The Recruiting Blog of KG Workforce Solutions.
September 27, 2018 by KG Workforce Solutions
Are your recruiting efforts being sabotaged from within your organization because of poor candidate communication? If so, you are not alone!
A company’s reputation for hiring and on-boarding is vital to its success, especially when competing for talent in a tight job market. In today’s technologically advanced society, detailed job applicant experiences are readily available on blogs, employer rating websites, and social media. In fact 83% of job seekers research a company’s reputation as part of the decision process to work, or not work, for a firm.
One of the number one complaints from job applicants is a lack of feedback. Not only does this leave a candidate with a bad taste about a company, it often leads that candidate to let the social world know about his/her bad experience.
A lack of candidate communication is just unacceptable these days. The expected amount of communication is somewhat subjective, but below are our recommendations based on research and candidate feedback.
Regardless of the outcome, all candidates should be notified when the position is filled or closed. Leaving candidates hanging indefinitely is a great way to land a negative review on social media or the Internet.
Educate your hiring managers on the importance of giving timely feedback on candidates. They may be swamped, and it may not be easy, but having a good reputation as an employer will make filling positions easier. Getting a bad hiring process reputation will only make filling positions harder.
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September 19, 2018 by KG Workforce Solutions
With the unemployment rate below 4%, many employers are looking for ways to increase employee retention and improve recruiting efforts. The incorporation of wellness programs is one trend employers are using to achieve these goals.
According to a recent study by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), the majority of employers who increased their benefit offerings in the past 12 months, did so in response to employee feedback and a need to improve employee retention. Benefits are important to employees and wellness programs are steadily becoming an expected and important benefit to offer.
There are a lot of advantages to having an employee wellness program. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention believes that a well-designed wellness program will promote better health, reduce injury and exposure to hazardous substances, and positively influence culture. While these are great benefits, we all know that wellness programs are tough to implement without executive and management support. How can you get their buy-in? By focusing on the value and return on investment of implementing a wellness program.
Below are some common benefits employers reap from having an effective wellness program.
Most companies are looking for ways to spend less money on employee health insurance without having to sacrifice the quality of health benefits. The most common ways wellness programs help achieve this goal are the following:
Wellness programs can improve employee health, which means fewer sick days and therefore more productivity. However, a less obvious benefit to employees taking fewer sick days is how that ties into employee retention. When an employee is absent, typically another employee must cover his/her work. That adds extra pressure and stress to staff, which can hurt retention (not to mention the cost to pay that employee overtime if he/she is non-exempt and racks up additional hours covering for an absent employee). Incorporating an unused sick day component into your wellness plan can add an additional mechanism to improve retention.
By 2020, Millennials will account for approximately 50% of the workforce. Millennials want benefits packages that meet their expectations and wellness programs are an important benefit for many Millennials. According to Forbes, 58% of Millennials consider a company’s wellness program as important or extremely important in deciding where they will accept a job. So, if you want to recruit Millennials and compete for their talents, you need a competitive benefits package inclusive of a wellness program.
In addition to the interest Millennials have in wellness programs, more and more employees are reporting that, regardless of their generation, they are more likely to stay with an employer who has a robust benefits package, including a wellness program. So, whether your goal is to improve retention, recruitment, or both, a wellness program can be an advantage in reaching those goals.
Wellness programs can foster collaboration and group engagement in unexpected ways. Whether staff start walking together during lunch, supporting one another in their weight loss challenges, or decreasing the unhealthy snacks that so frequently clutter every break room, the awareness and promotion of a wellness program can have great benefits on employee morale. Employees who encourage each other to be healthier are more likely to encourage one another in other areas as well, such as with work tasks.
If your company does not have a wellness program, perhaps it is time to get one! We all know wellness programs can lead to healthier employees. We also know healthy employees are more productive. Now we also know there are many more reasons to support our employees and encourage their wellness!
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May 29, 2018 by KG Workforce Solutions
Jobs are more collaborative and require more teamwork than ever! So how you do build effective and collaborative teams?
