5 Keys for Keeping Your Keepers

As recruiters, we often advise clients to do everything in their power to “keep their keepers” to enhance the stability, value, and growth of their firms or corporations.

This article will summarize 5 easily implemented and market-tested strategies to improve the longevity of your placements and to diminish the efforts of outside recruiters who are calling your clients on a daily basis. I have written this article with the intent that you customize it for your industry and share it with your own clients. They will appreciate learning how to increase their retention ratios, avoid unnecessary turnover and lower their per hire costs.

1. Hire The Right Person: As simple as it sounds, many retention problems can be avoided by careful candidate selection. Proper interviewing and screening can eliminate the turnover problems associated with rapid and careless hiring. By involving every relevant person in the hiring process and soliciting their input, you will make a more informed decision as well as showing your employees you value and respect their opinions. By all means, avoid the “desperation hire” if at all possible and consider unique interview strategies. Most employees involved in hiring should be trained on how to conduct a proper and comprehensive interview.

2. Integrate New Hires Properly: The first 2-4 weeks after a new employee joins your firm are critical to the candidate’s long-term success. Making sure that the new hire’s basic needs are anticipated and provided on their first day are imperative. In brief, a new employee should: (1) be greeted on their first day by a majority of the key employees they will be working closely with; (2) have their office, business cards and supplies ready and available; (3) have another employee designated to ensure they are being taken to lunch every day for their first week; and (4) have someone checking in with the new employee at the end of every third day during their first two weeks to make sure their acclimation is proceeding smoothly.

3. Pay Your Employees Fairly: This DOES NOT mean to always pay employees the highest salaries in the market or provide the most lucrative financial packages in the industry. I have placed many of the “highest paid” attorneys in other positions for less money because of different perceived benefits (i.e. better growth opportunity, better lifestyle, nicer people, more pleasant office environment, etc.). Beware hiring people who are only interested in compensation as their primary motivation to make a career change. On the other hand, avoid trying to scrimp on salary if you have identified an ideal candidate; be prepared to show flexibility and creativity if necessary to structure an appropriate deal. The return on investment for a proper hire will more than offset the additional monies spent.

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4. Treat Your Employees As You Would Wish To Be Treated: This is nothing more than the time honored “Golden Rule.” Too many partners and managers, by virtue of their position, exercise ruthless authority over others and give no ground when issues arise which require compassion and/or flexibility. Always remember that “life happens” and employees, try as they may, will have unexpected matters that arise. As long as an emergency or other matter is legitimate, non-recurring and significant, most employees will appreciate and remember when some leniency is given at such times.

5. Remember Important Dates: Loyalty and retention skyrocket when management makes a sincere attempt to acknowledge important dates in an employee’s life such as a birthday, a firm anniversary or a milestone achievement. Recognition can be as simple as serving a celebratory cake in the afternoon, giving an appropriate token of appreciation to an employee by the employer or sending a firm wide congratulatory email. These items are simple to do, cost-effective, easily implemented and quite appreciated.

Joseph E. Ankus is one of Florida's leading legal recruiters with over 13 years of experience in associate and partner placement. Based in Fort Lauderdale, Joe recruits attorneys primarily in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach. In addition to being a licensed Florida attorney, Joe also offers recruitment training to recruiting firms, law firms and corporations. To learn more about his background and recruiting seminars, visit his website,  email him, or call Joe at 954.349.4428.

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