According to Law360, “Being a lawyer is no easy profession, no matter where you work. More than 60 percent of private practice attorneys report feeling stressed either most or all the time, as do 44 percent of in-house counsel and 38 percent of government lawyers.” In a profession where employees are put under significant pressure, retaining your top talent requires effort to ensure they will remain happy at your firm.
Salaries are often thought of as the most important incentive for job satisfaction. However, that is not always the case – even in the legal industry.
Compared with their peers, more respondents from midsize firms (with between 100 to 500 attorneys) say they feel they can accomplish all their tasks in a given day, and they’re least likely to work more than 60 hours a week or to have delayed a life event because of work. When asked whether they have good work-life balance, most say yes. “The way I look at it, the salary is just a single component of many that should be considered when you’re talking about your career,” said one associate.
More and more employees are looking for non-monetary benefits such as work-life balance, flexible work schedules, recognition, or health benefits as incentives for staying at a firm. With the economy starting to return to full swing, law firms are facing fierce competition when it comes to hiring and retaining top talent. Individuals are looking beyond their salaries and want to work for a firm that not only pays well but offers perks and benefits that will keep them satisfied in the long run.
5 Tips to Improve Employee Retention
Consider the following five tips to help you foster collaboration, boost productivity and drive happiness among your employees to ensure their longevity at your firm.
Some of the main reasons why soft skills are important:
- Tip #1: Foster a collaborative environment
Collaboration brings people together and helps in coming up with innovative and unique ideas. It could be a good idea to design a more open space for all employees to work together or schedule sessions where the team is able to work together more often. For remote or hybrid work environments, ensure that your technology is up to date so that everyone can collaborate on projects seamlessly. Now more than ever, great technology is essential to make it easier for employees to create and share their work with the team.
- Tip #2: Strive for work-life balance
Work-life balance has become a very important aspect of joining a law firm or legal department. While long hours and stress might come with the role, managers should be able to recognize when their team needs a break or some flexibility to avoid burnout. Many individuals also want to be able to spend time with their family or be able to make it to important personal appointments without feeling like they will be reprimanded at work. By recognizing the importance of work-life balance and offering perks such as remote flexibility, childcare options, or even hiring more staff, you will be helping your employees stay productive and less stressed in the long run.
- Tip #3: Understand what employees want
Being supportive is an important part of showing your employees that they are valued and that they will have the help when they need it. Take the time to understand what motivates each person on your team and build an environment where there is trust and accountability. In the legal field, there can be many challenging situations and for your associate or employee to continue to feel engaged, they need to know that they are supported.
- Tip #4: Recognize hard work
You need to recognize your team and give them credit when credit is due. Your employees work hard, and they want to feel seen and acknowledged when appropriate. One of the ways to show recognition is by giving them responsibilities in cases or other projects that they are interested in. You can schedule a 1:1 meeting to show them that you recognize the work they put in, renegotiate their pay or benefits or even (if approved) a team-wide shoutout is also appreciated. When employees feel that they are seen and that their hard work is being acknowledged, they will want to continue to put in the hours to do their best.
- Tip #5: Encourage professional development
People want to progress in their careers. Whether it’s a promotion or taking on projects outside of their role, employees want to know that they have opportunities for growth and constant learning. It’s important to provide and encourage your employees with professional development opportunities such as ongoing education or training to help them continue to grow in their field. You can do this by setting up meetings to find out what their professional and personal goals are and how they can fit in with the company. By spending the time investing in your employees, you are not only helping them grow personally but also investing in expanding your own firm’s capabilities.
Employees Want to Feel Valued
At the end of the day, your employees want to feel valued and empowered at your firm. There are so many choices out there for them and you need to show them why your firm is the right fit for them.
And speaking of value, yes – salary is still very important. Do your due diligence to ensure your pay rates and benefits are competitive for your market. Keep in mind, too, that with remote work options, legal professionals have more choices – but this is also true for firms if you’re willing to hire outside your physical location. If you are sticking with in-office work, take the cost of living – commuting, childcare, housing, etc. – into account when calculating pay. Your local Adams & Martin team can also help with regional and national pay rates through their annual Salary Guide or by running a custom salary report for you.