role, your next step should be to establish what the employee’s personal and professional goals are. This is important because it encourages them to develop a holistic view of their own growth. Remember that the goal at this stage is alignment between their professional goals and the business needs, and the best way to achieve this is to have employee buy-in right from the start. Having them understand their perspective on where their competencies, capabilities and flaws lie, as well as how to build a training plan that addresses all aspects of their growth makes them more likely to be invested in an EDP. 

 3. Building Your Action Plan: 

  •  The next area of focus should be the training itself – what training courses, qualifications or knowledge the employee will need. The 70/20/10 rule can prove helpful in this regard – 70% of learning should come from experience on-the-job, 20% from other colleagues and 10% from training and courses. This is important as it helps the individual avoid viewing the training as separate to their daily work lives. Any training scheduled should be built into the role itself or based on already established relationships with others. 

 4. Why this needs to be done: 

  • Transparency and communication of long-term goals helps to instil a sense of belonging and ownership in the employee. Making them aware of how their learning and development will benefit not only their own career but also the wider business can provide them with clear guidelines and focus on how they can contribute in their role. It will also give them a sense of place – how they fit into the firm as a whole – and help them build a sense of pride in their work. T his in turn will fuel productivity and accountability for their own progress in their training.  

5. When is it needed? 

  •  It is advisable for managers and employees to have agreed achievement milestones put into place. These can reflect the overall aims of your legal firm where appropriate. Monitor progress regularly to encourage and provide direction to the individual, and to show support on their journey. 

 6. How can progress be measured? 

  •  Methods for measuring training and development can be in the form of formal appraisals, informal meetings and open discussions. The method chosen may depend on the goal(s) and the timeliness set. For short-term training it may be appropriate to have a 1:1 with the employee at an agreed time (for example, after completion of a training course). For more long-term goals, or where several employees require the same upgrading of knowledge, it might be more beneficial to have an open discussion on progress. 

 Staying Ahead to Stay on Course 

 A regular and thorough review of the latest and most relevant, procedural and practice development processes is paramount to the continuity and eventual success of the EDP. Ensure you do your due diligence in establishing where training needs to be updated, improved or changed and don’t forget to change training needs as the requirements of your firm develop and expand. Encourage your employee to offer suggestions on where development needs should be considered and where the training can improve. Regular meetings to discuss and record progress, as well as reflect on what is and isn’t going well should be conducted to ensure smooth and successful progression. 

EDPs present a fantastic opportunity to address longstanding needs of both employees and employers and ensure lasting success through a continuous alignment with individual and practice progression. The long-term benefits are undeniable, as the value of having employee satisfaction from a real sense of involvement, and employer commitment and satisfaction shows in the effect a that skilled, up-to-date workforce – who are committed to your firm and are future-proofed – can bring to your firm. 

Of course, the entire process can be made much less of a burden – and significantly more successful – by getting the right hire through the door first time. The best EDP is no substitute for effective recruitment and as a business your best shot at maximizing the value of your EDP is to recruit individuals whose career goals and aspirations run parallel to those of your firm’s from the get-go.

That’s why our team at Clayton Legal are on hand – we take the stress and complications out of recruitment for your firm so that you can focus on what really matters. If you feel that the time has come to make an important hiring decision regarding your team, get in touch with us here. 

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 or email us here.

If you would like to know more about recruiting trends in the legal sector this year, download our guide here.

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Posted By

Joel Okoye

Digital Marketing Apprentice

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EVP, CSR & ESG: The Acronyms Impacting Your Talent Attraction & Retention

In a skills-short market, businesses across all sectors are looking more closely at their strategies for attracting and retaining their talent. And whilst a focus on employer branding has been a part of business DNA for a number of years (prevalent in the early 1990s and usually straddling both the marketing and HR functions), the last decade has seen a new phrase coined that takes the concept a step further.

The Employer Value Proposition (EVP) has become somewhat of a buzzword more recently – especially as businesses operate in an increasingly competitive and borderless world that is economically volatile.

Pioneer of employer branding research, Brett Minchington defined an EVP in 2005 as “a set of associations and offerings provided by  an organisation in return for the skills, capabilities, and experiences an employee brings to the organisation.”

In simple terms, it is the way that businesses differentiate themselves in their particular market allowing them to not only attract and recruit ‘right fit’ new employees but also impact the engagement and retention of existing staff members.

 

Why Your EVP Could Be Your MVP

While there seems to be more jargon and acronyms than ever – what is clear is that it is more important than ever for law firms to communicate the compelling reasons why future hires should choose to work with/ for them.

In the past, many businesses assumed the key to a successful EVP was simply offering their team the best salary and benefits. However, teams today are looking for more than just financial value in their careers.

As attitudes to the workplace have changed, so have priorities as legal professionals now have more opportunities than ever to consider where, how, and when they work.

Vacancies offering fully remote or hybrid contracts means that staff are no longer restricted by geography when assessing new opportunities in the market, and with the net cast wider – so too are the opportunities (and indeed, competition).

Fundamentally you need to communicate all the specific and unique benefits an employee can expect to receive when they join your business. These should seek, where possible, to differentiate yourself from competitors operating in the same region and/or practice area; describing (and making tangible) what the business stands for – vision, culture, and working environment.

According to Gartner, a leader in people management, an EVP can massively strengthen your position in the hiring landscape and improves your chances of retaining talent, decreasing annual employee turnover by just under 70%, whilst increasing ‘new hire commitment’ by nearly 30%.

