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Research & Publications

Legal Lives: Retaining talent through a balanced culture (2008)

The legal sector is a major contributor to the UK economy, and Britain is the second largest exporter of legal services in the world. In the last decade the economic and social environment in which the sector operates has undergone significant change. Differing generational expectations around work-life balance, a greater readiness to embrace mobile working and demographic shifts are redefining workplace culture. Enabling work-life balance is seen as a key challenge for 21st Century organisations, and is a vital part of talent attraction and retention strategies. Without action the private practice part of the legal profession risks falling behind in the global 'War for Talent', as employers continue to compete for scarce skills.

In the spring of 2008, in collaboration with Working Families, I conducted research commissioned by Addleshaw Goddard to investigate the possibility that specific barriers, unique to the legal profession, exist which militate against work-life balance in private practice law firms. The resulting recommendations are translated into three calls to action and supported by a route map to guide the sector on its journey to enabling more balanced working for fee earners.

For a copy of the management summary (.pdf format) click here.

Moving Mountains: The Culture Change Challenge (2006)

Five years after my initial City research, I returned to talk with a small group of employers about the action they'd taken to address the first challenge identified in the Quality of Life in the City report. I learnt that their culture change journey comprised five essential steps, which must be taken in tandem and with a consistent effort to re-define the language of work-life balance.

For a copy of the management summary (.pdf format) click here.

The Work-Life Balance Pack for HR Specialists (2002)

In 2002 the DTI asked accredited consultants to the Work-Life Balance Challenge Fund to propose Specific Solutions for the next round of funding. These comprised a package of support materials designed to aid organisations in moving forward on particular issues, together with a number of days' consultancy support for implementation.

Working with two colleagues, both CIPD qualified experts in flexible working arrangements, ours was one of twelve packs developed. The pack was designed to guide organisational HR specialists in planning and executing a project to improve access to work-life balance arrangements within their workplace.

Quality of Life in the City (2001)

The City of London is the financial powerhouse of the UK; but it's haemorrhaging talent. When Charlie Monkcom and I researched barriers and solutions to maintaining personal work-life balance among City workers we identified three important challenges for organisations:

  • Moving to an inclusive culture that supports employees who take up work-life balance options;
  • Using technology wisely so that it enables better balance, rather than adding to work intensification; and
  • Reversing the nett outflow of skills from City organisations.

For a copy of the management summary (.pdf format) click here.

Part-Time Workers (1999)

Women make up almost half the workforce, yet around 44% of them work less than full time, compared with roughly 10% of men (and this latter figure is increasing). When Lucy Daniels and I co-wrote the book Part-Time Workers for the CIPD's Good Practice series in 1999, the Part-Time Workers Directive was about to be enforced in UK law, but there was little guidance for managers on how to develop part-time staff.

All the evidence shows that people working reduced hours tend to be more productive and more satisfied with their employer. Yet the majority still pay a "part-time penalty" being forced to accept work below their skills level. It's unlikely, but you may still be able to buy a copy of the book through the CIPD (ISBN 0-85292-813-0) or contact me for further information.