As 2022 comes to a close, law firms are examining their staffing needs for the coming year. The past year has been tumultuous, with low unemployment, high inflation, and the lingering effects of the Great Resignation hindering law office recruitment efforts.
With evolving workplace needs and changing employment prospects, all law firms should formulate a strategic workforce plan to ensure they have the best legal staff for their corporate needs.
The last few years have seen the rise of strategic workforce planning methods to handle the ever-changing market, including best practices for finding and retaining top talent.
Developing a strategic workforce plan can help your law firm ensure you have the ideal staff for your needs. For the best legal staffing services, contact Collier Legal. We can support your workforce planning strategy by connecting you with highly qualified candidates to fill employment gaps at your firm.
What is Strategic Workforce Planning?
Strategic workforce planning is creating and adapting a staffing plan that adapts to the ever-changing needs of your organization. This process analyzes your existing workforce and strategizes what your organization will need regarding ability and staffing numbers in the future.
Simply put, strategic workforce planning ensures that you have the correct number of employees at the right time, with the proper skill set, so your company is successful in the near and long term.
Why is Strategic Workforce Planning Important?
Strategic workforce planning can help your organization prepare for whatever comes your way in the future. The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic aftershocks were unexpected for many businesses, and they took a hit when their staffing was less than ideal for the changing economic climate.
A strategic workforce plan helps you be prepared for the future by:
- Building a lean, talented, and focused staff
- Improving retention rates
- Building a solid corporate foundation
- Boosting your daily productivity
- Ensuring you have covered any potential knowledge or skills gaps
Developing a Strategic Workforce Plan
Developing a strategic workforce plan looks at an organization’s current staff. It accurately forecasts what steps and staffing needs will be required to attract and retain talent successfully.
These plans ensure that the company can remain effective and grow in unforeseen situations. Staying dynamic and flexible in response to work disruptions caused by internal or external issues, from staffing shortages to economic headwinds, is necessary in the modern working world. By planning, law firms can prevent setbacks and maintain growth trajectories with minimal interference.
Developing a strategic workforce plan considers predictions on issues employees might have. This includes extended leave and seasonal or periodic needs that might necessitate staff expansion, such as holiday business booms or employee vacations during school holidays.
Your plan should also account for external factors like inflation, changes in legal requirements, and current unemployment figures. These issues will affect your law firm’s ability to hire top talent and change the number of employees your firm needs.
Analyze Current Workforce – Skill Sets and Skill Gaps
Any strategic workforce plan begins with a comprehensive analysis of your current workforce. Your organization must understand your employees’ skills, where you may need further training and development, and where you may be over or understaffed.
Conducting a current workforce analysis lets you define growth objectives, prepare for disruptions, and plan recruiting and retention strategies for your firm.
Define Growth Objectives
To understand what kind of workforce you need to build, you must have clear, actionable growth objectives. Define your firm’s top growth objectives, such as acquiring new clients or expanding your current offices. Then, break down the staffing needs these goals will require.
For example, if you focus on diversifying your employee pool, you may want to work with candidates with experience in social governance.
Be Prepared for Disruptions
Strategic workforce planning includes preparing for potential staffing disruptions. Sickness, retirement, resignations, or family obligations can cause these disruptions. You can create a staffing plan by understanding which disruptions your firm may need to prepare for.
For example, you can work with a recruiting firm to line up candidates when a top performer makes a lateral move to another organization.
Plan a Recruiting Strategy
Your recruiting strategy should be growth-focused. It should detail what skills and knowledge your team needs to reach your growth objectives. Planning the strategy involves:
- Establishing a baseline budget for new hires and existing staff
- Identifying gaps in the skills and abilities of your workforce
- Creating a recruiting strategy that includes how you will find talent, including advertising in the professional press, hiring headhunters, or connecting Collier Legal
- Setting a timeline to find, screen, interview, and hire the staff you need
Retention of Talent Strategy
Beyond simply finding great staff, a strategic workforce plan must include a talent retention strategy. Designing a comprehensive plan to keep the talent you have is vital for planning for your future staff needs, including a mentoring system, competitive salary increases, generous benefits, and a healthy work-life balance.
To implement an effective workforce planning strategy, you must execute the elements of your plan. Begin recruiting to expand your candidate pool and start training and professional development programs for existing employees. Work with an experienced legal staffing firm to find qualified candidates to interview, so you have a pipeline of contacts ready when needed.
Evaluate Results to Adjust for a Future Plan
You should constantly perform workforce planning with periodic reviews to track the plan’s progress, respond to new developments, and adapt to your law firm’s changing needs. These actions help the workforce plan stay relevant and effective for your organization and allow you to learn from past recruiting efforts, perfecting future iterations.
Retention of Talent
Retaining talent must be a top concern in your firm’s strategic workforce plan. While firms like Collier Legal can help you find the best talent, you must also have a retention plan to keep employees content and motivated to work for your firm.
It costs nearly $4,700 to hire a new employee, and it takes several weeks to perform their position efficiently. Instead of spending thousands on hiring new employees, you can take steps to retain talent already at your firm.
Steps to Talent Retention
Your strategic workforce plan should have a detailed approach to retaining every type of employee. This includes effective employee onboarding procedures and competitive benefits packages.
- Mentorship. Implement a mentorship program for new employees to help them navigate your firm and grow in their roles. Match employees to mentors based on personality, skill set, and your firm’s needs to maximize the program’s efficacy.
- Competitive salary. Retaining top talent means offering a competitive salary. Check the Bureau of Labor Statistics for median pay levels.
- Work-home balance. Consider providing qualitative benefits to your employees; examples may include anything form casual-dress days or catered lunches to offering hybrid/flexible work schedules.
- Mental health support. As Generation Z progressively enters the workforce, they have increased calls for mental health support in offices. Implementing mental health support like wellness programs and access to behavioral health treatment can help you attract and retain employees.
Collier Legal Search Can Help Firms with Strategic Workforce Planning
Begin working with Collier Legal before your firm has staffing shortages. We can connect you with a vast pool of Houston’s leading legal candidates to help you stay ahead of the curve. Our staff can help you determine the availability of talent on the market, minimize growing pains from expansion, and set your firm up for continued success.
Contact us today to find qualified legal professionals for your growing law office.