Top law firms all have one thing in common: they have the best talent. They also all share a common problem: talent retention. In today’s legal world, the talent pool is a more like a talent rip tide. Top graduates move fast and are in high demand. Traditional talent retention strategies are no match for market forces which is why leading firms are rethinking the relationship between the two.
The Value of a Market-Driven Approach
It used to be that leading businesses held on to their best employees by designing and promoting long-term career paths and investing in development programs. No longer does this approach offer any guarantee that high performers will stick around. Today’s labor market is simply too free-wheeling. New graduates follow market forces and do not adhere to yesteryear’s notions of loyalty. This is not all bad, though.
A market-driven approach to talent retention recognizes that long-term, company-wide employee loyalty is neither possible nor desirable. The fast-paced nature of today’s business climate rewards agile organizations that are continually refreshed by new talent. Accordingly, top firms have dialled back broad retention programs in favor of targeted efforts directed at specific teams or team-members. The logic is that fighting the tide is a losing battle and that resources are better spent on retaining top performers that might otherwise be poached by competing firms.
How to Pivot to a Market-Driven Retention Strategy
Step one is acknowledging that market forces, not firm policy, determine employee movement. While there is still value in making your firm a rewarding place to work, you nonetheless need to acknowledge that you can’t insulate your team against attractive opportunities. People will leave. Your goal is to get a hold on who and when. This means developing two things: a people-centred management approach and analytical tools that allow you to determine ideal turnover.
The rapidly-shifting legal world of the present means different retention efforts are required of different types of employees. There will always be those you want to stick around forever: your marketing genius, an inspiring team leader, or an employee beloved by clients. Then there will be short-term key-players: personnel hired to onboard new technology or those with specialized, high-demand skills. Lastly, there are those employees who require little training, whose positions are easy to fill, or whose skills are not in demand. Each group requires a unique approach to retention; what’s more, the specific effort required changes according to market trends.
Naturally, there is no single formula for a successful market-driven retention strategy. Compensation, job description, customizability, social environment, and location, among a range of other factors determine whether an employee stays or goes—and in each case the weight of these factors varies.
Staying on Top
The best way to stay on top of evolving market trends and, by extension, on top of the competitive legal world, is to seek expert insight. An experienced law firm marketing consultant not only cues you to emergent market shifts, but frees up time and mental space for you to focus on what you are trained for: lawyering.
Legal Marketing Flow is the only one-stop shop legal marking firm with 25+ years of law firm marketing knowledge. For expert advice on how to implement a market-driven talent retention strategy as well as so much more, give us a call at (720) 990-9673 or reach out via the contact form on our website.