Estimated reading time: 4 minutes.
The Great Resignation has not spared the legal industry, and both legal and nonlegal professionals from some of the nation’s most well-renowned law firms are seeking greener pastures in record numbers. While some of the resignations are due to reshuffling between big firms, much is due to talent leaving for boutique firms and nontraditional employers. Many law firms are reevaluating how to position themselves in this new landscape, where reputation and salary may no longer be the sole motivators for staying at a firm.
Raising salaries has long been the weapon of choice for talent retention at top law firms, but with salaries continuing to skyrocket, the effects from raising salaries may soon start to dwindle. According to recent findings, money isn’t the only factor that’s top-of-mind for job seekers in the legal industry. In the 2021 Midlevel Associates Survey of legal professionals, 60% of respondents said they would consider leaving their firm for an improved work-life balance. Benefits can play a key role in determining whether someone joins one firm over another, especially if those benefits address the biggest obstacles law firm team members face in achieving balance in their lives. If they want to avoid losing valuable, veteran talent to new competition, HR and benefits leaders need to find ways to help their members strike a better balance so they can work at peak productivity without giving up time or energy in their personal lives.
Beyond salaries, law firms offer some of the best benefits packages available on the market. However, continued ecosystem fragmentation and the proliferation of valuable point solutions have created untold complexity for anyone trying to access care, making it even harder for legal professionals suffering from a lack of time and scheduling flexibility.
Challenge 1: The complexity of healthcare is exacerbated for a workforce with limited time.
When time and money are so narrowly linked, any time spent mired in the administrative tasks necessary to navigate healthcare’s antiquated underbelly is not only endlessly frustrating for your teams — it’s also costing the business revenue. Seasoned senior partners may not want to share their intimate healthcare details with their administrative staff, forcing them to manage their own care. Even a small task like an unexpected 20-minute phone call to a provider has the potential to disrupt daily productivity. The inability to efficiently engage the right resources also increases the likelihood of a delay in seeking treatment, increasing the risk that a preventable issue may worsen over time.
Untreated health issues can cause serious consequences. Colleagues typically don’t have the option of stepping in for each other if one of them falls ill. Delayed court appearances, missed deadlines, or uncompleted work due to illness all have the potential to damage hard-won reputations and have negative repercussions for clients.
In short: The system is too complicated, and your teams don’t have the time to find their way through the maze of healthcare alone. Like everyone, they want the best physicians and treatment for themselves and their families. However, tracking down the best care with the most convenient accessibility could take hours of back-and-forth phone calls or emails. Creating a concierge experience with a focus on quality reduces the stress of hunting and regifts those hours back to valuable work and personal pursuits.
Challenge 2: Mental health is a growing concern.
A career in the legal field, while rewarding, can also be extremely strenuous. Both legal and nonlegal professionals at the nation’s top firms work in high-pressure environments, managing tight deadlines and juggling internal and external demands. Work-related stress and poor mental health contribute heavily to absenteeism, burnout, anxiety, and even physical illnesses like hypertension, heart disease, and gastrointestinal issues. This means those in charge of managing law firm benefits should take note of benefits solutions that provide more accessible avenues for mental health care.
The fact is, those working in the legal profession can suffer from mental health illnesses in higher proportion than the general population. Law firms place a lot of value on supporting their teams; it’s critical that mental health care is a key pillar of their well-being strategy. Unfortunately, mental health care is notoriously complicated to access, even for those with the best insurance or who are willing to go out of pocket.
Why are there so many roadblocks specific to mental health? Many mental health professionals run small, private practices and aren’t available to answer the phone when they’re with clients. As more people focus on their mental health, the availability of top-rated providers has diminished, creating waitlists with short opening windows. With the dynamic availability of providers, it’s important to continue following up to check for new openings. A personalized health guide can do this for a law firm team member, alerting them when an opening arises and then scheduling an appointment around their availability, even if it’s later in the evening or on a weekend.
Challenge 3: Addressing the importance of preventive care with your most vital population.
While junior associates may be more notorious for transitioning from one firm to another, seasoned administrative professionals and long-tenured partners are the bedrocks of your business. Their health and well-being must be prioritized, especially when it comes to proactive and preventive screenings, as these can detect more serious conditions that may cause these team members to be pulled away for long periods of time.
It’s a hard fact for many to face, but the dedication of these individuals — a quality so critical to their high performance — is sometimes the very thing that keeps them from stepping away to access much-needed preventive care.
Branding your benefits for a competitive edge.
One way to take on the issues highlighted above is to add care navigation to your benefits bundle. These days, many different stakeholders purport to be “care navigators,” all touting the benefits they bring to members. However, to truly be effective, your healthcare navigation solutions must combine live clinical expertise with intuitive technology. The end result is a single front door for members to access care, complete with a live concierge waiting on the other side.
Rightway has been partnering closely with HR and benefits leaders from top law firms to deliver healthcare navigation solutions to their teams. Having a healthcare expert manage health needs saves their teams from having to stumble through the complex system on their own and reduces the amount of time they must redirect from billable hours to take care of their health. This not only improves their performance on the job — it also gives them some much-needed space outside of work to enjoy their lives.
By using proprietary and third-party data to point legal and nonlegal professionals to the highest-quality in-network providers, healthcare navigation solutions remove the hoops that someone has to jump through to access care. Beyond accessing care, Rightway acts as an extension of HR teams, stepping in to handle billing issues when they become too complex and providing constant support to keep member engagement high.
Rightway also acts as a valuable extension of the HR function, delivering key support to teams that are stretched thin across their organizations. The company provides tailored education and training to its members, ingraining themselves at firm events and orientations where team members are most likely to discover key benefits information.
Rightway is proud of the work it’s been doing to support its law firm clients, particularly of the impact it has made on the improved health of their workforce and the productivity of its legal professionals.
Increased well-being is increased retention.
Those in the legal profession face enough battles in their day-to-day work. They shouldn’t have to fight to access their health benefits too. In an industry where health issues are prevalent and time is in short supply, care navigation is a rare benefit that can speak volumes about how a firm treats its teams. Offering care navigation is an indication that a law firm respects the time, energy, and well-being of their workforce — a message that can’t be expressed solely through dollars and cents.