 

The War For Talent Is Over. Talent Won.

The quote above by PwC’s US Chairman, Tim Ryan in October last year continues to do the rounds as the UK’s drought of talent is still felt across many industries and professional sectors. As highlighted in a recent article on Maddyness, UK unemployment rates remain at a historic low of 3.75%, and with vacancies still at heady heights (compared to pre-pandemic levels), there remains a disconnect between demand and supply.

Furthermore, those businesses that were proactive in securing talent by offering inflated salaries may no longer have this option against a backdrop of economic uncertainty, and squeezed budgets.

And whilst this may on the surface start to level the playing field between small and medium-sized firms who couldn’t compete on price, the challenge around standing out on the things that matter very much remains.

Creating a stand-out working culture and work environment, and offering staff a holistic package of perks and rewards is only the first step, however. Finding innovative, bold, and creative ways to communicate this externally (and through internal channels) is key – and should go beyond one-dimensional lists on websites and job descriptions.

Attracting The New Generation Of Legal Employees

It is a well-publicised fact that Generation Z, the youngest generation to approach the working world, will soon surpass Millennials as the most populous generation on earth. By 2030, this group will make up 30% of the workforce, bringing new demands, expectations, and priorities for employers to consider.

Often raised by innovative millennials, Gen Z is the most diverse and educated age group in the professional world today. Born into a connected, digital, and empathetic world they spend approximately half of their waking hours interacting with technology. Shaped by an era of social feeds and internet culture, the slew of powerful social justice movements they’ve witnessed in recent years have given them a unique sensibility and a strong stance regarding ethical business practices and equity.

Generation Z undoubtedly has several valuable characteristics to bring to the legal landscape, yet their approach to the workplace may cause certain challenges for business leaders as they aren’t motivated or moved by the same things as their millennial parents (we looked at some of these recently in our detailed guide on Motivating Gen Z Employees).

What has been already noted, however, is that this demographic cohort (known colloquially as ‘zoomers’) is emerging as the ‘sustainability generation’ – impacted massively by global events like the Pandemic which, according to Forbes, didn’t start the sustainability revolution necessarily, but certainly put it into overdrive (with Gen Z in the driver’s seat).

Attracting and retaining this generation will therefore need to focus on green and eco-credentials, and general CSR initiatives as part of a wider employment proposal that is demonstrably ethical, moral, and has a societal purpose. 

 

CSR & ESG – as easy as ABC?

Employer value propositions are evolving, due to shifting business priorities, working patterns, and employee values as well as external factors like the economy and political landscape. A focus on well-being and wellness initiatives, work-life balance, diversity, and inclusion are continuing themes setting value propositions apart across the legal landscape, alongside programmes and statements centred around Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

But with a new acronym on the block for Law Firms to get their heads around – ESG… it’s no wonder there is some confusion around where businesses should place their focus amidst this ‘alphabet soup’ of initiatives.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a business approach designed around making a social impact and focus beyond profits. It is designed (or should be) to benefit society and the local community as well as the environment for the collective good – and in turn will also, by proxy, enhance the firm’s image, generate more business, and earn customer and employee loyalty.

It is generally split into 4 areas:

  1. Environmental
  2. Ethical
  3. Philanthropic
  4. Economic

All are aimed at providing benefits to both the general public as well as company shareholders and employees.

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) isn’t quite the same – although according to a Harvard Law School study in 2021, both terms do appear interchangeable. Rather, this programme is more data driven, and increasingly  an act of corporate compliance; defined as ‘a set of standards measuring a business’s impact on society, the environment, and how transparent and accountable it is.’

In brief, the three areas or factors look at:

  • Environmental – a firm’s impact on the environment, such as carbon emissions, waste management, and resource usage.
  • Social – a firm’s impact on society, including issues such as labour practices, human rights, and engagement with the local community.
  • Governance – a firm’s management and oversight, such as board and management structure, executive compensation and remuneration, and shareholder rights.

ESG has become increasingly important for investors and businesses as stakeholders demand greater accountability and transparency on sustainability and ethical issues. The key difference therefore compared to CSR, is that it is viewed as the outcome (measured and reported on) of a firm’s sustainability, whilst CSR focuses on a firm’s voluntary actions to improve its impact.

An even simpler comparison by Akepa:

  • CSR: a general sustainability framework, mainly used by companies
  • ESG: a measurable sustainability assessment, popular with investors

 

In Conclusion

As a Partner, Senior, or Hiring professional within a law firm, getting your head around the many acronyms and initiatives is the first hurdle in understanding the evolving values that current (and prospective) employees have when it comes to their employer.

Understanding what these shifting ideologies are is critical when it comes to retaining, engaging, and attracting talent  – although it is equally as important not to pay lip service or view things like your EVP as a box-ticking exercise.

What is clear, is that embracing CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) has become a necessity for law firms around the globe, not least because it remains high on the agenda of both Millennials and Gen Z employees who are ever critical of their employer’s ethical stance, reputation in the market, and values that they hope will mirror their own.

In a LinkedIn News article from earlier this year, it was reported that these demographic cohorts actively consider “conscious quitting” if the company doesn’t align with their values. It also highlighted research from KMPG which stated that 46% of employees want their employer to ‘demonstrate a commitment to environmental, social and governance’, with 1 in 5 turning down the offer of a new role if they felt a disconnect.

 

Clayton Legal’s Commitment

Of course, CSR, ESG, EVP, and any other business-related acronym are not just relevant to the legal sector.

