It’s good news for Shoosmiths, as a recent survey by the Thomson Reuters Institute revealed that flexibility is a key driver of job satisfaction among associates in law firms. Heather Withers is a research executive in the firm’s talent acquisition team. Here she explores what Shoosmiths is doing to retain good talent.
The Thomson Reuters Institute reported that lawyers who are not currently considering a move gave the following three reasons for staying with their current firm:
- Flexible working
- Fair conditions
- Option to ‘be themselves’
The survey recognises that even a simple ‘Thank you’ and ‘Well done’ can go a long way in the war to retain good talent.
This is great news for Shoosmiths as these ideals are at the heart of the culture and employee proposition at the firm; in fact, ‘being ourselves’ was revealed as one of the firm’s newest values in late 2022.
This month, July 2023, Shoosmiths unveiled its new reward and recognition scheme called STAR which is designed to support our values-based approach to recognition. It offers the opportunity to celebrate the firm’s culture, acknowledge individual and team achievements, and foster a stronger sense of connection and community among employees, the firm, and our strategic goals. The STAR portal supports peer to peer recognition for exceptional work, living the firm’s values and contributing to its culture - as well as everyday ‘shout outs’.
Let’s have a look at these three points in more detail.
Shoosmiths embraced hybrid working long before anyone had heard of Covid-19. With long-established agile ways of working, the pandemic purely accelerated a move towards our new-normal, a hybrid of working from home or in the office. Since then, more autonomy was given to staff which focuses on output not occupancy.
New offices are being designed to reflect this new way of working demonstrating that this change is here for the long-term. Shoosmiths’ new space in Birmingham, 103 Colmore Row, has a lot of collaborative areas with a variety of different zones where colleagues can choose their workspace based on the task they’re doing that day, rather than the desk being the default place to set-up for the day.
“We feel that this stunning state-of-the-art building reflects the innovative and client-focused nature of our business as well as offering us the flexibility for hybrid working in the years to come”. Alex Bishop, partner and co-head of Shoosmiths’ Birmingham office
To support fairness, Shoosmiths consults with colleagues regularly through working groups, networks and surveys. The firm has a Shadow Board made up of colleagues from all levels and divisions to provide feedback and insight to the leadership team bringing a fresh perspective to strategic decisions. Shoosmiths’ approach to people is underpinned by a commitment to diversity, inclusion and wellbeing which is embedded through networks, workshops and initiatives. There is a well-being hub with access to resources on issues as diverse as savings or budgeting advice and menopause.
Diversity & Inclusion is high on the board agenda, in fact it is a standing agenda point every quarter. When reporting on Gender Pay Gap Shoosmiths also voluntarily report on ethnicity, LGBTQ+ and socioeconomic pay gap data showing commitment to accountability and transparency.
Commenting on the latest Pay Gap report, David Jackson, CEO, said: “Our people are instrumental to the firm achieving its ambitions. As a responsible business it is incumbent on us to recognise the gaps highlighted here and take steps to understand and address them.”
Shoosmiths wants people to bring their whole selves to work and selected ‘being ourselves’ as one of the four newest Shoosmiths values. To complement the firm’s inclusive culture and to ensure everyone can flourish, there are also a range of inclusive networks colleagues can join. Colleagues come together based on shared identity or experience to offer a safe supportive space, education and collaboration within the networks and to raise awareness and foster understanding across our diverse teams.
The networks are: Balance, Embrace, and Proud.
- Balance is a community focused on promoting gender balance and championing all women
- Embrace celebrates the culture and heritage of all those at the firm to foster respect and understanding
- Proud is the LGBTQ+ community at Shoosmiths which provides formal and informal ways to network, raise awareness and promote inclusivity
These networks are run by staff for staff offering support and information through events, networking and workshops. By offering the opportunity to join or reach out to groups based on shared identity the hope is people will feel empowered to show up as their authentic selves and reach their full potential. In addition, if someone is facing challenges, they have easy access to colleagues they know can offer support from a place of real empathy and understanding.
The firm also has a contingent of mental health and wellbeing champions across its footprint. These people support colleagues who may be experiencing mental health issues, they tackle mental health stigma and drive initiatives to support the mental wellbeing of all staff.
Julie Hedge, legal PA and mental health & wellbeing champion, shared the following:
“After years of silently struggling with anxiety and depression, I have finally joined a company where one of their core values is “Being Ourselves”. This empowers me to be my true and authentic self – proudly showing my vulnerabilities. This not only allows me to be the best version of myself but also enables me to help others to feel psychologically safe in their working environment. Thank you Shoosmiths.”
We all want to be able to bring our true selves to work, and to feel recognised for work well done or for going that extra mile. It makes us feel good and helps us feel part of a community of excellence, who appreciate and support each other.
The survey carried out by Thomson Reuters included responses from more than 100 UK associates on their current job satisfaction Flexibility seen as a key driver of satisfaction among UK law firm associates, survey shows - Thomson Reuters Institute
To learn more about working for Shoosmiths, the opportunities available and current vacancies, check out our careers page.