Alert: View AILA’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center

Attracting and Compensating Great Employees for Your Firm

From the perspective of the owner of a small immigration law firm, hiring a new attorney or other staff members to support the growth of your business can seem daunting. Particularly if your firm is new to expansion, you might feel like you don't even know where or how to begin. But bringing on new talent can be a smooth process as long as employers have the tools they need to achieve their desired results. Here are a few ideas to help you get started:

Know what you want

Having the right people on your team makes an enormous impact on your results - in the case of an immigration firm, that means positive client relationships and outcomes. Identifying your firm's most critical needs and crafting a job description that is specific and results-oriented will help you find the candidate you want. According to The Management Center, "Most hiring mistakes occur not simply because managers select the wrong person, but because they don't have the right candidate pool to select from to begin with. The more energy you spend on building your pool of candidates, the more likely you'll be to have a diverse pool of high performers." This same concept can be applied to law firms. Spend the time you need developing a job description that will yield a pool of high performers from which you can choose. Once you have done this, you are one step closer to finding the right fit for your firm.

Create a competitive compensation package

Employees should be seen as an investment in your firm's growth and future success. When employers think about compensation, they often do so only from a financial standpoint. Today's employees, especially millennials, are looking for employment opportunities that are not just financially lucrative, but also flexible, fulfilling and impactful. Make sure your recruiting demonstrates that your firm fits that description to attract the best talent! There are many ways to provide attractive perks to your employees that are cost-effective such as flexible work start times, business casual dress policy, options for working remotely, 4-day work weeks (with longer work hours each day) and generous paid time off offerings. Remember, employees who are fulfilled professionally will show up and perform!

Invest time in training - both on firm practices and culture

As a new hire, there is a learning curve that will inevitably take place within the first few months. Although expanding the capacity of your firm by hiring a new associate will mean it is necessary to set aside some of your time for training and mentoring, investing this time in the beginning to walk your new employee through office functions, expectations, and the firm's vision for growth and success will demonstrate to your new hire that she is an important contributor on your team. This early investment helps to manage expectations on both sides and set the relationship up for open communication and positive client outcomes. Ultimately, taking the time to get to nurture the development of new employees will save you the headache of dealing with frequent turnover or underperformance.

For more tips and suggestions on navigating the hiring and compensation process, take a look at this article on creating and sustaining compensation packages written by AILA's Practice Management Committee.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 17050433.