Rachel Street – BER – RPC

RPC director of people and talent development Rachel Street talks to Legal Week Intelligence.

How would you define the culture? Everything derives from our collaborative, team-based approach and supportive culture. It’s an environment where people are encouraged to be themselves, to bring outside interests into the workplace, which help them achieve a balance between what they enjoy doing at work and what they enjoy doing outside work. But also, quite often, those outside interests are things that bring valuable insights and viewpoints that can be applied in the work environment as much as externally.

What has been your greatest achievement in the last year? Our firmwide project to remove appraisals and replace them with a lighter touch, more regular approach. It seems to be going down positively among our associates. The formal appraisals, meeting with two partners, felt old-fashioned and a little ‘parent to child’. Instead, associates now have at least four quality conversations a year, encouraging them and partners to talk regularly, adult to adult, even if it is sometimes just 15 minutes, about how they are doing, how things are going. The more that people talk to each other, the easier it will be to ask the bigger questions around career opportunities.

What is your greatest challenge? To deliver on our new, regular approach to performance management. Will partners have the time to make this work? That is the biggest challenge: to make sure that my team is doing whatever it can to support partners and associates to make this happen. Because if we can deliver on it, I think it will be brilliant – it really will. The more that you can talk to people about their work and development, the smaller the issues become; they’re dealt with as you go along rather than storing them up for some formal annual meeting. I think it will be a game changer. So the biggest challenge is whether or not we can find enough time to do that in our busy lives.

Top three BER scores – RPC

  • Culture of my firm
  • The way I am treated by partners
  • Quality of work handled by my firm

RPC BER comments – What do you like best about your firm?

  • ‘Innovative and pragmatic culture’
  • ‘Willingness to review and improve how they do things; self examining’
  • ‘Its people, they are excellent solicitors and excellent people!’

For more information on the Best Employers Report 2016, email lrosenthal@alm.com or call her on +44 (0)207 316 9864