How to Retain Lawyers Without a Significant Pay Rise?

 In Blog, Company Culture, Employee Engagement, Opinions

Lawyers are set for a pay rise in 2022

According to Robert Walters UK, lawyers across the UK are set for a pay rise. Professional services firms are planning to increase their budget for pay rises by 10-15% this year.

The research looked at the roles advertised over a 12-month period to calculate the upper and lower limits of the salary range, finding that newly qualified solicitors in City firms are offered salaries in the £70-£107.5k range, while those in West End firms are offered pay within the £44-67k range.

US firms are offering much larger salaries for newly qualified solicitors: £120-£157k for roles at New York-based firms and £90-£120k at Mid-Atlantic practices.

This creates a significant strain for smaller practices that might not necessarily have the budget to compete with high salaries.

This is why we’ve written this article – to highlight what else lawyers care about apart from a salary and how to create a workplace that still thrives and retains employees even without huge pay rises.

What’s important for lawyers at work

In the light of the ‘Great Resignation’ and law firm salary rises the recruitment market is much more candidate-driven than before. Candidates have much more decision power than before. 64% of them feel that their pay does not accurately reflect the work they do. Hence law firms responded with a pay rise.

However, a pay rise might not be enough to retain employees. Here are the top 3 things that lawyers care about:

  • Compensation – 57% of legal professionals valued receiving excellent compensation and benefits,
  • Flexible Working – 53% valued flexible working arrangements,
  • Company Culture – 47% valued working with inspiring colleagues and company culture.

High compensation is important but there are also other factors that have a significant impact of employee retention.

Flexible working

Three-day work week seems to be a new norm after the pandemic. Most companies Your FLOCK works with offer a flexible timetable with three days at the office.

This is not an add-on benefit anymore. This is the bare minimum that will keep your practice competitive in the recruitment market. If you are not offering flexible work you might find it harder to recruit in 2022.

Company Culture

Creating a culture that’s engaging for lawyers is the 3rd most important factor when choosing employees. However, working in a flexible and remote team makes it more difficult to create a culture that people identify themselves with. Investing in your culture is arguably the cheapest way to retain your employees.

The best way to retain your employees is by investing in better communication and relationships. Here are a few ideas…

Improve your environmental impact

The Law Society has recently published a joint commitment climate change resolution showing how to create a climate-conscious approach to legal practice.

This highlights the fact that lawyers care about how your legal practice is helping to achieve the net-zero emissions and will support practices that do. Here are 4 different ways you can improve your firm’s environmental impact.

Wellbeing initiatives

The legal sector is known for higher rates of burnout. In 2020, 31% of lawyers reported feeling depressed, 64% admitted to suffering from anxiety. Thankfully, after the pandemic, the attitude towards employee wellbeing has evolved and firms are now realising that by investing in employee wellbeing they improve their productivity and decrease the negative effects of absenteeism and presenteeism.

A few quick wins you can implement at your business include:

  • Raising awareness about mental wellbeing. Enable conversations about mental health by providing opportunities for employees to talk about this issue both confidentially and as a team. It further promotes open dialogue and embodies positive attitudes within the workplace, resulting in improved internal relationships.
  • Offering access to various resources and support systems. Businesses can provide employees with access to external support, like Bupa’s mental health support team or connect them to free mental health services offered by the NHS. It’s also a good idea to have a designated and confidential way for staff to raise any personal mental health concerns they may have.
  • Promote an active lifestyle. Offering a variety of healthy guided activities that all employees can partake in is a natural and enjoyable way to encourage in-office wellness and boost productivity levels. To further inspire a better work-life balance, allocate time for individuals to enjoy fitness activities that they might not have time to practice before or after work.

Spent more time on 1-2-1s that reach further than just work

In law firms billing hours often takes priority over management. The usual norm is for Heads of Departments to have annual 1-2-1s focused around performance, quarterly 1-2-1s in the best-case scenarios.

However, 57% of people who leave their jobs do so due to their managers, not their salary. By investing in creating a better relationship between managers and employees you can potentially improve your employee retention by up to 57%!

To achieve that you need to organise more frequent but shorter 1-2-1s with your employees. Spending 15minutes with each one of your employees once a month to discuss any of their challenges in or outside work can really improve your relationships and build a more productive team.

At Your FLOCK, we found out that 89% of managers admit that they simply don’t have enough time to lead and engage with their employees.

This is why we’ve created an Employee Engagement Platform that turns months of management into minutes by flagging team members who need your urgent support so you can take quick action and ensure they stay engaged.

Feedback Culture

Providing feedback to others can be very powerful if it is done correctly. A simple ‘you are great’ can only go so far. We recommend using and promoting constructive feedback following the SBI Model:

  • Situation: you outline the situation you’re referring to, so that the context is clear and specific.
  • Behavior: you discuss the precise behavior that you want to address.
  • Impact: finally, you highlight the impact of the person’s behavior on you, the team and the organisation.

Creating a routine to share feedback every Friday afternoon can create a powerful cornerstone of your company culture.

If you’d like to find out more about what Your FLOCK does and how it helps law firms or would like to subscribe to get our content on improving engagement in your law practice please leave your email here and we will keep you posted.

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