Many companies just expect teams to work well together, communicate effectively, and be productive. In most cases, wanting effective teams is not enough to actually have effective teams. Like most goals, building effective teams requires planning, strategy, monitoring, and expectations. Let’s look at some of the key factors for building effective teams.
The most effective teams are diverse teams. One of the benefits to collaboration is the ability to bring in different perspectives, strengths, and experiences. Effective teams have diversity in these areas and members openly discuss their strengths, weaknesses, and differences. These discussions help team members understand one another and make the collaboration process easier. Allow some time for team members to get to know one another and their backgrounds, and they will embrace their diversity more instead of fighting it.
The most successful teams are built on accountability, trust, and commitment to success. Picking the right team leader is essential! Team leads need to lead by example, set clear expectations, support the team, and foster trust amongst team members. A great team can easily fail under the wrong leader, while a great leader can steer virtually any team towards success.
This is so important! Many teams’ expectations are solely focused on outcomes and not on how those outcomes are derived. Effective teams understand the behavioral expectations as well as the production expectations. Some key behaviors of effective teams are:
It is not enough to assume teams will operate as described above. The behavioral expectations need to be discussed and documented and reviewed throughout teams’ projects as needed.
Ensure teams not only understand what the company wants them to do, but also why. Task leadership with educating their teams not only on what they are expected to produce, but why and what value the company expects to gain from their outcomes. The more value the team members see in the work they are doing, the more pride they will take in doing the work, and the better the results.
Leaders and team members need to recognize the signs of dysfunction and be proactive in ensuring the teams’ functionality. If members of the team are not actively participating, members don’t trust one another, no one is taking accountability or the “blame game” is a regular event at meetings, or if significant conflict is frequently arising, those are signs that the team has an issue. A good leader will see those signs and address them. A poor leader will miss the signs, or even worse, see the signs but do nothing about them. Many leaders only measure the success of a team by the product it produces. However, effective teams are measured by much more. Remember, you are building collaborative and effective teams, not just making sure a widget is assembled!
So, you may be asking, “as long as they get the job done, why do I care how they do it”? There are many reasons, but the shortest answer is employee morale. A low employee morale leads to higher turnover, lower employee loyalty, and higher stress. Creating a healthy work environment is not only a good business practice, but it is an expectation for most employees in today’s workforce. Building effective teams is just one factor that contributes to a healthy work environment.
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April 24, 2018 by KG Workforce Solutions
Employers are fighting for talent, increasing salaries, and expecting to grow their staff in 2018. According to CareerBuilder’s Annual Forecast for 2018, 44% of employers plan to add permanent staff this year. Additionally, 51% of employers are planning to add temporary (contract) staff to their teams.
With a strong economy, businesses are comfortable investing in additional staff. From a recruiting perspective, this presents some challenges. Unemployment rates are low and employees are looking to make voluntary changes to their employment. This means that attracting candidates is tougher than it has been in the past few years and employers need to be creative in their recruiting. Below are some tips and trends to ensure your business is prepared to compete in this market:
39% of employers plan to rehire previous staff. Hiring a boomerang employee (someone who worked for you in the past and is rehired) can be a great way to snatch good talent quickly. Boomerang employees already know your firm’s culture and you already know their strengths and weaknesses. Don’t shy away from rehiring a past employee but do understand why they left and ensure that obstacle does not still exist.
You would not invest in a new software without a plan, nor purchase a new office building without significant research and planning. Hiring employees is an investment and is most effective with a well-developed plan. In a competitive market, it is taking longer to fill positions than it has for the past few years. So not only do you need a good plan, but it needs to be a realistic plan based on forecasting, market conditions, and goals.
Salaries are on the rise and it is imperative to be competitive. However, for some firms, increasing salaries is not an option. There are a lot of factors involved in a compensation package, not just salary. If you are not able to increase salaries, focus on the other benefits of working for your firm and gain an understanding of what is important to your target job candidates. Trying to sell your retirement plan to a candidate who is focused on building a savings account to purchase his/her first house, may not the best approach. Could you connect the candidate with a financial advisor to help him/her plan for buying a house? There are endless options that can help you attract and retain good employees, you just have to know what is important to them and get creative.
