With so many professional services firms facing talent shortages in all departments, we were looking forward to the final session of The Lawyer's Marketing Leadership Summit where an esteemed group of panellists discussed the role that marketing and BD teams have in helping firms win the war on talent.
Here are my key takeaways from one of the day's most interesting sessions.
Panel Discussion: Using your employer brand to win the war for talent
The always insightful Sophie Bowkett of Bird & Bird led the session as moderator alongside our panellists.
- Sadie Baron, Chief Marketing Officer, Reed Smith
- David McClune, Chief Marketing Officer, Hogan Lovells
- Marc DonFrancesco, International Communications, Associate Director, McDermott Will & Emery
Adopting the right mindset toward churn
A common point across all our panellists was they each took a very mature mindset towards outbound talent. Sadie and Marc both commented specifically that leaders need to understand and accept that people will leave roles for a number of reasons, being able to accept that makes for a more rational and healthy approach to managing churn.
Don't take it personally if people move on. Not everyone needs to stay.
As Sadie put it, treat people well so they don't want to leave but train them to fly if they want. Prepare your teams so that if people want to leave, they leave as well equipped as possible for future success.
Nurture existing talent
With such a shortage of talent, retaining the firm's top performers has become a priority. Some tips from our panel were to pay as much attention to your talent as possible talent poachers would. Understand the goals, passions and challenges of those in your team.
A second important way for leaders to retain existing talent is to create a sense of pride and purpose as a function. Make people feel proud to be part of the team.
Manage Leavers Well
Happy alumni are the sign of a good employer according to David, managing leaving staff appropriately is an often neglected side to the challenge of talent. Thanking and recognising the contributions of that person is a key part of ending that person's service to the firm.
One of the more contentious points from the session was how to communicate when someone leaves. There doesn't seem to be a recognised convention around how much internal and external communication should be executed around people leaving.