employee engagement without money

January is a month of new beginnings. Indeed, the very word “January” derives from the Latin Januarius mensis meaning ‘month of Janus,’ the Roman god of doors, transitions, and openings. As you start in on 2022, this is the time to assess what’s been going well, what could be going better, and how your firm can best grow in the new year.

At Hiring & Empowering Solutions, we consistently hear attorneys talk about one thing that could always stand to improve: employee engagement. Really, this is no surprise. Teamwork, after all, is the secret to growth…and yet keeping a team on track and invested is no simple task.

If you shudder at the idea of growth because you think it means you’ll need to do more, you’re not alone. Most attorneys are maxed out, and plagued by the sense that they’re the only one worried about reaching goals and generating revenue. However common this may be, it’s not normal.

If growth creates more work for you, you’re doing it wrong. Your firm should grow in step with your team, not in spite of it. When employees are engaged, workload is well-distributed and the burden of growth does not rest disproportionately on any one person’s shoulders.

Three Ways to Engage Employees that Don’t Involve Money

Money is no more a sustainable solution to employee engagement than screen time is a sustainable solution to child boredom. Top-notch employees will always be able to find someone willing to pay them more. What keeps them on your team is purpose, not profit.

Inject your team with purpose, and their growth will become your own. The following three tips will help get you there:

1. Be A Life-Giving Leader

In 2012 David W. Ballard, PsyD, MBA, assistant executive director of applied psychology at the American Psychological Association wrote, “To engage the workforce and remain competitive, it’s no longer sufficient to focus solely on benefits. Top employers create an environment where employees feel connected to the organization and have a positive work experience that’s part of a rich, fulfilling life.”

In 2022, this statement is truer than ever. The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed life’s fragile nature, and workers have responded by insisting that their job leave them space to live.

Yes, this means people want work-life balance, but it also means they want to feel like they do something at their job. We’re talking about community, learning, and a positive social impact. Give your team these things, and you won’t need to give them a raise to keep them onboard.

2. Nurture Communication

Homo sapiens conquered the world because our communication skills allowed us to form communities large enough to overcome competitors. The desire to talk, bond, and find our place in the fold is written into our genes. It should come as no surprise, then, that employees thrive in a communication-driven environment.

For law firms, this not only means creating spaces where employees can chat and share ideas, but it also means instituting mechanisms that facilitate transparent and honest feedback from you to your team and vice versa. After all, employees want to know their role and to have their voice heard. Only when you address these basic needs will you see your team truly engage.

3. Provide a Growth Plan

As deep in our DNA as the need to communicate is the need to grow. All of us (but especially high-performers) seek constant improvement. If you want to retain top talent, then, a plan to foster their continued professional development needs to be a feature of your hiring policy.

Supporting your team’s continued growth isn’t just about retention, but about self-care, too. If you run a law firm, you know how hard it is to confidently let go of day-to-day tasks and make space for other crucial pursuits. When you invest in an employee growth plan, you also invest in developing the ability to delegate with the knowledge that your team is trained to handle their new responsibilities.

Employee retention is more critical than it has ever been, in the history of time. Time, attention, feedback, coaching, personal and professional development…these are the ONLY ways—even over money—to keep your employees. If you don’t have a consistent, empowering process for keeping your employees engaged (and happy, and thriving), now is the time to book a call with me to develop a plan for action and retention deployed in your business.

employee playbook


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