April 09, 2012 at 17:30 PM EDT
Professional Development Benefits Firm Growth, Says Hays Legal

Tokyo, Apr 9, 2012 - (JCN Newswire) - Two in three legal firms in Japan do not offer continued professional development to staff, yet this is one strategy to help overcome the skills shortage in the legal profession and retain expertise within the firm, according to recruiting experts Hays Legal.

In the recruiter's survey of 65 legal firms, 66 per cent said they offer no continued professional development to their staff. Just 34 per cent offer professional development.

"Professional development has many benefits for a legal firm; it's not just about the career progression of individual staff," says Christine Wright, Managing Director of Hays in Japan.

"By providing ongoing professional development, a firm ensures it has the skills and capabilities needed and that all employees are making the best contribution possible. Development also allows a firm to advance individual employees' skills in the direction of existing skills and knowledge gaps.

"Given the increasing trend of mid-career moves, it is also a proven strategy to aid in staff retention and staff motivation."

Hays Legal provides these five tips for any firm wishing to implement a professional development program for staff:

1. Identify and track development needs:Sit down with employees individually to discuss and agree their career development and career goals. Use performance appraisals, formal and informal discussions and feedback from colleagues and customers to track and review development needs. Know what motivates individual staff. For example, one employee may be motivated by a fast-tracked development program to senior management, but a less ambitious employee could be encouraged to take on more or different responsibilities.

2. Set clear expectations:Professional development does not solely involve training. It is as much about an employee's ability to see a clear path of progress and know exactly what they need to do to achieve it. So clearly set your expectations for each individual's professional development pathway.

3. Review progress:Having a process to track and review development is critical; it is far better to invest in development that is actually required rather than perceived to be so.

4. Training that works:Identify the most suitable training. Set clear objectives so that everyone can be involved in measuring the effectiveness. But remember, training doesn't always have to be in the classroom. Coaching can be directed to many different scenarios, from correcting poor performance (it is one-to-one which is usually more effective) to improving motivation and encouraging employees to find their own answers.

5. Mentorships:Another common development strategy is the use of mentorships. Provided you have appropriate mentors within your firm, mentorships allow development to be tailored to your firm's needs. Through mentorships, less experienced employees gain the knowledge of their more experienced colleagues on a one-on-one basis. Given the informal nature of information exchange and the relationship-basis of mentoring, mentorships allow a firm to retain such knowledge as lessons that have been previously learnt, right through to implicit awareness such as why reports are written in a particular way or who to contact in the firm for particular information. Mentorships also allow your firm to retain technical knowledge. In terms of overall productivity, this in itself has obvious consequences.

Hays, the world's leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.

About Hays

Hays is the leading global specialist recruiting group. It is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide.

Hays Specialist Recruitment Japan KK ("Hays Japan") operates across the private sector, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments. Hays Japan is the only foreign recruitment company in Japan to operate specialist business units composed of professionals with experience and expertise in the sectors they cover. Hays Japan's thirteen specialisms span Accountancy & Finance, Banking, Finance Technology, Human Resources, Hays Resource Management, Information Technology, Insurance, Legal, Life Sciences, Office Professionals, Property, Sales & Marketing and Supply Chain.

Hays Japan is also the only foreign recruitment company in Japan to operate three local offices, serving the Kanto region from Akasaka and Shinjuku, and Kansai from central Osaka.

Hays Japan is the local representative office for Hays plc, which is a global company with more than 7,988 staff operating from 247 offices across 31 countries.

Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Columbia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, United Kingdom and USA.

Contact:

Keiko Asakura
Hays Japan
Marketing Manager
+81 3 3560 2813
Keiko.Asakura@hays.co.jp

Copyright 2011 JCN Newswire. All rights reserved. www.japancorp.net

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