Myths and Truths of Hiring
1. Hiring is an expense
Of course hiring is an expense – you just spent a lot of money trying to recruit that talent. Why should it be otherwise? They will just pocket the money and walk merry all the way to the bank, no? It is not like your law firm is getting any benefit from the hired employee. Oh wait, is it? Well, in that case, would not the right term be ‘Investment’?
Hiring is never an expense, it is an investment. Your law firm will get returns from that employee. They will be a part of your team and will devote their time, skill, talent and resources for the success of the firm. Therefore, when you are hiring, hire what is right for your firm and your goals, not just what is cheap. Cheap talent is an oxymoron.
2. What if they leave?
People leave. There’s no two ways about it. Permanent employee is a myth. The only permanency in the employment is till the time they are at your firm. If you understand this fact, it will help you to be prepared for all types of contingencies. Dependencies are part and parcel of any legal firm organisation, but over-dependency is not good. Have processes to define the way your legal firm functions. When a talented employee leaves, it is quite possible that they will take away a few clients with them. This might cause you despondency – but remember, the very same person might have brought in clients when they came in and that the next person you will recruit will bring in some more. It is a circle. Though unavoidable, you can mitigate this process to a certain extent by establishing to your clients that they are associated with your law firm and not with any individual employee. Having clear-cut processes that will reduce people dependency and increase system dependency is another way to ensure client retention.
3. What if they don’t perform
Even for a plane to take-off it needs to taxi on the runway first. Immediate gratification is impossible. There is always a break-in period for a new employee. Once they get upto speed, they will start performing. Expecting overnight results would be unfair. It is always good to remember that no two people perform the same way – different strokes for different folks! You should see the big picture and look at the long term gains rather than just focus on the short perceived lack of productivity. Nurturing a new talent is your responsibility.
4. Articleship, internships are not hiring.
Many law firms tend to treat interns as employees. In fact, given the economic climate, many law firms even attempt to get the interns to do most of the work at the law firm. Before trusting an intern with heavy work, it would be to the benefit of the law firm to remember that an intern is there for his/her benefit and not for the benefit of the organisation. They are there to learn the skills of the trade. They are inexperienced. They do not have the necessary expertise or experience to contribute to the progress of the law firm.
Hiring is a very important part of your law firm. It is the direct contributor to the company’s progress. Through the right hiring, you can bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be. It is an investment and as with any investment, if done right, it will help you reap rich rewards and benefits.