Two keys to successfully onboarding lateral recruits

August 17, 2018

One of the recurring conversations I have in the market is on how to best keep new team members properly engaged beyond the initial ‘honeymoon’ period of joining a new organization. Ultimately, successful and sustained growth of an organization can only occur if team members not only stay, but flourish in their new environment, so it becomes critical to ensure long-term engagement of all hires if an organization is to be successful in the long run.


As part of our legal recruitment process, we keep in contact with our placed candidates through at least the first year (and frequently beyond), to ensure a successful transition and integration with the new employer.  While there are many variables that influence successful, long-term lateral integration, in our experience, in the legal recruitment world, two key elements strongly predict whether a lateral hire will become a long-term fit with the organization:


  1. They understand how: does your new recruit understand how to be successful in their new role? It is not enough to simply know how to do the job, they must know how to be successful in the role.  Specifically, do they understand the definition of success in the eyes of the team? Not everyone necessarily has the same definition of success, so having a clearly laid out process for how work is performed (and what success looks like) will have a significant impact on how an individual successfully integrates with their new work environment.


  1. They understand why: does your lateral recruit understand the general philosophy underpinning the organization’s approach to its market and clients? While this is often described as being a ‘cultural fit’, invariably, such a fit is the result of understanding the why of an organization.  For those that have better lateral integration, this is not left to chance – there is an explicit (and on-going) conversation that reflects the values and approach the organization takes in both how they act in the market, and the clients they serve.


Ultimately, while each lateral hire will have unique elements to address in order to create a successful, long-term hire, on-boarding processes that actively consider these two issues will greatly improve your success in lateral recruitment (and likely improve your retention for those already on the team).

Unsure whether your current process achieves these goals?  You can reach out to any of our partners for a confidential discussion on how we might be able to assist your legal team!

Warren Smith, Managing Partner