As a prominent Northwest employer that has been in business for nearly 25 years, we also recognise the importance of our own value proposition when it comes to our people and our community.

Our commitment to CSR can be seen here, where we detail our approach, programme, and statement of intent as we strive to become a socially responsible business, both internally and externally – making a positive impact on our people and workplace, our clients and suppliers, our local community, and our local and global environment.

The purpose of our programme is to sustain a business that is successful and respected in its ethical standing by our stakeholders. These include candidates, clients, investors, regulators, suppliers, and the wider community.

We are particularly passionate about supporting causes that have roots and impact here in the UK, and in the Northwest. One initiative that we have recently joined and committed to is Ecologi, a certified B-Corp social enterprise, and platform for Climate Action; helping individuals, families, and businesses become Climate Positive.

This market leader is certainly gaining traction and publicity, and we are delighted to join the other 40,000 members in taking simple, but impactful climate action. This year we have committed to fund the planting of trees in the UK for every placement we make and are also involved in the Beta trial to calculate our carbon footprint, and put plans in place to reduce our emissions.

You can see the impact of Ecologi’s work and their UK reforestation projects here.

In addition, Managing Director, Lynn Sedgwick and Performance and Development Director, Louise Kearns joined the Good Growth Programme in February this year, ran by Lancaster University and supported by Boost, Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub.

The 5-month Programme was underpinned by world-leading research produced by Lancaster University Management School and focused on business strategies that are centred around the environment, community, and social justice. It was a great chance to connect and collaborate with other SME leaders and contribute to solving local and global challenges.

 

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 – whether that’s on a contingency or retained basis. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

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Posted By

Laura Lissett

Marketing Consultant

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Hiring Fast Versus Slow: The Facts Law Firms Need to Know

  • March 4, 2023

The average time it takes to hire a legal candidate is increasing.

According to a recent post from LinkedIn, it can take more than forty days for a hiring manager to find and make an offer to the right employee. While part of this problem may be attributed to skill shortages in the legal sector, there’s a larger underlying issue.

Law firms are taking too long to make decisions.

While it’s important to be cautious when choosing the right employee to bring onto your team, a slow hiring process can have a number of negative repercussions. As competition for legal talent in the legal industry grows, taking too long to select a candidate could/will mean you miss out.

At the same time, there’s a risk you could end up impacting your employer brand, prompting future candidates to avoid applying for your roles.

Remember candidates talk to each other and especially online.

So let’s talk about why hiring faster is a good idea.

Hiring Fast vs Hiring Slow: Why Speed Wins

The best legal candidates are always highly coveted and receive multiple offers from a variety of different employers. If you’re not fast to act, the chances of losing your ideal employee are higher than ever.

As a legal recruiter, we can only do so much to persuade candidates to wait.

Recruiting faster doesn’t mean abandoning your standards when choosing the correct candidate. Instead, it means reworking your process so you can make intelligent decisions quickly.

Here are some of the reasons why law firms need to increase the speed of their hiring strategy if they want to remain competitive.

1. Increases Your Chances of Securing the Right Legal Talent

The hiring marketplace has changed drastically in the last three years. Today’s legal employees don’t have time to wait around for an employer to offer them a role. More importantly, they usually don’t have to. Even if you don’t offer a role to a candidate straight away, there’s a good chance another firm will.

Making slow decisions about who to bring onto your team doesn’t necessarily improve your chances of getting a high-quality candidate. While you’re busy consulting with your recruitment team about whom to hire, your ideal candidate is already looking for alternative roles.

The longer you take to decide, the more chance you have of someone else swooping in and recruiting your top choice. This could mean you need to settle for a less-than-ideal alternative, just so you can fill the gap in your legal team.

2. Better Existing Employee Experiences

A slow hiring process isn’t just a problem for future employees, it can cause issues with your current workforce too. When positions go unfilled for too long in a firm, many leaders need to distribute the tasks associated with those roles to other team members, to fill the gaps.

This means staff ends up focusing more of their time on projects and initiatives not included within their general job description. This can increase your risk of burnout and overwhelm, and even encourage employees to start searching for new roles too.

Placing more strain on your existing team also means they’re more likely to be prone to making mistakes in their day-to-day work. Overwhelmed staff need to rush through tasks, rather than giving each job their direct focus.

3. Enhanced Candidate Experiences

Legal professionals are no longer just searching for great salary options and benefits when it comes to their job search. Amongst other things (and there is quite a list these days) they’re also looking for evidence their employer will treat them with empathy and respect. This means the candidate experience has become more important than ever to firms in search of new legal talent. Fail to deliver a good experience, and you’ll miss out on future opportunities.

A speedy hiring process delivers a better all-around experience for your candidates, showing them, you respect their needs.

The faster you provide your candidates with an offer, the more likely they are to feel committed to your brand and their role within your firm. The longer your hiring process takes, the more your new team members are likely to lose their enthusiasm about their new role.

Ethical recruitment (something we’ve looked at recently) means in simple terms, doing the right thing – always. This should be the very foundation and principles on which your hiring activity is built.

4. Improved Employer Brand and EVP

Ensuring you can attract and retain the best quality legal talent in the current market requires significant effort. You need to ensure you’re promoting an employer brand that convinces legal candidates you have the right opportunities to offer.

