The rapidly expanding northern law firm Cobbetts has a big heart. According to Michael Shaw, its managing partner, the firm’s central value is decency — and staff members who took part in our survey agree. Eighty-nine per cent believe in their organisation’s values and principles of client focus, flexibility and outstanding service — the fourth-highest score in our top 100.
Last year the company took over another Manchester-based legal firm, Fox Brooks Marshall, and in May it will merge with Lee Crowder in Birmingham to become one of Britain’s biggest regional players.
The changes have been well managed so far. To help new colleagues, the firm produced briefing packs for all employees that included descriptions of the newcomers, press releases and a question and answer section.
Only one company in our survey has a more contented staff: just 12% would leave tomorrow if offered another job. This may have something to do with the management, which is perceived to be very caring, and the remarkably stress-free environment. Less than one-fifth of Cobbetts’ employees — the second-best score — feel they are are under too much pressure to perform well.
There are solutions such as a counselling and stress management service to deal with problems as they arise, and a culture of honesty. Only 6% of employees feel they have to invent illness to get time off — a score bettered just once elsewhere in our survey. Most staff are entitled to 23 or 25 days’ holiday, rising to 30 days for senior managers.
Free membership at local gyms, private healthcare and life insurance are available to everybody. Although salaries are a modest £14,100 for secretaries and £33,006 for solicitors, all staff get performance-related pay ranging most recently from £510 to £6,250.
Only half of the workforce believe the firm makes a positive difference to the world in which they live, and 43% think it should put more into the local community. However, 85% of staff have confidence in the leadership of their senior managers and 87% believe their team members care for each other.
The company earmarks a budget for fun and social events. Cobbetts Social Club organises sports days, staff outings and a host of other events.
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