EXCLUSIVE: Just over half (52%) of employees who work at law firms are engaged with their organisation, according to research by professional services organisation Aon.
The State of Partner and Employee Engagement in the Legal Sector 2018, a report which represents 10,000 professionals working in the legal sector across the UK, mainland Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas, also found that 56% of partners believe they have a positive work-life balance, compared to 38% of associates.
Hugh Hawthorne (pictured), head of UK talent consulting in the legal sector at Aon, said: “The incentive to improve engagement within the legal sector is clear; organisations with high levels of employee engagement are more likely to perform better on key performance indicators, such as talent retention, operational efficiency, client satisfaction and financial performance. For example, at one global law firm, we found the most engaged departments on average enjoyed 33% less attrition compared to the rest of the firm.”
Two-thirds (66%) of partners surveyed are engaged with their workplace, compared to 43% of associates, 59% of trainees and 56% of business services employees. “At law firms with higher levels of employee engagement, our research found that it was partners who tended to drive this higher engagement throughout the firm,” continued Hawthorne. “Partners at these firms tended to not only be highly engaged themselves, but crucially were more likely to have the leadership skills necessary to manage and motivate others at the firm effectively. Employees who report in to these engaging partners tend to be more positive about their broader working experiences, including their perceptions of benefits, rewards and career opportunities.”
A quarter (23%) of trainee respondents believe their performance has a significant impact on their pay and rewards and 46% feel they are paid fairly for the contributions they make to their firm’s success. A further 46% of trainees believe they receive appropriate recognition, beyond pay and benefits, for their contributions and accomplishments.
Jeff Fox, principal in the UK employee benefits consultancy at Aon, added: “This highlights that there is an opportunity for partners at law firms to act on employee engagement and, in turn, to improve the perceived value of the benefits and rewards offered to employees.”