Approximately 1.7 million people quit their jobs each month in search of greater opportunities, an indication that people are more confident in their abilities today than in years past. A common trait among all top talents is their desire to succeed, which means your most promising in-house counsel or General Counsel likely never ignores a potential opportunity to reach greater success.
Without you realizing it, that new opportunity could be a job offer with another company.
Don’t be blindsided by an unexpected resignation.
Pay close attention to these five signs your in-house counsel will leave in 2015, and be willing to examine whether you may be influencing his or her decision.
1. They Are Underpaid
If your corporate counsel refuse to work harder than necessary, aren’t willing to work overtime or request a pay increase, these are indications they may be underpaid or discontent with the current compensation.
Not surprisingly, pay is a top reason General Counsel and other high-ranking in-house legal counsel will leave one company for another. Conduct market research to ensure you are paying your legal staff a competitive rate. Don’t forget to reward your top performers with higher pay. Annual performance-based bonuses are an effective means to keep top talent working hard for your company.
2. They Exhibit Signs of Stress
Most legal professionals don’t accept the job expecting a standard 40-hour workweek. But if they constantly sacrifice evenings and weekends to keep up with the caseload or openly exhibit signs of stress, such as a lack of patience or general discontentment, this could be an indication they’re considering a job change.
Ensuring all components of your company operate legally at all times is a major undertaking that is inherently stressful, but lack of proper support and resources can elevate this stress to a degree that drives General Counsel and top corporate counsel to quit in search of a more bearable situation.
Ask your staff if they have everything they need to be successful and if there’s anything you can do to ease the strain. If the caseloads have reached a tipping point, consider recruiting in-house legal counsel who can ease some of that burden. Even if your staff’s requests can’t be fulfilled at the moment, acknowledging those needs is important to building loyalty.
3. Exemplary Performance Goes Unrewarded
If the head of your legal department or other high-ranking staff have suddenly stopped reaching high-end goals or seem to lack motivation, they may feel their achievements go unnoticed or unrewarded. This lack of acknowledgment could push them to seek positive reinforcement elsewhere.
Consider offering bonuses for exemplary performance or, at the very least, take time to compliment a job well done. Your top legal staff can also be rewarded with other incentives, such as corporate tickets to a sporting event or involving them in an important project that offers additional opportunities to influence others.
4. They Lack a Relationship with Your Company
If your corporate counsel don’t participate in company events or seem to lack a relationship with other company leaders—including you—they may not be entirely invested in the company, its mission or its values. Without an emotional connection, there is little stopping one of your company’s most crucial leaders from jumping ship.
Arrange one-on-one time to discuss business, but leave space for more leisurely conversation. Company outings, team building seminars and regularly acknowledging exemplary performance are also effective ways to fortify the bond between your corporate counsel and your company.
5. There’s an Evident Glass Ceiling
Top talent inherently strives for greatness. If their ability to climb the corporate ladder within your company is hindered by an obvious glass ceiling, it is in their nature to supersede their present state by searching for new opportunities.
Reserve elite opportunities for your most talented corporate counsel members and fulfill their quench for eminence by constantly challenging them to reach new heights. Communicate the potential for earning C-suite status among other achievements.
To learn more about how you can plan ahead so you won’t be surprised by an unexpected General Counsel resignation, download our guide, 7 Steps You Should Be Taking Now to Find Your Next GC.