The practice of law focuses on risk aversion and minimization, so it can be all too easy to focus on your attorneys’ weaknesses and forget to mention or celebrate their strengths.
Failing to acknowledge lawyers’ strengths, however, has a deleterious effect on their work. First, it eliminates feedback on what they’re doing well and should continue to do. Second, it can raise stress levels as your team begins to feel that nothing they do is ever good enough.
Here’s why it’s important to recognize outstanding work:
1. Top candidates want to work with organizations that recognize them.
Eighty-seven percent of millennials say career growth and development is their number-one job consideration. This percentage is even higher among top-performing attorneys, who focus relentlessly on learning, growing and improving.
When you provide regular recognition and opportunities for continued learning and growth, your lawyers will respond. Attorneys tend to be competitive by nature, and they know that gaining an edge of their competition – whether inside the office or outside it – requires them to be more knowledgeable and prepared. They know best what they need to do when they receive feedback on what they’re doing well
2. Lack of recognition leads to higher turnover.
One study found the number-one reason staff give for leaving their current law firm at an exit interview is lack of engagement and recognition for their work. Disengagement is a particularly egregious problem, costing U.S. businesses about $500 billion each year. In the legal field, disengagement can lead to overlooking an important legal issue or losing a case – neither of which are acceptable outcomes.
Whether your lawyers are tuned out or actively leaving, your firm suffers. Honest recognition of their successes and strengths can help turn that trend around.
3. The right rewards are worth the effort.
Rewards don’t have to be expensive, but even rewards that require an outlay of cash from the firm will return many times their cost if chosen and used thoughtfully.
Cash, gifts and experiences all rank highly on the list of compelling rewards. However, even positive feedback about projects or tasks can work as recognition. This type of feedback has two benefits: It educates staff on the right way to handle work events; and it provides an engagement boost that encourages everyone on the team to work harder.
Recognize Your Team’s Strengths
At Assigned Counsel, our recruiters are attorneys with an inside understanding of what law firms and legal departments need in order to build a strong culture, manage stress and perform outstanding work. We’re dedicated to helping each of our clients reach those goals. To learn more, contact us today.