As a highly reputable legal firm, Taylor Walton recognises that to deliver experienced legal advice and a high-quality service to its clients, the firm must not only attract talented individuals, but continue to invest in the skills and knowledge that allows them to grow their careers.
In the same way every client of a law firm expects high standards of legal work, Taylor Walton itself sets high standards for those it recruits, acknowledging the importance of having well-defined development and support structures embedded within its culture.
Setting the cultural scene
Regardless of the age or experience of a candidate, joining a new business which naturally does things differently from where they may have worked before, is exciting but also daunting.
Depending on the recruitment process, a candidate will only have experienced a short burst of the business culture of the firm they are to join. And this makes it important that the recruitment process is a true reflection of the firm’s overall culture.
If the process is not authentic and tries to project a culture or ethos not truly representative, the retention of good, talented people can be negatively impacted. For firms such as Taylor Walton, the process must reflect its high standards and a culture that is professional, friendly and supportive.
When a candidate participates in the recruitment process, it is important they feel at ease; the good recruiter is looking past the practiced and coached responses to the individual within. Naturally, interviews are designed to establish a candidate’s skills, knowledge and suitability but should be conducted in a friendly and approachable manner that reflects the firm’s collegial approach.
Rolling out the welcome mat
The importance of reflecting the culture of the business should flow through all aspects of the on-boarding process. Taylor Walton delivers a tailored training and induction programme for all its new appointees and ensures there are set ‘touch points’ with members of the People & Talent team, at least over the first six months of employment.
Good businesses understand the term ‘induction’ defines a whole period of settling in, rather than ‘ticking the box’ by delivering a PowerPoint presentation showing the fire assembly points.
As would be expected, training covers a full suite of IT sessions, policies and procedures including mandatory enhanced sessions to support the firm’s commitment to equality and diversity, but it also specifically weaves in the opportunity for a new starter to build relationships.
Those new to the firm are ‘buddied-up’ with a colleague in their department – someone to ‘show them the ropes’ and to be there to support them as they get to grips with their role and their responsibilities.
It has been more challenging throughout the COVID pandemic, but the firm has not compromised on the importance of supporting new joiners, ensuring they have access to more experienced help when they need it; someone who has typically been in the new joiner’s shoes before.
This approach has ensured Taylor Walton has an enviable reputation for its rates of retention and attributes this to a host of factors; the positive culture of the firm, the quality of work, natural friendships that develop and the opportunities to grow and develop skills and careers. It is not a magic formula bought over the counter, but the evolution of experience over years of application.
To meet the demand created by success, the firm is currently developing and supporting the qualification of two solicitor apprentices, 11 trainee solicitors and four legal executives.
For those responsible for the recruitment and training strategy it is rewarding to witness the talent grow and develop before their eyes, as they become the next generation of legal talent the firm needs to grow.
It takes a whole firm to raise the talent
The partners and associates at Taylor Walton invest time and their experience in the recruitment and development process too. They pass on knowledge and skills, and in so doing, they also expand their own skill set, learning to effectively delegate and supervise technical work, give praise and constructive feedback, deal with issues and build positive relationships. It is a ‘win-win’ strategy and one firmly embedded in the practice’s culture.
In a move designed to accelerate career progression and to further strengthen internal relationships and support networks, Taylor Walton recently launched its mentoring programme. Associate solicitors and junior solicitors have received specialised training so the firm can develop skilled mentors and mentees who work together as their respective careers develop.
Creating opportunities for people to forge new connections within a business allows people to become more embedded and engaged.
Nothing fills an employee with confidence and loyalty for an employer like providing them with access to ongoing learning opportunities. Helping people develop is a valuable retention tool, as is ensuring there are opportunities for individuals to talk openly about any desired progression, with one-to-one meetings and more formal appraisals allowing for such discussions.
At a time when it is challenging to recruit the right people to take a business forward, it is an attractive draw to those who wish to develop their skills and grow their careers to join a business that looks to promote from within its talent pool.
Stephanie Simon is the People & Talent Partner at Taylor Walton Solicitors and performs a broad HR role and function working across the firm’s three offices. She shares responsibility with the firm’s other partners, for managing and developing its people practices, being integral to shaping the firm’s approach to learning and development, talent management and recruitment.
For more information call Taylor Walton Solicitors on 01727 845245 or visit www.taylorwalton.com
People & Talent Partner