Peter Czapp is a director and co-founder of accountancy practice The Wow Company, which specialises in supporting marketing agencies. In this blog, he has kindly shared with Law Firm Ambition some of the key insights from his firm's annual survey of marketing agencies with turnover above £1 million. (24 May 2022)
The marketing agency sector is far less stable than the legal sector, so agencies are used to having to adapt rapidly to whatever changes are happening in the economy.
The survey results summarised below are a good opportunity for law firms to see how recruitment is likely to change in their sector too in the near future.
One big lesson is that the businesses that started adapting earlier are now having a much easier time when it comes to hiring and keeping talent.
- 82% of the agencies will keep an office in the future, 13% will use flexible shared space, 5% won’t have an office.
- How often do you expect your team to be in the office? 39% 1-2 days, 28% 3-4, 27% up to them, 5% no office, 1% 5 days a week.
- Hiring from outside commutable area: 21% already did this, 44% started as a result of Covid, 6% plan to start this, 29% will stick to commutable hiring.
- 22% of firms describe their recruitment process as “all online”, 57% say “mostly online, with some face-to-face”. Online can be immediate and convenient for candidates, eg a decision to interview “this evening”.
- Top success factors are (a) involve more members of one's team in the recruitment process, and (b) completion of a task(s) that would form part of the candidate's role.
- Whereas psychometric tests and group behaviour assessments are rarely used.
- The missing success ingredient is “a conscious strategy to deliver a great candidate experience from start to finish”. The challenge is to get people excited about working for you before you start to ask them to jump through the recruitment hoops.
- The top three sources of successful candidates were recruitment agencies 30%, LinkedIn 21%, job boards 15%.
- Do your job ads publish the salary range? 45% always, 28% often, 17% rarely, 10% never. The evidence seems to be that candidates are drawn to firms that are clear about what the job entails and what the pay will be.
- 63% of agencies get involved with schools/colleges/universities. This is felt to be a successful strategy, leading to good talent that sticks around. Indeed, ‘always recruiting’ to build a pipeline of talent that you have already met is felt to be a good strategy (despite everyone’s day-to-day time pressures).
- Diversity: 31% “just hire the best people”, 42% have started taking steps in this area, 27% have it at the centre of their recruitment strategy. (There’s lots of research on the benefits of diverse teams.)
- What do candidates/employees want? One thing more than anything: “Empathetic, educated leaders”.
- And given the pivotal importance of point 12, when did you last get feedback from your team on your leadership style? 21% never, 15% over a year ago, 30% in the last year, 34% in the last quarter. There are leadership assessment/training tools available, plus numerous helpful books.
- And how often do you survey your team on how engaged they are? 13% never, 34% annually, 34% quarterly, 11% monthly, 8% more than monthly. Those businesses that survey their teams less than once a quarter are more than twice as likely to find retention difficult. Software such as Office Vibe or Friday Pulse makes this feedback incredibly easy for staff and managers alike.
There are two benchmark reports by The Wow Company, which can be downloaded: Recruitment and retention and Financial performance and client work. There are two versions of each report – one for the survey results from agencies surveyed with turnover above £1m and one for agencies below £1m.
- Webinar: Winning the talent acquisition and retention battle (upcoming, 9.30am 26 May)
- How to retain and motivate key talent
- Induction of new lawyers and support staff - checklist