Definitely Mabey

It is not always about the money!

Aon Hewitt conducts an annual best employer survey that measures engagement as the determinant of whether a participating firm qualifies as a "best employer." How, might you ask, is this different from many of the other surveys used to confer best employer status? For the most part, the other surveys measure satisfaction and not engagement.

Stephen Mabey Author

The difference is that the former focuses on “how much people like it here,” whereas the latter is focused on “how much people want and do contribute to the business' success”—a serious difference in what is being measured.

Because we live in a world that thrives on definitions and interpretations, engagement is defined as a measure of an employee's emotional and intellectual commitment to a firm.

Engaged members of a firm display three distinct behaviours:

  • Say: they consistently say positive things about the firm;
  • Stay: they intend to stay with the firm; and
  • Strive: They strive to achieve above and beyond what is expected of them in their daily role in the firm.


The survey identifies the following six components that make up engagement:

  • people
  • work/motivation
  • opportunities
  • quality of life/values
  • procedures
  • total rewards

Within each of these components they have identified specific factors that are seen as “drivers of engagement.” There are 21 drivers that they measure in all and establish averages for each that if achieved would equate to “best employer” classification.

Because of the level of detail and sophistication of Aon Hewitt's measurements, they can not only provide overall averages to qualify as a best employer, but also for various industry groups. Interestingly, the averages for the law firms participating in the 2011 survey are for the most part lower than the average best employer entities.

Table 1 below lists the best employer averages as well the averages for the law firms participating:

The rest of this article is available in Stephen Mabey's new Book

Book Cover - Leading and Managing a Sustainable Law Firm - Tactics & Strategies for a Rapidly Changing Profession by Stephen Mabey

Available for purchase on BookBaby.



Until the next column remember,

"rivers and mountains get it—they pay no attention to boundaries.”

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First Published in Canadian Lawyer October 2011. Copyright © Applied Strategies Inc.

Legal Strategy Consultant