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I was recently discussing with a candidate the importance of integrity in business. It got me thinking about how honesty impacts the success of many types of relationships including that of the employer/employee. When we speak to candidates about their job search, what they are looking to achieve in the next move and, importantly, why they are unhappy in their new role I often think that many of the issues could be improved by open and honest communication. “Companies with high trust levels give employees unvarnished information about company’s performance and explain the rationale behind management decisions,” said Keith Denton of the Department of Management at Missouri State University. “Lack of good communication leads to distrust, dissatisfaction, cynicism and turnover,” he said.
This all seems very obvious but it never fails to amaze me how often I sit with candidates having the same discussions about where their unhappiness stems from. This might be anything from a lack of understanding about the direction of a company leading to disengagement, not understanding how they can develop within the company’s structure leading to feeling stifled, failing to understand the rationale behind decisions and simply a lack of feedback on performance resulting in an employee feeling undervalued and lacking personal development. When we speak to trusted HR departments about how to recruit within the legal market and just as importantly (if not more so!) how to retain staff, they often ask about salary surveys, benefit packages and bonus entitlements, I always try and emphasise that the softer areas are just as important. Employees need to feel engaged, valued and developed.
As the legal market reaches it most buoyant phase for the last 4 years we will undoubtedly move back into a recruitment market driven by candidates, not job opportunities. Those lawyers with strong legal skills especially in the areas that suffered in the recession such as corporate and commercial property will have numerous options and don’t have to stay in a role that they are no longer happy in. Make sure that you are not one of the departments that suffer an exodus in a good market by fostering a culture of honesty and communication that will undoubtedly increase employee satisfaction. Ensure that your people know how they can progress, have access to regular courses to promote personal and professional development and receive regular feedback so feel their contribution is acknowledged and valued. Don’t under estimate the impact of many small changes and simply saying ‘thank-you’!
At BCL Legal we are here to help. If you a candidate that feels undervalued we will help you find an employee that will value your skills. Alternatively you might be an employer looking for assistance with general market information, again we can help!