Time for Law Firms to Widen Their Brief With an EVP
For any law firm looking to compete in the race for top talent, it is vital to offer the right incentives to prospective hires – and for many firms, that means creating an employee value proposition (EVP) that aligns with their priorities.
Richard Barrett, managing director at Initials CX, explains what makes an EVP and why it is essential to the modern organisation.
It is estimated that almost 200,000 lawyers ply their trade in the United Kingdom, where the legal sector is worth around £32 billion according to 2021 figures. How, then, can firms attract and retain the best talent amid the hustle and bustle of the Bar?
If you work in HR or recruitment, it will not have escaped your notice that candidate demands are changing. From hybrid work to higher-quality perks, potential employees are confidently setting out their personal requirements during the hiring process. Talent also has a tendency for temptation, with a growing trend for some to be snaffled by better offers even after they’ve accepted an original offer.
And there is something else afoot. The pandemic caused a more specific shift in employee preferences and priorities, with many seeking work that aligns with their personal values. Today, nearly two-thirds of employees say the pandemic caused them to reflect on their purpose in life, while almost half have reconsidered the kind of work they do.
Employees now want a deeper connection with their organisations, where their personal brands authentically overlap with the organisation’s values. This is why more and more companies are investing in their employee value proposition (EVP).
Employers Are Taking Note of EVPs
An EVP sets out a platform where it is not just the rewards and benefits that are received by employees in return for their performance at the workplace, but more than that, it is integral to delivering a culture through the company’s values brought to life through everyday behaviours.
Just as when evaluating an externally facing service brand, an EVP needs to create, elevate and campaign on a clear point of meaningful difference. A good EVP should be ownable and possess the ability to excite and motivate. It must be able to encourage discretionary effort and create an enduring sense of shared purpose and belonging.
Employees now want a deeper connection with their organisations
The key to success lies in making sure the EVP goes the extra mile by actively incorporating it into every aspect of an organisation’s operations, decision-making processes and everyday behaviours to ensure it is embedded in the culture. When physical proximity is no longer a given, an organisation’s values and beliefs must work harder to keep employees connected, motivated and engaged. This is where defining a clear and mutually beneficial value exchange can have an outsized impact on an EVP’s effectiveness.
Simply put, a value exchange is the unique set of benefits that an employee receives in return for the skills, capabilities and experience they bring to a company.
The possibilities here are seemingly limitless and could be customised to suit the needs and values of a specific organisation. The key idea to note is that a value exchange caters to all ages and demographics, because it recognises the importance of values and purpose in their lives.
Simplification is Paramount to a Successful EVP
To create a tailored and effective EVP, it is crucial to avoid a one-size-fits-all approach. Companies should understand the importance of segmenting their workforce based on factors such as age, gender, geographical location and individual needs. This allows for a more personalised and targeted EVP that caters to the varying needs of employees, ultimately enhancing their engagement and commitment to the organisation.
An ideal EVP development process involves both top-down and bottom-up approaches. While it is essential for the management and executive teams to have a clear vision and purpose, it is equally important to engage with the workforce to understand their individual priorities and motivations. In a hybrid working environment, open communication is key to ensuring that the EVP resonates with employees and aligns with their values and expectations.
A good EVP should be ownable and possess the ability to excite and motivate.
Moreover, as employee priorities shift towards seeking purpose-driven work, businesses must ensure their EVPs reflect these changes. When employees perceive their organisation’s purpose as meaningful and connected to their personal values, they are more likely to be engaged, committed and willing to put in discretionary effort.
How Law Firms Can Court Success With an EVP
Firstly, legal companies that have not already begun to think of themselves as brands must do so. Some of those that place brand front and centre are grasping the EVP opportunity with notable success.
Linklaters is a good example of a firm that created an EVP to good effect. In a transforming sector – not to mention the world beyond it – that was being disrupted by technology, different candidates were needed to fulfil updated and emerging legal roles.
When all firms were competing to attract such expertise, it was key to reverse the viewpoint to understand what talent wanted from law firm roles. Multiple focus groups, as well as interviews with candidates and other industry stakeholders, gave Linklaters the fuel it needed for a new EVP that reflected the changing requirements of the market.
Strong EVP messaging was the bedrock of the EVP, utilizing such phrases as: “Linklaters lawyers don’t just embrace the change, they direct it” and “…those who join will never stop learning.”
Thanks to the EVP, the firm’s reputation as a graduate employer improved over several years. Glassdoor scores for Linklaters rose by 8% in two years and applications from female lawyers – a key objective for the firm – have also increased.
As the world of work continues to evolve, legal businesses must adapt to meet the changing needs and priorities of employees. A successful EVP must not only be authentic and well-crafted, but it must also be brought to life within the organisation, actively permeating every aspect of its culture and operations.
By simplifying and clarifying the company’s values and fostering a strong value exchange, organisations can create a powerful and meaningful EVP that resonates with employees. Get it right, and firms and their workforce can unify to adapt for the new era of work and pull together so that the scales of success start to tip in their favour.
Richard Barrett, Managing Director
4th Floor, Lion Court, 25 Procter Street, London, WC1V 6NY, UK
Tel: +44 02077 477400
Richard Barrett is a marketing and communications specialist with more than 20 years’ worth of experience aiding a range of B2B and B2B clients. Richard prides himself on applying lateral thinking to marketing problems and mixing rigour and experience with data and research to perfect his own creative output and that of his team at Initials.
Initials CX is a London-based total customer experience agency that blends insights about offline behaviour with the modern tech-led reality. With a team boasting expertise in branding, commerce, content and technology, the firm has served clients including household names such as Harley Davidson, Nature’s Bounty, Walkers and Dulux.