By Emma Ramsay, Partner and co-founder of Ramsay Paterson LLP, an employment lawyer for values and purpose led organisations

The summer has felt rather strange – hot and cold at all the wrong times! Perhaps it’s this that’s prompted me to think little differently too. I’ve been taking time out to do some research into employment contracts, rather than just drafting them!

My thinking is to redesign the employment contract, embracing legal design principles, purpose and values.

We’re employment lawyers who believe that organisations truly thrive when they reflect their purpose and values in all that they do. We think about that when working with clients, and carefully adapt our advice to ensure it lands well and feels like their culture.

We do that with employment contracts too, but I wanted to better understand what it really feels like for different people using an employment contract. I have my own ideas, but the wider research would be invaluable.

So I’ve been doing some research this summer talking to people who use employment contracts, or have to rely on them.

Every discussion has involved values and culture. It wasn’t a specific question, as I wanted to see how it might come up organically – and it did! Those being interviewed asking themselves:
– Does it speak our language?
– Does it feel like us?
– Does it reflect our values?

If not why not? In most cases they felt that it didn’t, and that it could be so much better.

I’m in the process of pulling the research together and identifying themes. And wondering how to include the good ideas in future drafts.

My initial sense is that values run through all of the comments made, even if not articulated in that way. The challenge might be how to reflect that subtle sense of values in a redesigned contract.

It’s such an important document for the employee journey – it needs time and attention, and it’s not okay to just blame the lawyers! It can be done better.

Initially I’ll be sharing a summary of the research with those who took part. It should make interesting reading for directors, managers and HR people. If you’d like a copy of that summary when it’s ready, please do get in touch. Or if you have thoughts and ideas on this topic yourself, that we might explore together, please do make contact – I’m very happy to chat – at

Spread the love

Leave a Reply