You have to interview and make offers quickly if you want to secure strong employees. Most candidates expect feedback within 48 hours. If you are not making quick decisions and keeping in touch with your candidates, you are probably losing them.
Want to learn more about recruiting trends specific to the legal industry? Let us know what you want to read about and we will try to accommodate your request.
April 23, 2018 by KG Workforce Solutions
The job market is changing and hiring legal professionals is getting harder. The average position in a professional services firm, such as a law firm, takes 22.1 business days to fill. An additional two weeks is usually required before the candidate starts working. So, most employers are looking at 5+ weeks as the average job vacancy time.
With unemployment rates low and a tighter job market, employers have to move fast to hire top talent. Below are some tips to help ensure your law firm can snag top talent before your competitors do!
Contact qualified candidates within 48 hours to schedule a first interview. Set a goal of no more than two weeks to complete the interview process. Team interviews are on the rise, so scheduling can be a challenge. Develop a plan to overcome the scheduling challenge or you will lose candidates.
Making a quick offer after a good interview is essential. Don’t let more than 48 hours pass between the interview and offer. If the candidate is interviewing other places, which most job candidates are, you may lose your perfect candidate.
Make sure your compensation package is competitive. Salaries are on the rise and technology has made it easy for candidates to know their market value. If your compensation package is not competitive, both your recruiting and retention will suffer.
With most law firm jobs taking more than a month to fill, you don’t want to go through that lengthy process multiple times for the same job. Have at least two candidates in the interview process that you feel good about. Many employers interview a candidate they like, then stop the recruiting process until a final decision has been made on that candidate. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket! Until an offer has been made and accepted, keep the recruiting process going!
April 20, 2018 by KG Workforce Solutions
Recruiting and hiring is much easier in a depressed economy with high unemployment rates. So what are the recruiting and hiring trends in 2018, with a better economy and low unemployment rates?
With low unemployment rates, employers must get creative to find good talent. Simply posting a job and waiting for the ideal candidate to apply, is not the most effective approach in a tight market. So, let’s discuss some of the hiring trends in 2018 that can help employers make great hires quickly.
Yes, all employers want to hire people with experience in their related industry. However, hiring in today’s market is a challenge and many employers are shifting their focus away from experience and towards overall ability and skill. Experience is only one component of a candidate’s skills and it is important to evaluate all of a candidate’s attributes, not just their experience.
The use of skills testing and personality testing are on the rise. These tools enable employers to better gauge aptitude, benchmark against top performers, and assess personality characteristics. These tools can be invaluable in any market, but especially in a market where hiring is more focused on ability and culture, than experience. It is important to select appropriate testing tools and ensure the tools selected meet your goals and anti-discrimination requirements.
Regardless of market conditions, team interviews can be a great way to evaluate candidates. Team interviews allow candidates to get a better feel for the organization and they allow the organization to better assess the culture fit of candidates. It is important to fully understand the dynamics of team interviews to ensure they are conducted appropriately and effectively. SHRM has provided some great tips with regards to this interview style.
Staying abreast of hiring trends and market changes is necessary to stay competitive. Employees are most organizations’ greatest asset, so flexible, scalable, and modern hiring practices are essential.
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March 19, 2018 by KG Workforce Solutions
In a market where 32% of equity partners are approaching retirement age and only 50% of firms are expected to grow, having a strong talent management strategy is essential for law firms. We have previously discussed the challenges of hiring legal support staff, so let’s focus on how to hire attorneys with partner potential.
Hiring, training, developing, and retaining the RIGHT attorney is one of the best ways to prepare a law firm for sustainable growth. The problem is, it’s harder than it sounds. With more than 1M attorneys in the United States, you would think hiring attorneys would be easy. So why is it not?
Most attorneys have a few practice areas in which they specialize. Often, the challenge is finding a good attorney who has experience in the specific practice areas for which your firm specializes.
