Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

4 Ways to Attract and Retain Top Talent

If you want to get and keep top young legal talent, create a firm culture based on principles that are important to them.

Here are four to start with: diversity, inclusion, environmental sustainability, and mentoring.

Recent workplace studies show that an overwhelming majority of millennials are making job decisions based on these factors.

Take, for example, this 2017 national survey conducted by Deloitte, which found that more than three-quarters of all young professionals (not just lawyers) would happily abandon their current job for a comparable one with a more diverse workplace.

“A staggering number of respondents (80 percent) say that inclusion is an important factor in choosing an employer,” according to the Deloitte report. “Seventy-two percent said they would leave or may consider leaving an organization for one that has more of the inclusive aspects they desire. In fact, nearly a quarter of all respondents have already done just that.”

On the environmental front, another survey found that 70 percent of millennials said “sustainability” was a key consideration in choosing a job. Ten percent said they would take as much as a $5,000-$10,000 pay cut to work at an environmentally responsible firm.

Your Firm’s Culture Counts

When it comes to weighing employment options, company culture is the second most important factor – right behind compensation and benefits – that job applicants consider, according to this poll.

And not just any culture will do the trick. The best and brightest are looking for a job that embraces specific values, starting with diversity and inclusion.

“Culture is a company’s personality, including the behavioral expectations, practices, and other norms that influence how people interact both internally and on its behalf,” says Hired. “Recent years have seen an exceptional awareness and prioritization of workplace culture by both employers and employees. Ignore it at your own risk.”

Diversity and Inclusion Are Good For Business

The business case for a law firm that is inclusive and diverse – for gender, age, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity – is self-evident.

“Diverse workplace teams solve problems more quickly, and companies with diverse senior-level teams are more successful,” reports the US Chamber of Commerce. “This data translates into economic benefits for companies that engage in inclusive policies. Companies that adopt these policies show a long term increase in financial performance compared to peer companies that do not.”

To this end, the Chamber has launched the initiative Inclusion Incorporated, which it calls “a first-of-its-kind research and education campaign to demonstrate the value of an LGBT-inclusive workplace and help businesses foster the environment to attract and retain LGBT talent, partners, and customers.”

The vast majority of Fortune 500 companies are already on board. Ninety-one percent have sexual orientation protections and 83 percent have gender identity protections in their employment policies and core values.

Tending to Mother Earth

The evidence is just as strong in support of environmentally sustainable policies. One study found that 70 percent of job seekers are more likely to choose a firm that embraces recycling, clean energy, public transportation, pro bono environmental work, and other principles of sustainability.

“Millennials – who will make up three-quarters of the workforce in six years – are most likely to have [already] done this,” says Fast Company. “Nearly 40 percent said that they’ve chosen a job in the past because the company performed better on sustainability than the alternative. Less than a quarter of Gen X respondents said the same, and only 17 percent of baby boomers.”

This forward-looking approach applies also to mentoring and job training. The Hired survey found that “learning new skills” and “having challenging assignments and growth opportunities” were among the top five factors for job seekers.

What about your firm? Are these principles part of your work culture?

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About the Author

Jay Reeves

jay.reeves@ymail.com | 919-619-2441

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. Over the course of his 35-year career he was a solo practitioner, corporate lawyer, legal editor, Legal Aid staff attorney and insurance risk manager. Today he helps lawyers and firms put more mojo in their practice through marketing, work-life balance and reclaiming passion for what they do. He is available for consultations, retreats and presentations.

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