Your employer brand is influenced by everything you do when interacting with both your existing employees and future staff. This means if your candidate experience is poor, due to a long recruitment time and lack of communication, you could risk scaring off new employees. In fact, around 43% of job-seekers say they might even write a negative review about an employer when the hiring process takes too long.

Committing to quickly providing your candidates with insights into the success of their interview, and making decisions fast about who to hire will ensure you stand out in the legal sector.

Speed Up Your Hiring Process

The best candidates in the current legal landscape won’t wait around for a long hiring process. And it goes without saying that the more in demand they are, the more options will be open to them when it comes to choosing where to make that next move.

If you can’t act quickly to secure the best for your firm, simply put – you’ll miss out.

Recruiting faster doesn’t have to mean lowering your standards, but it could mean looking for ways to optimise your hiring process.

And, whilst time may be of the essence, it’s equally as important not to make any rash decisions or rush into a decision that could ultimately come back to bite you. After all, there is a significant commercial cost of a bad hire too.

Working with a legal recruitment agency can help to focus your activity – helping to source, and shortlist candidates faster, so you can get the right talent quickly  – whilst also ensuring that no balls get dropped along the way in ensuring that the candidates that are presented to you are still the right ‘fit’ for your firm.

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and during that time has built up an enviablese 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 or get in touch with us here

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How To Identify The Right Legal Recruitment Partner

  • December 10, 2022

We’re living in a world where the demand for talent significantly outweighs the number of available candidates in search of legal roles. More than half of U.K. businesses are experiencing skill shortages, and countless worldwide organisations struggle to fill critical positions.

Factors like the Great Resignation, the rise of remote working, and changing employee priorities have made it harder than ever for legal leaders to fill their employment pipeline. In this environment, businesses must access the right support.

A specialist legal recruitment partner with expertise and experience in your industry makes it easier to find the people capable of transforming your team. Here’s how you can identify the right one to work with in 2023.

Why Law Firms Need Recruitment Partners

Currently, around 80% of organisations say they have difficulty filling positions due to a lack of available skills.. As unemployment levels continue to drop, the quest for talent will likely become even more challenging for modern brands.

Having a legal recruitment partner can be the ultimate way to stay one step ahead of the competition and ensure your firm can thrive in the years ahead. Companies like ours have spent years cultivating networks that offer extensive access to top talent.

We can tap into “passive” candidates who may not be actively searching for new roles. As recruitment experts, we are skilled at positioning firms to the right candidates by offering help with social media marketing, job description writing, and interview setting.

A legal recruitment partner gives your firm the extra support to quickly track down the right talent and build a pipeline of available experts. They know where to look for talent and can help your business to appeal to every part of the workforce.

How to Choose the Right Legal Recruiting Partner

Choosing the right legal recruitment partner can be a daunting task, especially when there are so many options available. The key to selecting the right partner is to carefully evaluate all of the factors that they bring to the table. A legal recruitment expert has the potential to save firms time, money, and headaches in the search for legal talent. However, the success of your new strategy will depend on your ability to choose the most suitable company for your business. Here’s how to get started.

1. Look at Their Brand Presence

Branding and online presence are growing increasingly important to the recruitment landscape. Countless candidates check a company’s “employer brand” before deciding whether to work for them. They’re also increasingly active on digital channels when searching for jobs. Around 90% of candidates now use social media in their job search.

To ensure you can adhere to the changing recruitment landscape, you’ll need a legal recruitment partner with an excellent image and a strong online presence. After all, if the company fails to market itself effectively online, it may also struggle to promote your vacancies.

Search for active social media pages across LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. It’s also worth looking at how frequently your legal recruitment team shares thought leadership content and blog posts to support their sector.

2.Prioritise Industry Experience

Every industry has its specific nuances to consider when it comes to recruitment. People in the technology landscape are looking for different things from their employers than those in the engineering space. These groups have different messaging, unique priorities, and different expectations. As such, finding a recruitment partner who knows your space is important.

A specialist legal recruitment partner will understand your landscape and the kind of candidates you’re trying to reach. They’ll know how to position your job descriptions, what types of copy and content will attract employees, and even where to look for passive candidates.

A recruiter with a good knowledge of your sector will also be able to match a specific individual’s skills more easily to the goals and requirements of the role in question.

3.Explore Recruitment Service Options

Different legal recruitment partners can offer different kinds of services to their clients. Some work on specifically filling roles as they emerge in the company, while others fill talent pipelines with various candidates. This may even involve reaching out to the 70% of candidates who aren’t actively searching for a new job when you’re hiring.

Various recruitment partners can also offer different levels of assistance with the recruitment process. Some can help with writing job descriptions and social media posts, so you can improve your chances of reaching the correct audience with the right language. They may also offer help with your interview and shortlisting process.

Some recruitment agencies will offer ‘contingency’ recruitment services whilst others can speak to you about ‘retained’ – normally a fully-tailored recruitment service, typically suitable for more senior hires who aren’t on the active market,

The level of assistance you need and the extent of the service you’re looking for will help you to determine which partner is right for you.

4.Check Case Studies and Testimonials

Reviews and testimonials are an excellent way to get a behind-the-scenes look at the kind of support you can expect from your legal recruitment partner. Your chosen company should have a website to showcase case studies and details about previous client interactions.

Look through the messages left by other clients and legal professionals, and find out as much as you can about how happy they were with the speed, accuracy, and guidance offered by the recruitment team. Aside from checking the company’s website, you can also look across the general digital footprint for additional business comments.

