The Talent Magnet
Over the past five years, I have written many Third Thursday articles about things which have improved my practice. From polices and procedures to case management software, each of these things have helped grow the firm. But the single biggest thing responsible for our growth and success has been the people who we have hired. Great employees make for a great business. But where did we find these great employees? They are out there, you have to offer them something to attract them to your firm and become the talent magnet.
Let’s face it. A generic want ad which says, “law firm looking for motivated individual to join our team . . .” is just not going to attract the type of people you want to hire. So, what do the “A” employees look for in a job? The economy is strong, so the best employees can afford to be select when deciding on a job.
The following three characteristics come from the book, “The Talent Magnet” by Mark Miller. Assuming you are offering competitive wages and benefits, Miller has identified three things the best employees look for in a job. I believe Miller’s conclusions are spot on.
Most people quit their job because of their boss. Employees want to come to work and do a good job, but when they are hindered by a boss, work becomes, well, just a job. In keeping with this idea, top talent wants to work for a good boss, not just an average boss, but a good boss. A good boss cares about them, their lives and their future. A good boss stays engaged with his employees and is not absorbed in his own work. And finally, a good boss leads well. Good employees look for these qualities in a boss when they decide where to apply. To attract “A” employees, you must be a good boss. Of course, you should be a good boss for your existing employees as well. Becoming a good boss and providing a good environment to work takes a great deal of soul searching, but I am convinced it is the secret to a successful law practice.
Let’s face it. People switch jobs a lot more frequently today than in the past. It’s not just the millennials, it is everyone. Employees are always looking at the current job as a way to improve themselves in their next job. So, to attract good employees, you have to offer them the chance at improvement. Whether it is new skills or new experience, top talent looks for what the job will offer to them. They want personal and professional growth. If your firm will support it, they look for the opportunity of promotion. The best employees want to be challenged and see the opportunity for improvement. Once again, this takes some soul searching to ensure your firm can satisfy this need. If you cannot, you will not attract the best employees.
Yes, everything they say in business journals is true. Vision is important when it comes to success, and success comes from attracting top talent. The best employees today want to feel like they are making a difference. All lawyers make a difference in their clients’ lives, no matter what your practice area. The key is engaging your employees to be a part of making a difference. In addition to making a difference in our clients’ lives, employees want to make a difference in the community. As a boss, you need to align these tendencies for your employees. Potential employees, at least the good ones, will investigate your firm and you can demonstrate your vision and attract the top talent.
Bring it all together
Each of the three items above takes a tremendous amount of reflection and practice to implement. But, the rewards in becoming a talent magnet will be worth it. If you can attract and hire top candidates, your life and your practice will thrive.