10 top tips on how to retain your talent


As a legal service provider, you’re a people business. Your most important company asset is your employees. Your success literally hinges on them. To secure your business’s future, you need to recruit then retain the right individuals.

We know about talent retention. That’s because we’re Multiple Sclerosis Society’s employer of the year 2016, hold Investors in People accreditation and Best Companies 1-star status. Here are 10 top tips to help you apply the nurturing touch in your workplace…

1. Communicate openly

This is two-way communications between management and employees. For managers, share information regarding performance, strategies and plans for the future. For employees, encourage feedback regarding what’s happening in your business.

At Quill, our MD, Julian Bryan, hosts quarterly ‘news, views and eats’ sessions at all of our regional offices to discuss the latest goings on, followed by an informal chat over food. We also operate a staff suggestion scheme with rewards for any suggestions implemented. We like to talk.

2. Invest in the recruitment process

When you appoint strong candidates who fit the bill perfectly, it’s incredibly rewarding so take the time to do the task justice. Advertise posts on the best platforms, shortlist carefully and interview thoroughly. We recognise that smaller practices don’t have the luxury of dedicated HR personnel, in which case enlist the assistance of recruitment agencies or HR consultancies.

Hats off to our HR Manager, Sarah Duggan, who does a sterling job recruiting new team members and trainees, using a variety of methods including advertising in legal and regional publications, promoting on our website and social media channels, then screening applications before and during interview.

3. Offer a competitive benefits package

Of course, people don’t choose positions based on salary alone but it’d be naïve to think they’re not important. Research average salaries for certain roles then pitch higher and consider other benefits to enhance your terms of employment. These won’t necessarily incur large cost. With the introduction of mandatory auto enrolment reform, this must include employer-contributed pension provision.

Ours comprises pension, health care, cycle-to-work and childcare vouchers schemes, contribution towards our Christmas parties, and the ability for employees to buy and sell holidays.

4. Provide other financial incentives

Bonuses and rewards are a great way to bolster employees’ basic earnings. Often it’s these small monetary additions that tempt new recruits on board and entice them to stay for the longer term because it affords them greater spending (and saving) power.

We’ve already mentioned our staff suggestion scheme. We also give long service awards, birthday and competency bonuses plus an annual bonus linked directly to overall company profitability.

5. Present opportunities for training and development

You want your staff to grow with your business. Also, knowledge and experience gained from on-the-job training, classroom-based training and formal qualifications can revolutionise performance and heighten the client experience. As a service provider, that has to be music to your ears!

Quill’s introduced a competency framework which links staff’s skills directly to their salary which increases alongside their competency levels. As a result, staff feel rewarded for their hard work and are incentivised to reach their full potential.

6. Promote your internal talent pool

As well as providing a pathway for career progression and recognising staff’s achievements thereby making them feel valued and ambitious about their vocational aspirations, this is about succession planning by having talent waiting eagerly in the wings to fill the shoes of resigning or retiring colleagues.

We’re firm advocates of home-grown talent and boast 14 management-level employees who’ve progressed through the ranks, some of whom first began their career with us as trainees.

7. Support employees

Don’t just manage employees, support them in their daily role with mentoring and shadowing then hold routine appraisals – at least annually – to monitor progress, identify additional support needs and generally find out how happy they are at work. This is obviously closely linked with training and development.

We do this via routine one-to-one appraisals, weekly team meetings and by an open door policy whereby we endorse honest discussions without fear of repercussion.

8. Benchmark employee engagement and satisfaction

The ultimate evidence of your efforts can be found by benchmarking exercises. Undertake regular surveys of your employees either internally or by a third party provider. The latter is considered impartial and often receives better response rates. Any survey should be anonymous. Results uncover current positioning and identify areas of improvement within the business.

Here at Quill, we participate in Best Companies’ annual survey which has earned us our star-rated badge. It’s demonstration that we’re listening to our staff, genuinely care about them and are dedicated to Quill being a fantastic place to work.

9. Show your commitment to corporate social responsibility

Recognise that you’re part of the wider environment and have stakeholders outside your organisation through active involvement in CSR. Your employees should be a key part of these initiatives. That way, you’ll become a company they’re proud to work for.

Over the past 2 years alone, our charity committee, called Project QP, has raised well over £14,000 for designated local and national charities by organising various fundraising events and volunteering by painting hospitals, tidying nature reserves and feeding the homeless. Passion and teamwork are the driving forces.

10. Consider supplementary software and outsourced services

Software can make the world of difference because it eases employees’ workloads by streamlining and automating otherwise-repetitive duties. Outsourced services, too, can offload some of the more administrative, mundane responsibilities so that you’ve got time to focus on critical activities which are at the core of your business.

By setting out our credentials, hopefully you now think of us as worthy partners. Why not check out our practice management and legal accounts softwareoutsourced cashieringbookkeeping and payroll services? By being a Quill client, you can benefit first-hand from our happy workplace and long-serving employees.

Do get in touch and chat with us. Call 0845 226 2587 or email info@quill.co.uk.