A recruitment company’s social media page can be an excellent place to look for quick messages from happy clients or posts showcasing recent reviews.

5.Get in touch 

Finally, once you have a shortlist of the legal recruitment partners you might want to work with, it’s worth reaching out and arranging a time to talk. A conversation with your recruitment partner can help you to answer a lot of questions you might have about their service, how much support they can give, and how they’re going to communicate with you in the future.

Speaking to the recruitment experts also allows you to test their knowledge and build a rapport for future interactions. A good recruitment company should be ready and willing to arrange a meeting with the stakeholders in your time where you can discuss all of your concerns. Depending on their location, they may offer various forms of communication, such as video conferencing, calling on the phone, or face-to-face meetings.

Whether you already have an internal team responsible for hiring, or you outsource this to sector specialists, using the services of a reputable legal recruiter can add a huge amount of value to your hiring strategy. Finding a partner that can act as an extension to your own business and is flexible and adaptable in their approach is key.

Ultimately, in our 25-year experience, all legal clients we speak to are looking for four things – speed, a reduced workload, personalised relationships and ultimately, results.

And, although time is a precious commodity (in law, particularly), doing your due diligence in selecting and identifying an agency you can trust to deliver is time well spent in the long run.

 

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.

Click here to speak to one of our experienced Legal specialists or call 01772 259121 for more information on how our exceptional recruitment experience can help your career aspirations.

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Top Hiring Strategies for Law Firms that are working now

  • August 17, 2022

Though some of the challenges of hiring in the last couple of years are beginning to diminish, the legal sector is still a skills-short market. Trends like the “Great Resignation” and an increasing demand for global, remote work are leading to massive turnover for all kinds of companies.

Since any law firm can’t thrive without the right employees, it makes sense for every business leader to think about how they can improve their hiring strategy in this new landscape. Ensuring you have the right plan in place can help you to attract the most sought-after talent, improve your chances of employee retention, and strengthen your employer brand.

Here are some of the hiring strategies generating powerful results for law firms.

1.    Adapting to Your Candidates’ Changing Priorities

The first step in ensuring you can successfully hire and retain legal talent, is knowing what your candidates really want from their employer. In the last couple of years, the evolving workplace has led to the development of new priorities for many staff members.

Today’s employees still want to get the salary they deserve, but they also want:

  • Empathy: A focus on respect, empathy, diversity, and inclusion will be crucial to attracting candidates in any environment. Showcasing your empathetic side will help you to attract employees who share the same values as your business.
  • Flexibility: Today’s employees want more flexible roles. With the rise of cloud technology, it’s possible for some legal jobs to be more hybrid, remote, or flexible than they once were. Some companies are even exploring concepts like the 4-day work week.
  • Development: Your employees want to see a future with your company, and a path for them to improve and enhance their skills. Have meetings with your team members to identify their current and long-term goals, and how you can help them reach them.

2.    Leveraging a Specialist Legal Recruiter

Recruiters are one of the most valuable tools you’ll have in your hiring strategy, particularly when they specialise in your industry. An experienced legal recruiter will be able to help you identify the most important things your candidates are looking for when you’re writing your job descriptions and interviewing potential employees.

Recruiters can also save you significant time in collecting applications from a diverse range of backgrounds. Their existing presence in the industry means they already have access to various environments where they can find people to fill your talent pipeline.

With a recruiter, you’ll also have access to support and guidance to help you with everything from improving the interview experience, to making your job listings more impactful.

Just remember, to get the most out of your legal recruiter, you’ll need to walk the line between clarity and flexibility. It’s important to be clear about the things you really want from your candidate, but don’t get lost in the search for the perfect unicorn employee.

3.    Enhancing Your E.V.P.

In today’s digital world, employers have endless opportunities to learn more about their potential candidates by looking at their social media profiles and personal brand. However, it’s worth remembering your candidates also have the same opportunity to evaluate you.

Before considering whether to accept a job offer or even send in an application, most of today’s candidates will research your brand. It’s important to make sure your offer and E.V.P. (Employer Value Proposition) stands out.

Start by assessing your current employer brand, and what you communicate to potential staff members. Are you active on social media, constantly sharing valuable information about your company culture and the growth of your team members? Do your employees talk positively about you on social channels and review sites?

Next, consider your job offer and how it compares to roles available from your competition. Are you delivering the same level of flexibility for your new candidates? What can you provide that your team members can’t get elsewhere? Remember, organisations who implement a successful employer brand cut their cost-per-hire in half!

Your legal recruitment professional will be able to help you with cultivating the right employer brand.

4.    Upgrading the Candidate Journey

In today’s changing landscape, employers need to make sure every stage of the candidate journey is as convenient and engaging as possible to avoid losing the attention of top talent. With the help of your legal recruitment agency, look at every touchpoint you’ll have with your candidates, and how you can update them to suit the current trends.

For instance, are you posting your job listings on social media, so they’re easy to find, and making sure it’s easy for your candidates to learn more about the role on your website? When candidates apply for a role, how will you interview them?

Video and remote interview processes are becoming increasingly common, particularly for remote and hybrid roles. You may also need to think about:

  • Following up with candidates: How will you keep your candidate engaged by following up and providing insights into their progress?
  • Onboarding: How will you onboard your team members when you decide who to hire, and how can you make them feel like part of the team as quickly as possible?
  • Diversity: How will you ensure you’re making hiring decisions without bias, and you’re respecting the concept of diversity, equity, and inclusion?

