Some say that employee retention is a thing of the past. That employees have no loyalty anymore. And with statistics in favor of these beliefs—an incredible 3.4 million American workers left their jobs this past April—it’s hard to argue. Maybe loyalty is dead and employee retention is an archaic HR concept with no place in the modern workforce.
Or maybe businesses are just going about it the wrong way.
Maybe the leadership at your small law firm or other business is unknowingly driving employees into the arms of another employer. Failure to recognize employees as humans who require connection and value contribution —creatures who need communication and to know they contribute value to your team and your clients—is the #1 employee retention issue we have come across in our 20 years of legal staffing experience.
We also continue to run into the old “we-pay-them-and-thus-they-will-remain-loyal” mentality, which is completely unrealistic. In fact, jumping ship and swimming over to another firm generally results in a 30% pay increase for the employee. So forget about buying loyalty. It has to be earned instead.
So how can your firm earn the loyalty of its people? How can you improve employee retention, even in a world where job hoping is the norm? We have two words for you:
Connection and communication.
The easiest way to integrate connection and communication into your human resources strategy is to work it into your calendar. Here are suggestions for weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual communications that can increase employee retention and loyalty:
Give each of your employees a 30-minute touch base every week. Recognize their efforts and accomplishments, provide them with constructive feedback on whatever isn’t working, and discuss the need for any additional training or development they may need to keep moving forward. Stay on top of these three simple things and we promise it’ll make a world of difference!
Monthly Lunch Date
Treat each of your employees to a casual lunch, outside of the office, every month. Leaving the office puts you both on neutral ground, which opens the door to creating a personal connection with your employees. While you don’t want to become best friends with your team members, it’s important to show empathy—it will build the morale of your team and, ultimately, improve performance. Remember: employees are loyal to leaders; not jobs. Developing a personal and empathetic connection can work wonders for employee retention and loyalty.
As important as building strong one-on-one relationships with your team is building a strong, cohesive team! Once per quarter, plan a company outing—a BBQ, an escape room, go-kart racing, or even something as simple as dinner at a trendy new restaurant. This will strengthen the bond between you and your team members, and build loyalty.
Don’t roll your eyes. We don’t believe in the old, outdated idea of a stuffy and uncomfortable annual review where the employee comes prepared with a list of accomplishments and a request for a pay increase, and the leader retorts with a list of the employee’s shortcomings and other reasons why they deserve less of a pay increase. In fact, we’ve written extensively about how ineffective employee reviews really are in the article, ‘Say Goodbye to the Employee Evaluation and Hello to Employee Empowerment.’ The truth is, if you stick with the weekly, monthly and quarterly activities outlined above, you won’t need to engage in the old school song-and-dance of the stereotypical annual review. Rather, you’ll be able to focus on discussing growth opportunities—empowering your employees with new opportunities for professional development—and having a productive back-and-forth in which the employee feels open enough to express their opinion and the leader is enlightened enough to actually listen.
There are seemingly countless articles and statistics that say employee retention and loyalty are nothing but a memory these days, but we beg to differ. Understanding that employees are people—just like you and me—who thrive on connection and communication, will enable your firm to keep its top people happy and engaged, which will, in turn, lead to happy clients and an ever-increasing bottom line.