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The people cycle

The people cycle

Redundancies are so 2009 … Law firms are hiring again, and retaining talent is the newest buzz word, again. Corrs Chambers Westgarth human resources manager, Alexis Navie, writes.

Redundancies are so 2009 … Law firms are hiring again, and retaining talent is the newest buzz word (again). Corrs Chambers Westgarth human resources manager, Alexis Navie, writes.


According to a study by McKinsey & Co, involving 77 companies and over 6,000 managers and executives – the most important corporate resource over the next 20 years will be talent.

Post GFC, the search for the best and brightest has become a challenging and costly battle. Organisations need to devise more innovative talent acquisition practices, and they will also have to work harder to keep their best people.

Only last year we witnessed many firms putting in place a number of strategies to reduce labour costs, including pay and hiring freezes, along with encouraging people to work part-time and take leave. Now less than 12 months later, we are seeing a resurgence of the “war for talent”. Attractive salary packages and a nice office are no longer enough to draw in and retain the best talent.

So what gets people out of bed each day and want to go to work? This is the million dollar question for leaders and managers. Here are a few ideas that we have tried which you might find helpful:

· Money is important, it is a sign of reward and recognition so get your compensation strategy right. Make sure the criteria is clear and you can explain logically why they have received the salary that they have.

· Benefits are important too but a benefit for some may not be as attractive to others so do your research with this.

· Understand the reasons for your attrition. Where are people going, what are the reasons, are there any trends to report to your firm’s leadership? Getting this right will save a lot of time and money.

· Give your people great training and learning opportunities. Never underestimate the value of doing interesting work and then having the support to ensure people are successful. A variety of programs always helps.

· Great people managers make a huge difference. If you don’t have the right people in these roles, then change the people or train them to do their roles more effectively. Your staff need regular feedback, encouragement and coaching to meet your expectations.

· Understand what motivates your people. Staff engagement surveys are helpful and provide valuable insight into what people want.

In his book, The War for Talent, Ed Michaels wisely said retaining talented employees should not be a set of superior human resources processes, but a mindset that emphasizes the importance of talent to the success of organisations. He is right, as HR professionals, we pride ourselves on how terrific our new performance management process is, or our new mentoring program, but these things are only as good as the people who understand them and use them to achieve what is really important.

Workplaces bring together people from all generations who have different values, work ethics, leadership styles, communication and learning preferences and attitude toward work and family. You have to plan for the future but also act today.


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