How can employers attract and retain the best people?

The pandemic sparked a huge shift in how and where we work. What can employers do to attract and retain the best people beyond offering a high salary? These were the issues at the heart of a recent webinar for STEP’s Employer Partners. We asked our speakers to give us a summary of the key issues that employers need to address. Here are their key takeaways:

Bethan Byrne TEP, Mishcon de Reya

  1. Identifying the right STEP qualification is key. What is right for one individual is not right for another. Have they thought about when is the best time to take the next step, their existing commitments and why they feel the training is best for them? Do they want to deepen their knowledge in a familiar area or seek academic challenges in a new one? There is no one size fits all and there should be a continuing dialogue with staff, their supervisors and peers.
  2. Offer wide-ranging support and emphasise the importance of seeking out support as needed. Practical and financial support will be on offer from PSLs, Partners and peers who have been through the process before. Consider whether coaching, mentoring or tailored training plans would help.
  3. Encourage staff to control of their own learning. There is a plethora of training opportunities. A good lawyer is well rounded, so offer training and thought leadership programmes that go beyond the pure technical/legal aspects of their work. Embedding knowledge through collaboration on knowledge sharing is key, whether by writing articles or briefings, podcasts or presenting.

Janine Mayor, Nedgroup Trust

Building a career path in trusts is an interesting time for both the new starter and the business. It is vital all the building blocks are in place to support the new starter as they begin their journey.

  1. Have clear expectations when recruiting. To ensure you get the right candidates it is important that you are clear who you are looking for. You need to understand why they want to join the business and consider if they are a cultural fit for the team. This goes beyond the interview process as often organisations do not consider the full recruitment process. Working together with HR enables a smooth progression.
  2. Build a robust on-boarding plan and flex as needed. Providing the new starter with a plan demonstrates commitment to their learning. It gives structure to the line manager and the people around them to follow. Having a well thought out plan ensures consistency, helps keep the new starter focused and provides evidence of learning. The plan should be agile and respond to the new starter’s abilities.
  3. Share the opportunities to learn and grow. Often we will need to highlight and share the learning opportunities available to the individual. It is about creating the right learning environment where learning is the norm and encouraged. Everyone has a responsibility to share knowledge and experience and help others recognise what they can do to develop their skills.

Jan Holmes, Taylor Vinters

  1. The impact of ‘The Great Resignation’ means that all businesses are struggling to strengthen their existing talent pipeline, let alone grow. It is therefore even more important that we retain the talent we already have. From speaking to our tribe and conducting employee engagement surveys, we know that the following things are important in retaining great people:
  1. Ensuring everyone has a purpose and knows what is expected of them.
  2. Great work for great clients.
  3. Access to good-quality feedback.
  4. Ongoing development opportunities.
  5. Clear progression pathways.
  6. Supported autonomy.
  7. Robust and stretching objectives.
  8. Access to good quality coaching and mentoring.
  • I strongly believe that it is important that we develop the whole person, not just the lawyer. Participation in wellbeing activities, social mobility projects and CSR initiatives ensure that our people become well rounded trusted advisors and achieve their ambitions to become the best they can be, while having fun doing so.

Employer Partners can watch the full webinar and hear from all our speakers here.

To find out more about how to join STEP’s EPP programme, visit:

Jenni Hutchinson is Head of Employer Partnerships at STEP

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