The Law Firm - Turning employee referrals on their head
With over 10,000 lawyers, in 180+ offices across 70+ countries, Dentons is uniquely positioned to leverage their global platform and deliver sophisticated and innovative legal services to their clients. Dentons UK hub has 5 offices (London, Watford, Milton Keynes, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow.).
Dentons is a truly “polycentric” international law firm that fully embraces the diversity of its geography, cultures and legal traditions.
The Opportunity for Change
Dentons are a dynamic firm who aren’t afraid to ‘shake things up’ when it comes to their recruitment approach.
When Head of Talent Acquisition Nicholas (Nic) Cole first joined Dentons, there were quite a number of priorities on his agenda in order to fulfil his mandate to transform hiring for the firm. Among his primary aspirations he intended to build a ‘best in class’ hiring function, raise their profile as an employer of choice Vs the typical magic circle firms as the target for candidates, and an important focus towards improving the candidate experience. Something he’s confident is a shared focus with his colleagues in HR.
The business is different to a typical law firm. They are truly a challenger brand for customers and similarly for candidates. Any current or past employee will testify. That’s why Nic was keen to sharpen up their Referral Programme as an important starting point for his change mandate. The best people to articulate the cultural differences are those who have experienced it first-hand. But rather than the typical approach to referrals, offering a huge bounty for someone to be introduced to a specific job (something he’s previously implemented in other firms) he wanted to find people who fitted with the ethos of the business first then let his expert team determine the right role for them. His highest priority is to reduce the dependence upon agencies – both as a sensible cost control measure but also to remove the necessity to lean upon agencies to ‘sell’ their brand to the candidate market. Let the Dentons story encourage brand advocacy!
Whilst Nic’s realistic about the volume of change he and his team can affect in a short space of time, he’s not afraid to think about his mid and long term objectives for change, and is already considering how Hollaroo can support his other priorities (brand advocacy and candidate experience)
We’re in the first few months following deployment, and Dentons are already expecting to see the following great results:
- On track to deliver against their Year One Referral Target – within few months from getting started the firm have already made three hires.
Working with Hollaroo
Dentons had an existing ER scheme which resulted in very few referrals. The urgency to replace the existing approach was further accelerated once GDPR came into play to ensure compliance was at the heart of their approach. But the truly differentiated thinking surrounding a shift from typical Job Referrals towards Brand Referrals. In a hugely competitive market, Legal firms are working hard to create distinction in their employee brand – demonstrating they are employer of choice. With this investment made by Dentons, encouraging a wider group of referrals to the business rather than specific roles would create brand loyalty and hopefully build a pipeline of talent for the future.
Whilst Dentons have been operating a Referral scheme for some time, the biggest challenge was the amount of time and effort required to ‘feed the beast’. Creating information, job posts, articles and other assets to keep people’s interest. A time consuming and labour-intensive activity!
“After spending time with the people, I can say we're more than just a big firm. We have some of the nicest, most talented professionals in the legal world, who are a joy to speak to. We have an active stance on bringing your authentic self to work, whether that's LGBT, supporting mental health, D&I, returning mums etc. We take CSR seriously, and contribute to communities all around the globe.” Says one of Nic’s new recruitment team.
Confirmation indeed that their focus towards brand referrals should redeem great results and deliver increasing value over time.
Dentons are integrating Hollaroo functionality in stages. Sensibly building a plan which measures the impact for each element of their candidate processes, one by one. The initial focus puts the spotlight firmly on their Referral process - encourage their employees to recommend individuals into the firm.
Nic’s well aware that at least 10% of his candidate pipeline could be driven by referrals which in turn, directly impacts upon his agency budget spend.
GDPR compliance (for a law firm) is of course front of mind, and Dentons quickly recognised that the Hollaroo Platform would ‘power’ their supply of quality candidates, increase efficiency by improving candidate commitment, AND mitigate the risk from data mismanagement.
Integration into their preferred ATS – All Hires also provides a regular and accurate view of job vacancies (updated hourly) so once referred, prospective candidates can quickly apply to new roles.
Hollaroo alone can’t be the whole fix for this type of ‘brand’ centric referral programme (however much we would love to say we are!). Nic is well aware that he needs to keep the attention, interest and commitment of his audience – sometimes for many months before the right role presents itself to that individual and to encourage employees to keep referring. Using a range of tactical and strategic marketing interventions (ie. branded engagement campaigns such as celebrating the 100th referral made) Nic will ensure the workforce don’t quickly become dispirited that their Bounty isn’t paid immediately (once the individual starts with the firm) and that he celebrates each and every successful hire.