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How to attract and retain millennials

  • January 8, 2018

What characterises a millennial?

The defining characteristics of millennials – those born between 1980 – 1996, according to Pew Research – have been documented across a whole raft of research (notably from PwC and Deloitte), articles and books in recent years. The general consensus is that theirs, is a generation with a world view inevitably shaped by significant events such as financial recession, technological revolution and the rise of social media. As a result, they have less inclination to be motivated by money alone, a strong need for work / life balance, a commitment to their personal development, technological savviness, a preference for flexible working, an attraction to work which has social or charitable impact and a keen interest in diversity.

How millennials are changing the legal landscape

This crop of young lawyers is having a transformational impact on the workplace: according to legal services provider LOD, firms are moving from a ‘dormant, low-tech, individualistic system to a dynamic, high-tech, collaborative one.’ As In-House Lawyer magazine points out, over the first half of the 21st century, millennials will replace Boomers as the dominant demographic group throughout society: since law will be no exception, it is vital for employers to consider the ways in which they attract and retain millennial talent. Factors which have traditionally worked in the past, such as financial rewards, do not appear to inspire this generation in the same way.

Top tips for motivating millennials

With this in mind, here are our top tips for attracting and keeping our partners of the future.

  1. Create an agile work environment.
    Millennials are used to wireless, mobile technology that gives them the flexibility to work wherever they need – or choose to. Offer remote working where possible and provide a secure means of access to the information needed to do their jobs when they aren’t in the office.
  2. Dispense with rigid hierarchical career paths.
    Research shows that millennials are inclined to be peripatetic: they will move from place to place and are unlikely to want to follow a highly structured career path to partnership at one firm. Instead, build alternative career paths that still allow top talent to prosper.
  3. Provide workload predictability.
    Of course there are times when work will inevitably ebb and flow but, where possible, try to ensure that workload can be anticipated in advance. The new generation of lawyers will graft hard but they value work / life balance so highly that if they can never make personal plans, they are unlikely to willingly remain in a role.
  4. Develop an inclusive culture.
    A generation that has grown up with social media is one that understands the value of an open platform of interaction, collaboration and dialogue. Again, a hierarchy where voices are kept separate will not appeal. Instead, form project teams of various levels of seniority which encourage participation, mentoring and feedback between generations.
  5. Utilise their tech savviness.
    It’s clearly a fallacy that every millennial is an innately skilled programmer, but they are certainly more likely to be aware of the technology available to them. Manually sifting through paperwork will appeal even less when they know that there are faster, more efficient methods, if only the firm would invest in business intelligence or data analytics. Use their understanding of technology to drive innovation.
  6. Seriously consider diversity.
    Don’t just pay it lip service. The law firm of today should be fully committed to a culture of inclusivity. Set targets for diverse representation.
  7. Promote charitable and community involvement.
    It is important for millennials to feel that their vocation is worthwhile: financial reward is rarely their sole motivator. Involve them in work with social meaning. As a firm, consider the ways in which money and time can be used to benefit good causes.

So, leaders of law firms should be mindful of the fact that today’s millennials will be the partners of tomorrow, Succession planning now is vital: firms must attract and retain the best millennial talent in order to ensure the longevity of their businesses.

To find out how Clayton Legal can help you plan for the future needs of your firm, contact us today.

Take a look at some of our other blogs to gain more insight into the legal sector.

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