The design of recruitment and retention strategies
As with most professional services firms today, a leading national law firm in Europe was experiencing a particularly high level of turnover and we helped them design and implement a new talent framework in response to that specific challenge.
Every company or firm today is facing the challenge that the best talent is also potentially the most mobile (the development of the recruitment and headhunting industry in general has facilitated professional mobility on an international basis). This considerably increased mobility requires law firms to find new ways to engage high calibre professionals at all stages of their career.
When we looked at the turnover rates as well as the talent framework as a whole, it was clear that the best place to start to address the retention issue was to look at how the firm selected and recruited its staff. The firm in question is a firm of the highest reputation that many young lawyers aspire to join as evidenced by the number of applications that the firm receives on a yearly basis. However, the firm has a very specific culture and making sure that the people selected not only have the right skills for their level of seniority but also have the personality and values that fit that specific culture was the obvious first step.
The recruitment process that we designed in this context included, among the usual guidelines for selecting the appropriate profiles, a process to facilitate the exchange of feedback between partners and competency framework for each level of seniority, the following additional elements:
individual assessments of all candidates and individual tailored feedback provided to every recruiting partner; and
equipping the recruiting partners with the tools and skills to interview and select the right candidates for their department/team.
The ability of partners to understand the individual talents, motivations and internal drivers of new lawyers joining the firm enables them to make good hiring decisions. It is also the starting point to enable them to manage the development of their lawyers with the insight and understanding that they need in order to make sure that, despite today’s high mobility and competition for talent (especially at the mid-level career stage), they can significantly improve their ability to engage and retain the best talent.
Implementing a consistent and high level recruitment process is the first step towards addressing the retention challenges, the next phases are to redesign the performance management system as well as to introduce a mentoring framework to foster the support of individual development and potential.