The client

Thorntons Law is a full-service law firm advising national and international clients on various legal matters, including commercial, employment, property, and private client work. The firm is regarded as one of the top firms in Scotland, with a turnover of over £35 million.

The challenge

Thorntons had a sustainable five-year plan for expansion based on acquisition and organic growth. The leadership recognised that the plan’s success depended on taking their people with them. They asked Zuhra Consulting to create a People, Communications and Culture strategy to make this happen.

What we did

Zuhra worked with the Thorntons Partnership Board to design and deliver a Talent for Growth People strategy.

Phase 1

We began with audits of the People Team Function and its internal communications, leading to immediate recommendations.

Our consultants used data analytics to build a solid case for change and developed a comprehensive consultation and communication plan to ensure all stakeholders were engaged in the journey.

We reviewed Thornton’s salary structure and employment value proposition in the context of its stated ‘fair pay’ principles. We researched benchmark data from various organisations competing for the same people before recommending a system of performance-related pay reviews to attract and retain talent.

The final stage of this phase of the project was to design and implement a new Code of Conduct to provide clarity for employees and build a positive workplace culture.

The Managing Partner commented, “We are impressed by the journey so far and by what has been delivered by zuhra in such a short time.”

Phase 2

As a result of the project’s success, Dr Susan Hetrick, our lead consultant, was asked to become Thornton’s retained People Director. In this role, she has provided leadership to the HR team and:

  • Worked with the senior leadership team to create a people plan that included reward and employment policies.
  • Introduced a new operating model and people processes.
  • Started the process of scoping and selecting a new HR information system.

Our impact on the HR part of the business has led to an expansion of this role to cover operations and organisation design. Susan has also stepped into the role of advisor to the Partnership Board.

Name of person and position

The result

  • The Managing Partner credits the programme with future-proofing the firm and helping to increase operating profits by more than 10% on the previous year.

“Since Susan began providing direction and leadership, HR is increasingly seen as an engaged, value-adding part of the business. There is a ‘buzz’ about the team, which is infectious. Susan and her team are well respected by our senior leaders and colleagues.”