Most law firms have multiple attorneys, shareholders, and other stakeholders. Finding an attorney with the right culture fit is imperative. Hiring an associate is easy but hiring an associate who meshes well within your firm, supports your core values, and can visualize a long-term career with your firm, is VERY difficult.
Attorneys have stressful jobs and many young attorneys have the additional stress of paying off significant financial debt from their education. Many attorneys are turning away from practicing law after a few years because of the stress and competitiveness. Fostering a great employee benefits and wellness plan can help retain attorneys, minimize burn out, and therefore increase the likelihood of developing a viable succession plan.
There are a lot of law firms competing for top talent. Attracting and retaining the best attorneys can be a challenge for firms with below market compensation and bonus programs. If you want to be in the 50% of growing law firms, you have to hire the RIGHT lawyers and be able to RETAIN them! Turnover is expensive!
March 13, 2018 by KG Workforce Solutions
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, you can expect a 15% increase in paralegal and legal assistant jobs between 2016 and 2026. This means increased competition to attract and retain your staff.
Recruiting paralegals, legal assistants, and other legal support staff is not an easy task, so it is not a surprise that many law firms struggle to hire the right support employees.
To improve your legal staff recruiting, you must first understand what the unique challenges are for recruiting in the legal industry, so you can understand the attributes your candidates need.
You already know what technical skills and knowledge your candidates need, but that alone will not get you the RIGHT employees. Below are the most common challenges for hiring the right legal support staff.
Many legal assistants and paralegals support more than one attorney, which means constantly changing directives and priorities. They also deal with a wide variety to clients, all with unique demands, personalities, and expectations. Adaptabilitiy is essential to successfully accomodate the ever changing demands, priorities, and personalities paralegals and legal assistants face daily.
Most legal assistants and paralegals support cases for coworkers when their peers are out of the office, tied up with a conflicting deadline, or assigned too large of a caseload for one person to realistically manage. This means your legal assistants and paralegals need to communicate, collaborate, and share common goals to maximize their value to your firm. This can only be achieved by teamwork and the absolute, sincere understanding that a mentality of “that’s not my job” is unacceptable.
Literal thick skin is not required, but the metaphorical thick skin is. Attorneys and clients are often emotionally charged while preparing and during their cases. This can sometimes make them difficult to deal with. Great paralegals and legal assistants understand the challenges their attorneys and clients face and know how to keep their cool under pressure and not take things too personally.
This is a more common challenge in smaller firms where the legal support employees may also have responsibility for receptionist duties, office management, payroll or HR support, and other duties needed by the attorney(s). Being able to juggle multiple tasks effectively is essential for these employees. A “recipe” employee will not work well in such an environment because they need too much detail and direction. A proactive employee with excellent judgment, confidence, and a varied professional background is a better fit for these types of support positions.
Let’s face it, virtually every law firm is deadline driven. This often adds to the stressful environment, especially if your legal assistant or paralegal is not a good time manager. Being able to react to every day fires, while managing ongoing cases with strict deadlines, is not an easy task. The best legal support staff have excellent time management skills, thrive under pressure, and are not easily flustered.
There are a ton of decisions that must be made every day by legal staff. Good legal support employees will be able to work independently and prioritize their work. Let’s face it, most attorneys don’t have time to create detailed directions for every task and unexpected activity. While your staff needs some training, hiring employees who know how to prioritize their tasks, quickly learn how their attorneys operate, and can anticipate upcoming needs will be more likely to succeed than employees who don’t possess these traits.
The amount of writing and documentation required of most paralegals and legal assistants is almost unbelievable. Attorneys don’t have time to review every single item entered in the case management system and every word sent in an email, file, etc. Having a legal assistant or paralegal with great writing skills, good grammar, and excellent documentation skills is a no brainer!
Paralegals and legal assistants may frequently interact with clients, opposing counsel, courthouse staff, internal staff, adjusters, clerks, etc. The expression “you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar” is so true for legal staff. Plus, often times the legal assistant or paralegal is the first, or primary, point of contact with many of your associates. How they treat your business associates significantly impacts your reputation as an attorney and a law firm.
