Frosso and Simone are both Directors at Anthem Consulting. specialists in the recruitment of marketing and business development professionals into the professional services sector including the legal profession. They have over 20 years' combined experience of recruiting into the legal sector.
Retention of business development staff can be a real issue within law firms. Many roles, particularly at the junior level have a life span of only two years and many people move after this time for career progression.
So, what can law firms do to ensure they are effectively managing people’s careers? It is crucial for hiring managers to develop a clear career path for their teams. A proper appraisal with an action plan which is measurable against a competency framework gives employees a clear goal to work against. This also helps line manager sto navigate unrealistic progression expectations from their staff.
It is appreciated, however, that career management processes in some firms are not so robust, so what else can be done to retain good staff?
Since the recession, many firms have shrunk their support teams and often not replaced leavers, particularly at the junior level. This has led to senior people taking on administrative tasks, which is not good for career development. It is essential that feedback from exit interviews is taken on board. Recruiting juniors to support senior business development managers is also vital to creating a stable team.
Adding some hierarchy into teams can also help motivate staff. There is often a large gap between an ‘Executive’ and ‘Manager’ or ‘Manager’ and ‘Head of. It is worth considering the introduction of a ‘Senior Executive’ or ‘Senior Manager’ title to give employeesrealistic aspirational goals.
Finally, it is important to consider salary when promoting employees. A nominal salary rise causes resentment and could still leave you exposed to losing a good member of the team. Don’t wait until you have a resignation on your desk to show people they’re valued.
The legal sector has come a long way in recognising the value that business development teams can add but following some of these simple steps could be the key to success in recruiting and retaining the best people.