How to stand out to your future employees in 2020

Posted on 17/12/2019 by Duane Cormell

I think it is fair to say that my prediction last year that employee attraction and retention would remain one of the three biggest challenges facing law firms in 2019 was pretty accurate. Okay, so I’ve no hard data to prove that and it wasn’t exactly a shot in the dark, but the conversations all of us here at Realm have been having with leaders in law firms over the last 12 months point to a groundswell of the opinion that recruiting in certain practice areas at particular levels of seniority has become more difficult this year than it was last.

Whether you’re a supporter or a detractor, the first stage proper of Brexit is likely, in my opinion, to give rise to some caution in the legal jobs market. In the immediate aftermath, as we approach the springtime, I just don’t see a gung ho approach to moving jobs suddenly settling in. With that in mind, I see the high demand, low supply trend of 2019 continuing next year and it being more important than ever for law firms to focus on how to stand out to future employees.

Benchmark your pay

Most lawyers who actively seek out a job move do so because they are looking for more money*, whilst the vast majority of lawyers that are not actively seeking a move say that more money being offered to them would be the biggest reason for them nonetheless considering a job opportunity*.

Not everyone can be top of the market of payers but, ultimately, people go to work to earn money and so if you’re not paying broadly in line with your competitors, you’re almost certainly making life more difficult for yourself than it needs to be.

Offer flexibility

Behind pay, flexibility is increasingly the second-biggest priority for lawyers looking to move jobs*. And law firms offering genuine flexibility for all (i.e. not as a result of a statutory claim for flexible working) are still firmly in the minority*, despite the growing evidence of the benefits of flexibility on productivity, morale and loyalty.

Promote wellbeing

Whilst few people would be surprised to learn that the life of a lawyer can be a stressful one, the findings of the Junior Lawyers Division (JLD) resilience and wellbeing survey this year made for troubling reading. At the same time, most lawyers are unaware of their employer having any form of wellbeing policy or charter*.

Promoting wellbeing has got to be more than a cynical ploy, but committing to do so and following through will have benefits aplenty that stretch well beyond recruitment.

Give constructive interview feedback

Most employers do not give meaningful feedback to interviewees*, despite interviewees very much wanting it. It is not surprising then that lawyers are very open to re-considering an employer again in the future if they actually get honest, constructive feedback.

Not only do people’s skillsets develop as they progress through their career, meaning you will want to consider them again down the line, but they always talk to their peers about experiences good and bad. Giving interview feedback is very easy and entirely necessary PR.

Partner up with a recruiter

As with lawyers and their clients, recruiters favour a close working relationship with their clients, typically to the exclusion of other recruiters. The rationale for the recruiter is much the same as the rationale for the lawyer.

A good recruiter who really understands you and your business can genuinely do wonders. In my humble opinion, working with many at arm’s length leaves too much to chance.

If you want to find out more, come to our pro-manchester panel event on Tuesday 28th January, where we’ll be giving in insight into exactly what candidates value most in a role, the most common reasons why people move jobs and how most people go about starting their job search. We’ll also touch upon what employers can do to improve the recruitment process for candidates. You’ll come away with a better understanding of exactly what people are looking for so that you can refine your employer offering and greaten your appeal to talented candidates and ultimately, your future employees.

To secure your place, visit the pro-manchester website.

*based on the findings of our annual survey


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