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The Challenge

With the beginning of a new fiscal year, economic pressures, and attention to cost-savings, a firm was focused on ensuring the best firm profitability result. Realizing that the previous year of unprecedented growth in the legal industry drove the firm to make more aggressive people investments, leadership found themselves in a unique position. Current and future projections showed a reduced demand for legal services meaning current headcount numbers were unsustainable. Like many of their competitors, this meant the firm was planning to implement a financial strategy inclusive of hiring freezes and layoffs to reduce overall costs and retain profitability.   

While leadership understood that financial levers such as managing attrition and reducing hiring were valuable for the overall growth strategy of their firm, they also understood the value of their greatest asset, their people. Leadership was motivated to identify new levers that would allow them to keep the firm highly competitive in a tight market which meant taking a more strategic approach with the current talent of the firm to understand core competencies across the business.  The firm desired a holistic Performance Management infrastructure that would allow them to capitalize on their existing people investments and improve profitability through reduced operating costs. Rather than a reactive positioning including hiring freezes and layoffs, Calibrate developed a Talent Management strategy to support their financial objectives while increasing and maximizing team performance. 

Calibrate’s Solution

Calibrate partners with clients to develop Talent Management strategies that include competency frameworks and Performance Management capabilities to enable them to leverage their full Talent potential. These strategies help employees achieve greater competency, commitment, and motivation, and create the infrastructure for adaptive and high-performing teams. Key fundamentals of the Performance Management program that Calibrate implemented for the firm included: 

Competency Framework 

  • Creation of a competency framework within each operational business function. 
  • Assessment of current talent to identify existing skills and efficiencies within the competency framework to create value-driven growth opportunities for employees. This exercise emphasizes adaptive skills relevant for periods of rapid change where the ability to learn quickly and innovate are critical for business continuity. 

Performance Management 

  • Alignment of the competency framework and individual competencies with the firm’s goals to create successful, proactive, value-driven, and sustainable teams. Outputs of the alignment provide meaningful insight for leaders to enhance current and/or develop future professional development, training/onboarding, and other people investment initiatives. 
  • Development of a future-focused Performance Management framework to provide clarity on goals and priorities at the individual level and the practice/business function level that align with firm objectives. This framework enables performance management to be a continuous process for evaluation and feedback while mitigating subjectivity and bias toward performance and compensation outcomes. 
  • Formation of a Career Path framework that provides clarity into an employee’s growth potential and aligning employee goals with objectives/skills in support of a firm’s near-term and long-term success. Through career pathing and career development opportunities, engagement and retention of high-performing talent allowed the firm to maintain their competitive edge. 

By putting Talent Management capabilities and a Performance Management framework in place, the firm was able to continue growing revenue and maintain profitability goals by unlocking the potential of its existing talent. They were positioned to make better-informed decisions about how to manage and realized value through improved employee engagement, and bottom-line savings with organizational improvements, and talent-focused cost savings initiatives. 

Let’s Connect

To learn more about how Calibrate can help you develop a Talent Management strategy that will support your firm’s financial objectives while increasing and maximizing team performance, please reach out to Haley Revel, Managing Director of HR & Talent Management at Calibrate.