Advancement Opportunities MotivateAttorneys, Robert Half Survey Shows

Tuesday, June 1, 2004 - 00:00

Giving employees in the legal field room to grow may be the secret to keeping them. In a new survey, attorneys cited advancement opportunities, professional development and training, and flexible work schedules as the three best ways to motivate and retain legal teams. Compensation or cash bonuses were ranked significantly lower by survey respondents.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Legal, a leading staffing service specializing in attorneys, paralegals and other highly skilled legal professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 200 attorneys among the nation's 1,000 largest law firms and corporations in the United States and Canada.

Attorneys were asked, "Which of the following incentives, both monetary and non-monetary, do you feel are most effective for retaining and motivating your best workers?"

Their responses (participants were allowed more than one answer): advancement opportunities - 86%; career development or training - 83%; flexible work schedule - 75%; non-cash recognition - 57%; stock options or other equity bonuses - 56%; spot bonuses - 43%; good culture/work environment - 7%; competitive salaries/higher pay - 6%; annual cash bonus - 6%; nature/challenge of work - 5%; benefits package - 3%; effective management/mentoring - 3%, and other - 5%.

"Many managers focus on retention programs only when they feel they're at risk of losing key performers, and become complacent when vacant positions are easy to fill," said Sheron Hindley-Smith, executive director of Robert Half Legal. "But in any job market, employee satisfaction and motivation should remain high priorities for law firms and corporate legal departments.

On March 15, The Affiliates, the specialized legal staffing division of Robert Half International, became Robert Half Legal.