In two of our earlier surveys, we explored Legal Tech workers’ preferences for compensation and benefits (hybrid work model and company culture ranked highest). We conducted another poll asking hiring managers and HR professionals what staffing challenges were burdening them most (an overwhelming 57% cited hiring as their chief concern). Based on these findings, we wanted to dive deeper into the hiring and retention side to determine what employers are doing to attract and retain staff in today’s environment.
We asked, “What is the primary method you are using to attract and retain staff today: higher salaries, remote work setups, flexible schedules, or more vacation time?”
Higher salaries: 43% of votes
Remote work setups: 14% of votes
Flexible schedules: 43% of votes
More vacation time: 0% of votes
While insightful, I did not find these results to be completely surprising. As indicated in the findings above, employers feel that higher salaries and flexible schedules are the most enticing benefits they can offer employees. And with the staff shortage being what it is, it’s no surprise that employers are entirely avoiding more vacation time as a benefit.
What’s most interesting to me is the picture that appears when results from all four surveys are combined. Between them, we’ve deduced that workers want what employers don’t: remote work setups. For example, in our employee benefits survey regarding non-financial priorities, 37% of employees cited a hybrid work model and 35% told us company culture was their main concern. Conversely, only 14% of employers offer remote work setups, focusing instead on higher pay. As far as hiring managers and HR professionals go, only 14% of those surveyed cited managing remote workers as their chief concern which leaves us wondering why employers are so hesitant to allow employees to work from home at least part of the time. It appears to me that the most efficient way to attract and retain staff could be to give the workers the option to work remotely at least a few days per month on a consistent basis. This would satisfy workers who wish to have a flexible schedule and would simultaneously meet the desires of those employees who want to work for an organization with a great corporate culture that prioritizes their employees’ sense of security and wellbeing.
The results are also in line with what I’ve been hearing in the market. I recently spoke with an Information Security Analyst from a sizable financial institution who told me she received a $30,000 raise. Around the same time, she was notified that she would have to report to the office five days per month (after working completely remotely since March of 2020). In lieu of having her own desk as she did in the past, she will now be logging in from what sounds like a co-working space within the company’s headquarters. Coincidence? Maybe not. The decrease in office space rent payments can translate into a higher salary for employees working a hybrid schedule.
Anecdotally, I can report that most of our employer clients who did not operate on the hybrid/remote model before the pandemic have called workers back into the office for at least a couple of days each week.
Two of our placements within the last 30 days have been on a hybrid schedule reporting to the office 2-3 days per week, and one of them was told the position would eventually go back into the office 4-5 days per week.
At the very least, most employers seem to be more flexible about allowing workers to log in remotely from time to time, even if they are technically “in-office” employees. And to the employers that are hesitant to allow this flexibility: it may be time to rethink that strategy! This occasional flexibility makes life easier for employees on the days they have home repairs scheduled, appliance deliveries to sign for, or are dealing with sick family members, to name a few. Happy workers are productive workers, and allowing flexibility will also lead to decreased absences from sick days which are often used by individuals who really just need to be home one day for a non-medical issue.
David A. Netzer
Legal Tech Talent Network