5.    Planning a Comprehensive Strategy

Finally, it’s worth remembering that being prepared will save you a lot of time, effort, and money in today’s skills-short market. Rather than just rushing to fill gaps in your legal team when someone leaves your workforce, it’s worth thinking about your long-term talent strategy.

Work with Clayton Legal to build a talent pipeline, filled with diverse professionals from different environments, who can add something valuable to your team. When creating this pipeline, don’t just think about the skills you need now, but the expertise you may need in the future.

A good talent pipeline will mean you always have somewhere to turn to access crucial talent when your company needs it most.

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 3,000 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 or email us here.

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Building Leadership Skills in Your Law Firm

The last few years have been challenging for the legal sector. Dealing with the fall out of the pandemic, increased workload, and the impact of overworking on employees’ wellbeing means that many firms also now need to uplevel their leadership skills alongside recruiting new lawyers into their team to lead their firm moving forward.

In turbulent times, everyone looks to great leaders for guidance. Leadership resonates throughout a business, and the quality of your leadership can be the difference between your firm’s ultimate success or failure.

Good leaders exhibit specific traits which allow them to inspire, motivate, engage, and boost the productivity of their legal team.

Today’s post shares five key leadership skills for today’s legal workplace to develop in your team and those to look out for as you recruit.

The Ability to Set Goals Based on a Vision

Great leaders have a vision. All successful law firms were started because the founder had a vision of what they could create.

As you build your legal team at every level, remember that employees often join firms because of the vision and direction shared during the interview, as well as fair pay and conditions, and the opportunity to work with great clients. Unequivocally, elements such as this should be communicated as part of the hiring process.

Innovating and reacting to change is part of a law firm’s growth and is necessary for development. So, it’s vital to deploy your strategy to manage challenges while considering that you need a solid business plan that indicates where you are adjusting and setting relevant goals.

Effective legal leaders ensure everyone is on board with the strategic plan and its ultimate objective – alignment across the firm will be key to success.

Greater leaders can tap into team creativity, developing a sense of purpose that develops an inspired team.

Setting goals in a S.M.A.R.T.  way can also increase performance – specific objectives that are challenging yet achievable are more likely to inspire your team and give them something to work towards collaboratively.

Clear Communication Skills

Part of sharing the vision is the ability to communicate both authentically and with authority.

Law firm leaders must develop the ability to communicate with people at every level, from a stressed-out client to every member of their wider legal team.

Effective leaders must be able to express ideas and information to the people they want to lead.

Successful communication also involves clarity of message, which happens when leaders ditch the jargon and listen to what is important to their team.

As human beings, before we mentally agree to follow someone, we need to feel listened to by our leaders.

Decision-Making Ability

It is easy to assume that everyone in the legal profession has good judgement alongside the ability to make decisions. This occurs as lawyers handle complex caseloads, though not always when addressing challenges in the team or performance managing a difficult employee.

Lawyers are generally confident individuals by nature. However, making decisions in a team setting isn’t always as black and white as it might first appear, as highlighted by Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel Prize-winning professor who developed prospect theory which shifted opinions on decision making.

To make a good decision, you need to understand how different choices change the likelihood of various outcomes and how desirable each of those outcomes is. In other words, decision making requires both prediction and judgment.

Focus on listening and gathering data from your team as you would for any case you are handling, and you will notice how your decision-making ability improves.

Create a Learning and Development Culture

Here at Clayton Legal, we often ask candidates applying for roles whether the law firm hiring has a development culture and one where the team is encouraged to grow and develop. A stronger leader will make this part of the plan for their firm.

With advancements in digital platforms, online learning is easy to implement alongside more formal events in your firm.

Create a training program for your law firm’s team that allows them to engage at their own pace and with topics that interest them personally. These topics should be largely focused on the team member’s speciality and what your firm needs from them, but it’s also valuable to offer the opportunity to learn about areas outside of their speciality.

Being Accountable

Being accountable for both actions and results is the hallmark of a great legal recruit. This is even more vital when we consider the approach of our legal leaders.

Leadership accountability in your law firm is an essential component of a healthy culture. But what is an accountable leader, and how do they drive business results?

Being accountable suggests that leaders are ultimately responsible for outputs, which is true.
There are multiple layers of accountability, including business performance, company culture, client experience, and the legal workforce itself.

For leaders to be accountable, they need to be committed to the business and its people. They must take their role as people leaders seriously, building trust among team members. Accountable leaders clearly communicate their goals and objectives to their teams to foster alignment and team focus. They accept responsibility when things go wrong and give credit for success where it’s due.

What Next?

The legal sector experienced increased growth last year. Many firms are looking for new legal leaders and hires for their teams. This is where Clayton Legal can help. For a conversation about your legal talent growth plan, do not hesitate to contact one of our team.

 

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability during that time. We have made over 5,000 placements from Partners to Legal Executives, Solicitors to Paralegals and Legal I.T. 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 or email us here.

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Posted By

Lynn Sedgwick

Managing Director

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Standing Out on Social To Attract The Legal Talent You Want

Love it or loathe it, social media continues to have a major impact on the world, from breaking news to building businesses.

During the first part of 2020, the number of people using social media hit an all-time high. We all clambered for connection and collaboration to understand what was going on in the world and how this might impact our professional and personal lives.

Data from Statistic, the number one global business data platform, reveals how many people use social media currently in 2022.

Social Media Stats That Might Shock You

I am writing this post in May 2022, so the figure for most channels will have increased depending on when you read this.

