13th Mar 2019

Is a stand-out benefits package the key to staff retention in the legal sector?

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The challenge

It’s an unfortunate, yet relatively well-known secret in the legal sector that staff retention is of growing concern. The recruitment costs as well as the downturn in production when staff leave can be eye-watering.

More frightening still is that according to research by Douglas Scott [1], legal professionals tend to get itchy feet and consider a career change after 4.1 years in a role. So people are potentially leaving your firm right as they reach their most valuable. The same research said that 24% of legal sector professionals they surveyed said they were likely to look for a new role this year!

We know in the legal sector that Gen Y (Millennials) are a demographic that are particularly valuable to law firms, and these employees can be the most difficult to keep engaged. They are typically looking for quick career progression and often prefer more modern working practices so culture, progression and benefits are very important to this section of your workforce.

Whilst part of this can be attributed to the nature of the work, after all, working in the legal sector is as demanding a profession as it is a prestigious one, it is still worrying that, according to Changeboard [2], ‘lawyers working in law firms have the lowest psychological and psychosomatic health and wellbeing than all other professionals’. An insight piece by BCL Legal [3] also suggested that the office culture and out dated working practices ‘undoubtedly leads to lower levels of engagement and a higher turnover of staff’.

What can be done?

As experts in employee benefits, and having worked extensively with firms in the legal sector, we found it interesting that firms aren’t using their benefits offering as a way of tackling this problem. For example, 37% of respondents to Douglas Scott’s industry survey who said they were unhappy with their benefits package also said they were likely to move roles within 6 months.

Even those that are looking at their benefits may not be focussing their attention in the right areas. Flexi-time together with agile working is considered one of the most valued/desired benefits in the legal sector yet 80% of firms aren’t offering it.

The truth is very few firms are offering a benefits package that differentiates them from the rest of the market, and as such are not utilising a valuable tool in attracting and keeping their best employees happy.

How can Broadstone help?

Our employee benefits consulting team have extensive experience of working with clients in the legal sector and therefore understand the unique challenges that law firms face when it comes to staff retention.

We know how benefits can help tackle this problem and we utilise this knowledge, combined with our expertise in benefit scheme design to help firms develop an employee benefits offering that meets the needs of the sponsoring employer as well as employees. If firms do manage to get this right it helps them steal a march on their competition when it comes to retaining top talent.

[1] Douglas Scott – Salary and Benefits Benchmarker 2018

[2] www.changeboard.com

[3] www.bcl.com