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Help Wanted: Acquire, Train and Retain Employees

Your focus is managing and sustaining the day-to-day business, when you likely would prefer to put more attention and energy into growing the firm. Just managing the daily workflow can be easily overwhelming for you and your staff, so you need to expand your team. In today’s environment, finding qualified, talented candidates can be a significant challenge.

Interview handshake

Businesses need to keep up with the competitive job climate and ensure they’re standing out amongst competitors. Here are some tips that can help you navigate these challenges.

1. Expand candidate search channels. Leverage ad placement websites, but also consider reaching out to local colleges and universities to post your ad; often, it can be done for free. And don’t forget to post your ad on social media, in particular LinkedIn. Consider putting some money behind a LinkedIn ad to reach your target audience. Yet another opportunity is to get direct referrals from your staff (read more #2).

2. Bonus for an “employee referred” new hire. Incentivize your staff to help the search. Advertising can be expensive, so why not offer your team an opportunity earn a bonus for assisting with the effort. You can offer your staff a referral bonus for a confirmed hire who achieves a 90-day milestone or passes a training program. It will be money well spent.

3. Firm’s social media as a recruitment tool. Share employee experiences, events, celebrations, milestones, successes and charities that the firm and employees support. Get the word out! Who better to depict a day in the life at your firm than your staff -- it’s self-promotion via highlighting the “fun” and the “meaningful.” It can make a difference when potential employees are researching your firm.

4. Competitive salary and benefits. Research to make sure your salary and benefits are competitive in your industry, in your market. Develop a benefit package that will attract quality talent such as a higher pay scale than market average. Consider a benefit that will set you apart from other firms such as subsidizing continuing education/professional development or offering a retirement plan with a percent match.

A flexible work schedule is highly attractive to candidates, too. If you can offer that benefit without sacrificing efficiency and productivity, it will give you a huge advantage in recruitment efforts. In addition to the core benefits of competitive salary and health insurance, don’t overlook “the perks” when advertising your available positions. Be creative, as many times it is the perks that seal the deal.

5. Don’t miss out on potential applicants. Have a solid process established from placing the job posting to the interview to hiring. A candidate’s experience with your firm is important. Like any process instituted, it should be audited by management to identify areas of improvement.

Make sure that resumes are thoroughly vetted. Carefully screen applicants to ensure you aren’t leaving potential candidates unanswered and ignored.

Communicate, communicate, communicate. Keep the lines of communication open with candidates, informing them of next steps and timing. Don’t leave them in the dark as they will likely move on.

Another consideration is to take chances on prospects who have limited or no legal experience, yet possess other attributes and experiences that could benefit the firm. Perhaps you recognize an industry or business in your market where their employees are looking for a career change or advancement opportunities. If this is the case, your job posting would need to be adjusted to message directly to those individuals.

6. First impression, first week: Be sure the first impression with new employees is positive and welcoming. Plan an informal meet and greet with staff on the first day with bagels and coffee. It is a small gesture that can go a long way. Starting a new job can be daunting and frightening for some, so make sure their experience matches what you shared during the hiring process. It will reaffirm their decision to join your team.

Have a detailed training protocol in place so expectations are set. This structure should help to keep the new employee from feeling overwhelmed as they typically do the first several days on the job. Training guidelines ensure objectives are aligned and serve as reminder of the important tasks and attributes necessary to develop and support a successful employee. The more focus and emphasis placed on the importance of a training regimen, the sooner your new staff member will be making valuable contributions to your firm’s goals and success.

7. Invest in your team. Make sure your company has growth opportunities and a robust training/advancement program. There is no such thing as set it and forget it when hiring or sustaining your workforce. Ongoing training and mentorship programs are important to development of your employees. They want to contribute and succeed in their current positions, but also to know there are advancement opportunities that they can strive towards. This includes training programs onsite and offsite (webinars, continued education, etc.). Encourage, motivate and grow your team.

In today’s job market, talent acquisition is extremely difficult and candidates have the leverage. All businesses need to take extra steps to entice and retain qualified candidates. These are just a few ideas that could help in your efforts. As you know, there is a significant cost to employee turnover, so invest now or pay later.

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