With roughly 2.91 billion monthly active users as of the fourth quarter of 2021, Facebook is the most used online social network worldwide. There are approximately 42 million U.K. Facebook users.

With the U.K. population being around sixty-seven million, over 75% of the U.K. have a Facebook account.

Instagram has 1.1 billion users worldwide, with approximately 31 million of these residing in the U.K.

LinkedIn has 810 million global members. In March 2022, LinkedIn had over 33 million users in the United Kingdom, of which 56.5 per cent were aged between 25 and 34 years old. Overall, 23.5 per cent of users were aged between 35 to 54 years old.

Twitter is losing popularity, although there are still over 200 million users globally with just over 18 million active accounts here in the U.K. It remains to be seen what the impact of Elon Musk’s recent interest will be.

The latest social platform everyone is talking about, TikTok, has over a billion users, though only 8.9 million registered U.K. accounts as of January this year.

The term ‘social’ is general and covers multiple channels.

So, if you consider the likes of YouTube, with over 2.6 billion users and podcast listeners growing exponentially and predicted to hit 120 million listeners this year, I suspect the volume of users you could access with your business and talent attraction messages may have surprised you.

Many law firms invest in marketing and business development, and I am sure your legal marketers understand how pivotal social media is as you build brand awareness. Alongside a Google search, social channels are often the first place a prospective client can find you and get a sense of whether you are the law firm to work with.

You only need to look at your own behaviours as you search for a supplier. I suspect you will check them out online first before engaging with them.

Here is the thing; this is exactly what legal candidates do before they agree for us to send their CV across. They want to know if you are the law firm that ticks all their boxes.

No matter your personal opinion of social media, the multiple channels we all have access to can enable law firms across the U.K. to control the narrative of their brand to impact their business growth, AND in relation to talent attraction, highlight your law firm as the one to join.

Let us explore how you might do this.

Understand What Legal Talent Wants

Here at Clayton Legal, we have placed over 5,000+ legal professionals during the last twenty-three years, and every day across our team, we are in consultation with hundreds of candidates who share what they now want in their legal roles.

The best legal talent knows their worth more than ever and are looking for a position that challenges them yet also where they are part of an inclusive culture and have great clients to work with while having the ability to reclaim balance in their lives.

Knowing what legal candidates are looking for, how are you communicating ‘why you’ across your social channels?

Picking Your Channels

Earlier in the post, I shared all of the current main social channels worth considering as you build the conversation about your law firm.

Legal talent and clients can potentially find you anywhere; therefore, make sure you have claimed and are using all the channels I have mentioned. A quick Google search of the U.K.s top law firms reveals they have a presence across the board on social media.

Because of the volume of users of social having a presence will also improve your visibility on the search engines. Clifford Chance is a well-recognised and respected firm that dominates page one of Google with its LinkedIn, Youtube and Twitter channels.

Build a Content Plan and Use Multi-Media

LinkedIn is a natural vehicle to build your profile. The current platform allows you to have a company page, a newsletter, and personal profiles for every team member.

Your company page is easy to follow and allows you to share the level of clients you work with and your firm’s culture.

Share your CSR activities and celebrate the team and what they are achieving consistently.

And if your partner’s profiles are not communication channels for your law firm, they need to be. As we all know, the legal market is a tight-knit community, and your firm’s leading lights can be a magnet that attracts the level of candidates you want.

As an experienced legal recruiter, we can find the top talent you want though confirming you are the firm to join needs your input.

Video, photographs, podcasts, and content can be huge convincers of what it could be like to join your legal family; therefore, communicating consistently is key.

Social media is the ideal platform to communicate your employer value proposition; we wrote an article last month on how to re-energise your legal employer brand that you can access here.

Remember that all social channels are free to join; however, you can advertise inexpensively on all major platforms.

The acceleration of the capability of A.I. means that you can increase the reach of your impact to clearly defined audiences across the likes of LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Your Recruitment Partner Can Help

When it comes to understanding what legal candidates want and how to communicate this out into the market, we can help. We have detailed knowledge about what is important and key now; therefore, we can help you navigate the process and create your plan.

Because of our time and connections in the market, we can find the talent you want; however, your input is needed as you demonstrate what a career move could be like when they choose you.

What Next?

Though many workplace sectors experienced poor growth last year, the legal sector was not one of them. Therefore, it is vital to stand out in your market more than ever. For a conversation about your legal talent growth plan, do not hesitate to contact one of our team here.

 

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability during that time. We have made over 5,000 placements from Partners to Legal Executives, Solicitors to Paralegals and Legal I.T. 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 or email us here.

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Posted By

Lynn Sedgwick

Managing Director

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Is Your Law Firm Attracting or Repelling the Legal Talent You Want?

  • December 6, 2019

The ‘war for talent’ is much documented at the moment across many sectors as the number of vacancies advertised continue to grow as firms ramp up hiring activity after a tumultuous 12-18 months. And, according to statistics from Broadbean, despite a 20 per cent rise in vacancies advertised in Q1 2021 compared to the last three months of 2020, applications to those roles rose by only 4% in the same period.

Law Firms are one again competing for the same, sometimes scarce, pool of talent; some of whom are reluctant to move roles against the backdrop of a pandemic and perceived market uncertainty, and some who do have that confidence and have whole host of options available to them.

With Firms jostling for supremacy in the hiring stakes, eager to attract the best talent to work for them, it does beg the question: how does your firm perform when it comes to attracting and hiring the best people – particularly in the current market?

