As small business owners, we understand that our success lies in dedicated employees who deliver high quality work. Without a talented team, firms deal with high rates of turnover, employee dissatisfaction, and poor work quality. All of these can impact the ability to provide meaningful solutions for your clients.
The solution to building a talented team? Identifying your firm’s core values and actively utilizing them throughout the hiring process.
In a recent Journal of Business article, budding Smith + Malek Attorney and hiring team member, Emily Hutchison Geddes shares three strategies leadership teams can adopt to attract talent that will thrive at their place of business.
Identify and Use Core Values:
Pinpoint the values that guide your business’s operations and culture. Instead of these values living in an outdated document in your HR office, actively adhere to them and encourage their use in daily operations. Promote them through ads, on your website, and social media presence to attract like-minded people.
Keep your values front and center: Smith + Malek co-founder, Peter Smith, shares the firm’s origin story in this video, saying, “We wanted to change the way law is practiced and the way firms treat their employees.” Instead of keeping our core values boxed away, our team actively promotes them in videos like these that we share across our website and social media.
Involve a Variety of People:
Gather team members from across your firm and include them in the hiring process. Team members should reflect a cross-section of the practice groups, locations, and seniority levels. Once a candidate has been interviewed, incorporate the rest of your team to provide information they may have about the candidate to inform your final decision.
Practice real-world teamwork: Smith + Malek’s hiring committee consists of team members elected by their peers and hold their position on the committee for three years. Once a candidate has been interviewed, the committee sends a survey to all team members to weigh in on the candidate. Their feedback is highly valuable, especially if they’ve worked or interacted with the candidate previously.
Assess the Three C’s:
When evaluating a candidate, the hiring committee should assess the candidate based on the Three C’s: competence, character, and chemistry. Competence is often distilled from a candidate’s resume (and can often be taught), while character and chemistry are harder to find, yet crucial in determining if a candidate will be a good fit (or not) with the firm’s culture.
Incorporate the Three C’s into your interview process: Smith + Malek utilizes this practice during the interview process, starting with mailing a pre-interview letter to candidates that showcase our values and prompts them to answer how they embody our firm’s mission and vision during their interview. The candidate will then have their first interview with the hiring committee. During this conversation, our team can focus on learning about the candidate’s character and chemistry and if that is a fit for our firm.
Recruiting and retaining bright, dedicated attorneys and administrative staff is a job in itself, but done right, can yield benefits that help support your business goals and skyrocket your business’s success.