How to retain talent in a business 

February 1, 2018

HR manager Deb Tweedy reveals the ways that Gordon Brown Law Firm LLP fosters strong relationships with its new and existing staff

The cost of recruitment and selection is significant to a business. However, talent retention is often overlooked. Advertising, selecting and interviewing takes time and effort, but many business owners and line managers fail to recognise that this is only the first stage of the people management process.

For a business to be successful, line managers need to foster good relations with their staff. The relationship between the employer and the employee is, in reality, the relationship between the employee and the line manager. Line managers can either make or break relationships, so it is essential that line managers understand that people are their most important asset. People no longer want mundane jobs. Yes, they want to be rewarded for their efforts; however, the majority of employees want that ability to develop while being offered the opportunity to contribute.

Too many businesses either don’t have a business plan in place or, where they do, they are written without any real action plan in place.

At Gordon Brown Law Firm (GBLF), everyone is provided with a copy of the business plan upon joining. However, prior to joining, employees receive a ‘Hooray you’re hired’ card signed by the whole team. They are emailed the weekly newsletter as soon as they receive their offer of employment, affording them the opportunity to understand the culture of the firm and to feel involved from the outset.

On joining, staff receive a two-week induction whereby they meet all of the key people within the firm who can support them throughout the early days. Additionally, throughout the first six months, new employees meet with HR on three occasions so that any initial teething problems can be ironed out.

When asked how he felt during the early months, Chris Elliott, a solicitor at GBLF, reflects: “I felt welcomed and fully included from the outset, and, from very early on, like an integral part of the firm.”

Katie Cummings, a solicitor in our corporate and commercial team, who recently joined the firm, comments: “The induction that I had here at GBLF is the best induction that I have had. There was a plan in place from the moment that I started, and the induction gave me a great overview of the firm and how the different departments work together.

“I was shown the systems and met key people and it was clear that at GBLF there is a definite joined-up approach, with all teams working together in a friendly, yet professional environment.”

Kathryn Taylor, managing partner, operates a culture that has a zero tolerance of bullying. She is approachable and actively listens to her workforce. She encourages staff to have a voice via a number of channels and understands that her employees are integral to the future success of her business.

Prior to becoming a manager or team leader, Kathryn requires all managers to undertake a qualification in leadership and management (ILM Level 3). This helps them to value relationships and manage effectively. Employees are encouraged to actively contribute to the firm’s business offering via bi-monthly meetings where they can put forward ideas as to how the firm can grow and develop. Staff are surveyed regularly in order that they can comment on what they think the firm does well, how supported they feel by their line managers and what they feel the firm could do better in terms of reward, recognition, communication, general support, etc.

Kathryn understands the importance of providing autonomy and the dangers of micro management.

The success of the firm today and the subsequent low levels of attrition are as a direct result of Kathryn leading from the top while ensuring positivity is a resounding element of the culture.

Gordon Brown Law Firm