If you’re finding it challenging to hire great talent, it could be that your law firm is repelling would-be employees – and it goes deeper than your salary offer.

It could be down to your Employer Brand.

In this article, I will be looking at how your Employer Brand could be repelling would-be talent from joining your law firm, and how you can redress the balance, create an engaging market presence and attract and retain the talent you want to work for you.

What is Your Employer Brand?

If you haven’t yet heard the term Employer Branding – it’s time to take a leap of faith and embrace this workplace phenomenon. Your Employer Brand isn’t something new – in fact, it’s been around forever, and all firms have one – whether they are aware of it or not.

Your Employer Brand is, in essence, the market’s perception of your firm. It re-affirms what you stand for; your reputation, leaders, history and customer service ethos.

It also goes far beyond these specifics – it includes other’s emotional response to things like your adverts and how they feel when using your services or when talking to others about your firm.

It has a secondary function too. And this is the one that may be repelling talent from your firm.

Your Employer Brand also describes the agreement or ‘promise’ you make to your employees in exchange for their experience, talents and skills. It is how you are viewed as an employer and the attitude and response to your law firm that lives in the hearts of your employees.

This is known as your Employee Valuation Proposition, or EVP, and it’s a compelling factor in attracting – or repelling – the legal talent you want for your firm.

If you’re wondering how to embrace your EVP to make sure you’re attracting the right legal talent to your firm, this article will illustrate the benefits of having a winning EVP, and how to create one to attract new talent.

But first, let’s look at the potential pitfalls of failure to invest in your EVP.

The Dangers of Non-Investment

There are definite downsides to not investing in your EVP. And not just in the general happiness levels of your employees. It can affect your firm in recruiting cost-per-employee, your HR budget, and the overall bottom line.

With the costs of employee turnover being anywhere up to 2.5 times your team member’s salary, depending on their role, it’s worth thinking about investing in your firm’s EVP.

Moreover, as well as lost employee and rehiring costs, there’s also the financial impact of lost productivity, training and the decreased morale of other employees to consider too.

Additionally, when thinking about your EVP, it’s worth remembering that more and more individuals are valuing an attractive workplace culture over salary, and failure to invest in this area of your firm could lead to lower retention and less appeal when compared to other law firms who offer more benefits.

So, investment in your workplace will see attraction and retention levels increase.

The Benefits of Investment in Your EVP

If you needed further reasoning for investing in your EVP, did you know that when top talent wants to work for you, your recruitment costs don’t just drop, they plummet?

The latest figures reveal that costs go down by around 43%. This is mainly because recruiters find it easier to get top talent into law firms they are keen to work for, i.e. those with great reputations. Less persuasion is needed, and therefore turnaround is much quicker.

In addition to this, the rewards of investing in your EVP include definite and measurable upturns in your ability to retain the best employees.

Your EVP embodies your mission and values and is a powerful communication tool for both current and potential employees. It can help you prioritise aspirations and goals for your law firm, and used effectively it can not only attract new talent but re-engage current employees who may have found themselves demoralised or disengaged in their work.

And with a great EVP, your existing pool of talented staff can help drive and promote your firm – not only officially on your company website, but in their social media engagement, recommendations to friends and family, network conversations, job reviews and testimonials.

Provide an excellent EVP – and your team will become cheerleaders for your firm, influencing others around them who may be looking for their next legal career move.

How to Create a Winning EVP

Your EVP is primarily an employee centred approach – it should be defined by and road-tested by your current employees.

Conducting an audit of your current EVP will help you gauge your position in the legal marketplace right now. If yours is short of the mark, consider what can be done to improve it.

Here are some of the things you may wish to look at when considering improving your EVP.

Values and culture. A workplace study found that 56% of employees valued an excellent company culture fit over salary. That’s how vital company culture is to individuals.

By embracing an inclusive and diverse company culture, you will attract new employees as well as retain existing ones, and build morale. And that means harbouring an environment where employees are respected and valued, where there is a shared vision, and where communication, transparency and teamwork are paramount.

Career development. LinkedIn’s 2018 Workforce Learning Report showed a whopping 93% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their careers.

Especially in the legal world, having a transparent career path in your employee’s personal development plan and offering training to achieve it, will set you ahead of your competitors and boost your attraction and retention figures.

Employee recognition. From providing excellent feedback to saying ‘thank you’, it’s crucial for Senior Partners and Managers to acknowledge their staff to maintain a sense of wellbeing and pride in a job well done.

Work-life balance. Investing in better work-life balance for your employees starts with leading by example. So, Senior Partners should set a good example, as well as seeking to develop a more supportive culture where everyone feels they can take advantage of better work like options.

Benefits. From salary to flexitime, gym membership to annual leave allowance, there are many options for a firm to include in their benefits package.

Conclusion

The most exciting thing about your Employer Brand and EVP is that it’s not just about having your mission on the firm’s website.

Employer Branding begins and ends with real people – your employees. By building a great culture for them to work in, you will find that they will not only enjoy working for your law firm, feel engaged and part of a bigger picture – they will actively promote your firm for you.

Attracting new talent starts with making the most of those already working for you – and letting your reputation do the rest.

Next Steps

If you’re reading this article because you are looking to scale your law firm, call one of the Clayton Legal team on 01772 259 121 and let’s have a conversation to explore your options.

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 placed thousands of legal professionals in new roles; 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 or email us here.

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