So now that you know why hiring paralegals and legal assistants is such a challenge, you can create a recruiting strategy to ensure you are evaluating candidates for all of the attributes needed to be successful.
To summarize, hire the right employees, value those employees, and constantly monitor your recruiting strategy to keep your firm competitive. You can train an employee to use a software, but you can’t train them to have good judgment! So don’t make hiring decisions based on experience and skills only. Your support team needs to have the right aptitude, personality, and culture fit to be a GREAT hire!
by KG Workforce Solutions
The technology impacts on the legal industry have been an evolving topic of discussions for years. Recently, those impacts have become significant and now most law firms are forced to deal with the issue. However, with the pains that come along with technological advances, there are some significant advantages as well. First, technology is not going to replace lawyers in the foreseeable future, so let’s squash that myth immediately. Technology has however, changed client expectations and how law firms do their work. Let’s evaluate a few of the most prevalent trends.
With improved cloud technology, data sharing, and collaboration tools, attorneys are more easily able to communicate with their peers, support staff, and clients. The trick is understanding how to use the technology. More communication is not always a good thing. More effective communication and easier sharing of ideas is a good thing. When used appropriately, collaboration tools can save lots of time previously spent trying to get input, sharing updates, and ensuring everyone has all of the necessary information to process their cases.
The advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have been rolling out for years. Over the past few years, significant advancements have been released that allow for improved documentation, research, e-discovery, data aggregation, data analytics, and reporting. AI has been able to automate processes that previously took hours or days. If you bill the by the hour, this might not initially sound great. Many attorneys are changing their billing model due to the improved efficiency of effectively using AI tools. Don’t panic! AI still can’t solve complex legal problems, appear in court, or build relationships with clients. AI can better classify data, interpret incredibly large data sets, perform predictive modeling, and improve the overall decision-making process.
With modern technology, comes new risks. Employers now have a completely new set of risk issues for which to be concerned. Are employees bashing your firm on social media? Is anyone discretely taking pictures of trade secrets on their personal cell phone completely undetected by your IT team? Worse even, are private conversations being recorded without your or your clients’ knowledge? Or perhaps your clients are recording conversations. Let’s not forget one of the biggest risks of all, the dreaded data security breach or hack! The list of risks related to technology is endless. Attorneys and employers have to be more aware of technology than ever before. This requires significant training and analysis.
According to a recent journal from the ABA, attorneys spend 20% of their time on legal issues and the rest of their time on administrative duties and client retention and acquisition activities. Improvements in technology can help law firms run more efficiently, make better decisions, and reduce the time spent on administrative tasks. With adequate training, embracing technological advances can help law firms increase profits and enable lawyers to spend more time practicing law and less time documenting, communicating, and researching.
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December 13, 2017 by kgworkforce
The recruiting process can be daunting, leaving recruiters, hiring managers, and job applicants feeling frustrated instead of successful. As an employer, there are a few basics you can incorporate into your recruiting process to improve the success of your recruiting efforts.
If applying to your job takes a candidate an hour, you are probably losing a lot of candidates! Some information is absolutely required, and you can can’t get around that. However, try to make the process as easy and quick as possible for the candidate, keeping in mind that many candidates want a mobile application option.
Let’s face it, not all jobs are really “open” even if you are interviewing candidates. Be as honest as possible about the status of positions for which you are interviewing. This will not only preserve your reputation, but it will also help you build rapport with candidates who might not be what you need today, but might be what you need tomorrow.
If a candidate takes the time to interview, they deserve an update. Whether it’s a quick phone call or a short email, keep candidates posted on their candidacy.
Not all candidates clearly articulate their skills on their resume. If you are only looking for buzzwords or using technology to scan for buzzwords, you could be losing out on great talent. Keep an open mind and be creative about drawing parallels between candidates’ experiences and your needs. As the job market continues to get tighter, this will become even more important.
If you don’t know the job market for the skills and geography for which you are recruiting, you are unlikely to maximize your success. You should have a solid understanding of the compensation and availability of the talent for which you are recruiting.
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