Why "The Why" Matters: How to Find Your Purpose to Attract & Retain Top Talent

For years now, the labor market has been undergoing a generational shift. Workers of the Millennial and Gen Z generations dominate the talent pool, and their priorities have little to do with those of their forebears. Experts have long warned of this change, but it took a global pandemic to cast it in clear light and force even the most skeptical of observers to admit that old norms are gone for good. These days, if you want to attract and retain top talent, you need to offer not just a generous salary and benefits package, but purpose, too. Young professionals prioritize meaning above all else (yes, even money), which means defining “the why” of your firm matters now more than ever.

Five Steps to Defining Your “Why”

1. Define Core Values
What three to five things matter most to your firm? Which values are non-negotiable?

2. Identify Role Models
Which companies (not just law firms) do you admire most? How can you emulate those characteristics that you hold in highest esteem?

3. Reflect on Your Legacy
One day your firm will be gone. While that day is hopefully a long way off, it nonetheless helps to reflect on the legacy you hope to leave. What would you want your firm to be remembered for?

4. Define Your Goals
Upon the basis of the values identified, what goals do you have for your firm? How can you become a better version of what you already are?

5. Articulate Your “Why”
Your firm’s “why” will emerge as a reflection of your goals and values. When taken all together, what do these elements tell you about why you do what you do? Don’t worry if, in realizing your purpose, you discover that it’s more aspirational than tangible. At this stage, all that matters is that it’s authentic.

Once you have done the hard work of finding “the why” of your firm, the next step is to integrate it into your operations. This means making sure everyone on your team understands (and is onboard with) your collective project. It also means ensuring that your marketing and outreach materials clearly reflect the purpose you have articulated.

Integrating your “why” into your firm’s operations and image won’t happen overnight. An authentic upgrade of your brand takes time (and, yes, money) but the payback will be enormous. As you engineer a more purposeful enterprise, your ability to attract and retain top talent will accelerate past that of your competitors, which will quickly offset the cost of material upgrades in website content and onboarding materials (to name but a few of the changes you may need to make). What’s more, doing so will also infuse your work with meaning, which means greater job satisfaction and, in turn, greater reward.

When both you and your team are working with shared purpose and direction, progress almost feels easy, staff retention and talent acquisition become an afterthought, and well-being transforms into a given.

To learn more about discovering your firm’s “why” and putting this powerful knowledge to work do not hesitate to book a call with Hiring & Empowering founder and best-selling author, Molly McGrath, today. 

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