An insight into how DAC Beachcroft has successfully increased employee engagement through fostering inclusion in the workplace.
Valuing people for bringing their whole selves to work and celebrating their diverse experiences was the cornerstone of an employee engagement exercise that won DAC Beachcroft the award for Outstanding Employee Engagement at the People in Law Awards in June.
After an employee survey found it could do more to improve employee engagement, especially around strategic communication, the firm’s HR team sought to redefine its employer value proposition and articulate what being part of the DAC Beachcroft team was about. Not only would this help with loyalty and retention, it was also expected to help with candidate attraction.
“There are so many law firms – companies like Tesco are doing their own legal services now – and there’s so much competition for talent. We wanted to find out what it is that makes us different, how we could attract the best people to come and work for us, and how to retain the people we have,” says employer brand and engagement manager Becky Male.
Male knew there was something about the organisation that made it different from other law firms when she arrived at the company two years ago, and wanted to reflect this energy and culture in its employer brand.
“We genuinely value people for being a whole person. We respect that we employ a diverse range of people and they come to the firm with families, with life experiences that are valuable. We understand that some people may be parents, may be carers, may have children with disabilities; I feel we’re really respectful of people and their lives outside of work,” she says.
A new employer brand
After a deep analysis of how the organisation presented itself on its website compared with other law firms, and obtaining feedback and ideas from people across the business via focus groups, it unveiled its new employer brand: “A Life that Works”.
More than 40 employees took part in photoshoots to showcase the organisation’s culture and many shared their stories for a revamped careers website, which launched earlier this year. Staff wanted to show how proud they were to work at DAC Beachcroft, including an associate returning to work after a number of years focused on bringing up children and a paralegal who spoke about the support she received while going through severe depression.
Every one of the firm’s people was given a significant role in the launch of the new brand – they were asked to spread the word about the new proposition and share their own experiences of working at DAC Beachcroft, both internally and externally.
“Since unveiling [the brand], people are much clearer internally about why they want to work here, and it’s improved colleague loyalty and retention,” says Male. “Our staff are engaged in their roles at the firm because they are given respect and trust to do their role, as well as be a parent, for example.”
Since introducing the new brand, voluntary turnover has reduced from 22.7% to 18% and the firm has seen an uplift in the number of direct applicants coming through its careers website, despite the uncertainty the lockdown has brought.
The firm has also seen an increase in employee advocacy. The number of shares on its LinkedIn post revealing the new careers website was the highest it had ever seen, which Male says demonstrated how staff are engaged and proud to work for DAC Beachcroft. More employees have also come forward to share their own stories after reading their colleagues’ inspiring experiences.
Building on momentum
The work will not stop here, says Male. The organisation hopes to enhance employee engagement further by undertaking an employee experience review beginning in the autumn, and it expects to launch a programme to help people return to the legal sector after a lengthy career break.
“For every touchpoint from pre-boarding to exit, we’re looking at ensuring the overall proposition is lived,” she says.
“The brand is very cognisant around the decisions we’re making currently and is like a compass that’s guiding our direction going forward.
“Historically we’ve always been a firm that’s hidden our light under a bushel and we’ve been a bit reserved about shouting out about what we do well. There’s a lot of great stuff we don’t tell people about so [winning the Outstanding Employee Engagement Award] has given us confidence to recognise that we are a great employer. It’s confirmed that the engagement journey we’re on is heading in the right direction.”
Ashleigh Webber is health and wellbeing editor for Personnel Today