Retain over Recruit

Feb 2018


When it comes to recruitment, much of the emphasis lies in working out a strategy to attract the best people to your firm / organisation. You know you need to pull out all the stops. But what about retaining staff? Developing and maintaining a specific retention strategy can often fall by the wayside.

Recruiting new staff and developing your existing people will always involve a cost element. How do you weigh up the benefits of developing your people against the risks of them moving on regardless? More importantly, what if you do not develop them and they stay?

Here are some basics to consider if you want to keep your lawyers ‘sweet’:

Appreciate individual needs

Each employee will be looking for something different, something individual. Play to their strengths. Make sure the commitments you made when hiring them are there throughout their career with you. For those who have highlighted they want business development experience, give them that exposure with the freedom to test their creative abilities. For the person showing more potential for managing people, custom-build a programme that suits their role and status.


Despite an increasing choice of technological communications channels, many of us are still not getting it right.

  • We all agree e-mail is great. As well as saving staff from leaving the comfort of their chair, it provides an audit trail and lets everyone see that they are communicating. But is it becoming too easy? If you really think about it, these perceived advantages are not for the benefit of the recipients! Why not actively encourage more face-to-face conversation as part of your team building strategy?
  • Everyone should be taking the time to ask themselves if communication really needs to be communicated. Does it fall into the ‘nice to know’ or ‘need to know’ category? Key concepts here are filter the important stuff and adapt the message to your target audience.
  • Communications technology is a costly business, so make sure time is spent actually communicating.
  • Don’t underestimate the value of a handwritten note or a voice mail message. In an age dominated by e-communication, taking the time to write a note or speak to a colleague can make the recipient feel more valued and set you apart from the competition.
  • Of course formal meetings and appraisals have their place, but critically so do two-minute chats by the coffee machine or a quick lunch to touch base.
  • Over utilising corporate / technical jargon may make us feel good about ourselves, but colleagues would probably prefer straightforward language.
  • Saying ‘thank you’ may seem obvious. However, there are few things we all like to hear more than a genuine ‘thank you’ which can go a long way to making staff feeling valued.

Ultimately, people are your most important resource. Remember that your people have the potential to add enormous value to your business, and boasting about attracting the best is one thing… being able to hold on to them is something else!

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