Reducing Turnover at your Law Firm

- Richard Brock

Preventing, or at least, reducing turnovers is a priority for many law firms. After all, turnovers cost money – and time – which translates into more money.  They also disrupt office routine and put a damper on office morale. Finding ways to change the pattern is essential, so we’ve put together some helpful tips for to help our clients.

Hiring Practices: Reducing turnover first begins with changing hiring practices. Improved practices result in better hires and fewer turnovers. In the past, hiring of law staff rested on which law school the candidate attended, how high his/her scores were, and the level of experience. These are all important principles, but they are only one part of a whole. The intangibles, or soft skills, are also an essential part of the equation.

These skills include:

  • Personal motivation and drive.
  • Goal-setting and vision.
  • Emotional intelligence.
  • Business acumen.
  • People skills – both for client service and melding with current staff.

 Let’s look at the other side of a making great hires. Is your firm a great place to work – a firm that will attract the best talent?

Does your firm offer:

  • Competitive compensation – plus a little.
  • Opportunity for growth and continued education.
  • Trending benefits – like flexibility, up-to-date technology tools, etc.
  • Challenges equivalent to the position.

Finally, seeking talent in the right places makes a positive impact:

  • Build relationships with superior law schools, but don’t limit your firm by ruling out a smaller school.
  • Utilize an Employee referral program. Most of your staff have lawyer friends. They know who is good and who isn’t. Furthermore, they aren’t going to risk their position by recommending someone whose abilities and cultural fit is questionable.
  • Partner with a staffing firm that specializes in legal placements. Choose one whose recruiters have experience in law and a reputation for finding top talent and making well-matched placements.

Onboarding Program: Establishing a solid onboarding program can make a significant difference.

Ensure that your firm:

  • Follows through on initial introductions to current staff, finding ways. to build strong connections – especially with the staff in the new hire’s particular arena.
  • Plans events that will help break the ice.
  • Provide sufficient training and information – this is vital.
  • Gives specific instructions in the beginning, but doesn’t hold back from offering stimulating challenges.
  • Set clear goals.

Inviting Culture: Promoting a culture that places value on people is essential – your staff is your firm’s most valuable asset – your attitudes and actions should prove you care.

  • Give meaning to their work – ensure that every staff member is connected to the firm’s vision and goals and understands how their work is part of the whole.
  • Lawyers are skilled and taking a fine tooth comb over the details and discovering the little glitches. Don’t do this with your staff’s work – focus on what they do well and take notice. A compliment at the right time can make a significant difference and build loyalty.
  • Take time to express appreciation and award achievements – the milestones, of course, but also the stepping stones. Express it in words – both verbal and written – and tangible
  • Show your staff that you care. Take time to know their family background, their personal interests, etc.
  • Be real. Be genuine. Connect. When management gets in the trenches with the lowest page staffer, it influences the entire company culture in positive, growing ways.

 Invest in your staff: Give them a reason to stay by building a practice that values staff and encourages personal and professional growth.

  • Challenge your staff – give them the authority and tools they need to carry out the challenge. Stand behind them in confidence and trust.
  • Set high expectations, but also be flexible and adapt hours, and location of work to allow for work-life balance.
  • Give your staff the opportunity to develop their expertise in more than one area.
  • Encourage continued education with financial backing.
  • Offer membership to professional legal affiliations.

In Summary: Developing a new hiring strategy, establishing a solid onboarding program, creating a positive, connected culture that recognizes and appreciates the staff, and promoting individual professional growth constitutes a powerful package – one that trends toward engaging talent and reducing turnover.

At Onboard Search, we partner with law firms and legal departments within companies to connect them with talent and ensure great hires. We combine our experience, expertise, and market knowledge to provide world-class recruiting and consulting. Our team is ready to meet any talent solutions need you might have. Contact us today to learn more.