A Survival Guide for Legal Practice Managers

A Survival Guide for Legal Practice Managers

The Importance of an Employer Brand

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

By Marianna Tuccia, Legal Recruiter, empire group 

"Finding good people" remains the number one challenge facing Australian law firms, in a sneak peak of results from the 2016 ALPMA/empire Group Australian Legal Industry Salary & HR Issues Survey results, which will be publicly released on Friday.  Attracting talent and retaining quality employees is becoming increasingly difficult for most organisations. This is due to a shortage of skilled candidates, the lack of employee loyalty as well as the many opportunities that exist for lawyers to work overseas.

The question becomes how does a law firm position themselves and make themselves more desirable to future employees? In order to attract, retain and develop talent, the recruitment function should be viewed as an extension of the marketing function. Organisations (and law firms included) must have clear strategies regarding marketing their brand to existing and future employees. This is because your employees are the organisation’s best advertising.

What is an employer brand? An employer brand communicates the organisations culture, vision, reputation and value system. Therefore, anything that an organisation does e.g. how management communicates internally and how an organisations services are perceived in the marketplace, impacts on the employer brand. For an employer brand to be successful, the entire employment life-cycle (e.g. the interview process, on-boarding, induction, performance reviews, exit interviews) needs to be scrutinised and where necessary improved and enhanced. It must always be remembered that quality candidates will always have several options to choose from.

When attracting the talent, the first interview is crucial in communicating the employer brand. Interviews are always crucial in communicating the employer brand. Interviews are always a two-way street and talented candidates do not move purely for an increase in remuneration. Candidates want to know about an organisations culture and philosophy and whether it is in line with their own value system, objectives and career goals.

It is very clear that in today’s mobile workforce, retaining talented employees is just as challenging as attracting new talent. Therefore, an organisations leadership, the way it communicates to its staff and the opportunities within the organisation to develop and [progress all impact on whether an employee will stay or jump to a competitor. The lack of training and development opportunities are the main motivators in employees leaving, not necessarily reward and remuneration. Keeping your staff motivated is one of the keys to low turnover as well as offering a workplace that is flexible and a management that is transparent in their decision-making.

There are many ways for an employer to improve their employer brand. Here are just a few practical tips:

  • Undertake research (both internally and externally) regarding the way current future employees perceive the experience of working at the firm;

  • If you make a job offer and it is declined, find out why the candidate was not interested in working for the organisation;

  • Conduct an audit of your organisations values and vision statement. It may be worthwhile to conduct a survey within the organisation to compare the value statement with the employees reality;

  • Always ensure that your values, vision and philosophy are conveyed at every step of the recruitment process;

  • Conduct an annual review of your employer brand and where necessary make changes to your organisations vision statement. This is where your staffs feedback is useful.

The aim of every organisation is to be “”Employer of Choice” and a strong employer brand will help a law firm or any organisation, attract and retain the best talent.

Editor's Note 

The ALPMA Legal Industry Salary & HR Issues Survey provides a comprehensive, independent review of salaries paid for legal, management and administrative positions in legal firms, and reveals the hottest HR issues and challenges for the legal industry in Australia and New Zealand.  

252 firms completed the 2016 Australian survey, proudly supported by the empire group,  while 69 firms completed the New Zealand survey, proudly supported by McLeod Duminy Legal Recruiters. All participants will receive their complimentary copy of the report on Monday, May 9.

If you didn't participate, and would like to understand more about law firm compensation strategies for FY17 and how your firm compares, then you can purchase the relevant report for $A550 (including GST) if you are an ALPMA member who did not participate in the research or for $A2,200 (including GST) for all non-members who did not participate in the research.  Please contact Connie Finestone if you have any questions about purchasing the report.

About our Guest Blogger

Marianna Tuscia
Marianna is a specialist professional legal recruiter at the empire group, with an in-depth understanding of the legal industry. Marianna is focused on recruiting lawyers (at all levels from NQ to Partner level) for the Australian, the UK and the Asian private practice sector.

Marianna’s track record includes sourcing senior practitioners for law firms as well as sourcing lawyers from overseas jurisdictions for Australian based private practice firms. Marianna also has experience in sourcing Australian lawyers for law firms across the UK and Asia.

Marianna consults clients regarding market trends, remuneration and salary benefits and assists lawyers at all levels to help them make an informed career choice. Marianna qualified as a lawyer and worked as a commercial litigator before embarking on a career in legal recruitment.

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