Staying relevant in today’s world means adjusting the way you look at things — constantly. What may have worked one day might not work the next. As marketers, we are challenged to find strategies we can implement that will help our firm remain relevant.
One way in which firms can retain their relevance is by focusing on cultivating a strong cultural identity. By investing in creating a robust firm culture, firms can attract top young talent. This talent can be a business development boost, since there is great value in hiring young, ambitious professionals who are eager to grow their client bases.
Firms can use a variety of strategies to promote their cultural identity. One method is to participate in professional services rankings. How can we highlight the firm's cultural strategy and promote the programs in place that drive our customers' decisions? Recognizing when we talk about customers, it can mean different things in different situations. For instance, if one of your business development goals is to attract young talent, then your customers are attorneys. But, we should also consider those same young attorneys when we talk about growing the business. There is great value in hiring young attorneys with a new and growing client base. Rankings are one way we can show the firm's commitment to cultural growth.
In the past few years, there has been a subtle shift in the rankings landscape. Many publications and organizations are now highlighting the cultural programs and strides firms are taking to become more inclusive. This is gold for marketers because it provides a platform for responding to the constant challenge of how to articulate the firm’s brand and culture to a wide audience.
Fortunately, several rankings are now available that highlight the efforts companies are making to be more inclusive, empower their younger talent and provide a healthier work environment.
Diversity & Inclusion Rankings
Marketers are often challenged by how to demonstrate culture to a broader audience. It is relatively easy to write copy that describes a firm’s culture, but how do you demonstrate the internal work that has been done to create and improve that culture? And to further that thought, how do you validate the work?
Doing this concisely is tough. One way we can do this is to nominate the firm for national or regional rankings that focus on culture. Well-vetted awards that honor a firm’s and individual’s success in cultural improvement provide a level of authenticity to the programs and work being done.
Corporate culture rankings can take many forms. For instance, National Law Journal and Law360 diversity rankings have been around for years. They give firms a way to benchmark the demographic changes taking place within the industry and among firms, year after year.
In addition, certain powerhouse rankings authorities are recognizing firms for their diversity and inclusion programs. These same publications are also identifying companies that are succeeding in improving their cultures.
There are awards that focus on women’s career achievements, mentoring, breaking the glass ceiling and professional success. There are awards for veterans, people who are in their second careers, people who are trailblazers in promoting the underrepresented — the list goes on and on. These types of awards serve to honor individuals for the work they are doing to improve culture in many areas.
Attracting Top Talent to Your Professional Services Firm
Understanding what is important to novice professionals is vital in attracting new hires. Firms have to understand junior professionals’ values in terms of professional growth, social responsibility and work-life balance. Firms also have to understand how their authentic values and culture factor into young professionals’ career decisions.
Rankings can help firms showcase themselves with this young demographic to appeal to potential new hires. For example, there are rankings for “Rising Stars,” which honor young professionals who are poised to become the next generation’s leaders. These rankings are your chance to not only recognize a young professional’s success publicly, but also to demonstrate the depth of work available to junior team members. Awards for “Best Places to Work” and “Healthiest Employers” showcase programs that focus on employee health and wellness, an area that is often a priority for the younger generation of professionals. There are also numerous civic and community awards aimed at recognizing how companies are giving back to their communities, including pro bono efforts, as well as philanthropic awards. For young professionals who value community service and social responsibility, these honors can be very appealing.
Placement on the right lists helps to highlight a firm’s successes, showcases areas of strength, and provides an opportunity to spotlight recent cultural and individual achievements. If you don’t spend time identifying which rankings are important to the firm, your professionals and your potential clients, you could be missing the boat.