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Transform toxic and turbulent to inspiring and inclusive!
What would your employees say if they were asked about the culture of your law firm? If you’re cringing at the thought of their feedback, perhaps it’s time to examine what life is like for your team. Lawyers everywhere, especially those who are just starting out, will tell you that between the endless hours at the office, the drudgery and an adverse ambiance, their firm is not only unpleasant, it’s downright soul-sucking.
If it comes as any comfort to you to know that yours isn’t the only company with this issue, great! Admitting there’s a problem is the first step to solving it. And if you’d like to come up with ways to elevate the mood among your crew and to transform your company culture, then read on!
“What am I doing here?” is one of those questions that creeps into everyone’s mind time and again. Employees who don’t have a clearly defined purpose are less engaged, less happy, and less productive. As management, it’s your job to define the missions and goals of the firm and to communicate these to your team. But it goes even a step further when you’re faced with a culture clash and that’s ensuring that employees understand their part in the mission and why what they do every day is important. Without this, there’s no purpose and without purpose, there’s no passion.
Recognition and reward
Employees who are recognized for a job well done feel happier and more appreciated which always translates into the motivation to work harder. It’s common sense really, but sometimes people get so busy and distracted with the daily grind that they forget that a little appreciation goes a long way. Law firms that implement an employee recognition and reward program see immediate improvement in their culture. Not only are team members inspired to work harder to earn rewards, they’re more likely to appreciate and recognize their co-workers. These are also key elements that go back to how valued they feel and why their role is an important part of your overall mission.
Room to grow
We can all agree that stagnancy stinks. Nobody likes immobility, especially when it comes to their career. Law firms that offer learning and development opportunities for their staff reap the rewards in various ways. First, they have team members that are learning new skills and advancing their knowledge that they can apply to their job and second, these people feel happier and more empowered to perform. Workshops, webinars, industry events, and other similar activities are key ways to provide growth opportunities to your team. Remember, the more they know, the better they can do their jobs all of which has a direct and positive reflection on your firm.
Positive company culture doesn’t always occur naturally. Consider your turnover rate. If you have employees consistently strategizing their exit, it’s time to take a new approach. At a time where companies like Google, LinkedIn, and Facebook set the standard for a progressive, innovative, and open-approach to culture, it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, you’ve got to keep up. Follow these tips to get started in a new, more positive direction.
Increase productivity and get everyone on the same page with a few clicks.
Any lawyer worth his or her weight will tell you that a key aspect to productivity and success is staying organized. It makes sense, especially since we live and work in an information overload world. So those attorneys who have a firm grip on their practice, including client and case information, deposition schedules, serve deadlines, and much more, are naturally going to be more prepared and ultimately more successful. And luckily there’s a plethora of tools out there that are free and easy to use. Let’s take a look.
For those who are using Microsoft Office 365, Groups is an awesome way to get everyone who’s working on cases together to be on the same page. It allows you to set up a team inbox in Outlook and a group calendar for case deadlines to create a document repository and more. This is tremendously helpful when you have multiple counsel or staff members working on cases together, and when new team members are added to the case they can simply scroll through the conversations that are available to get up to speed. There’s no need to spend hours forwarding information.
Perhaps one of the greatest collaboration programs out there, Microsoft’s OneNote (which is a part of the Groups capability), allows you to take notes and share them with everyone on the team at the same time. Think of it as a digital notebook, where you can layout your opening statements and closing arguments, sketch out demonstrations you plan to make and make outlines of steps you’re planning on taking during the course of the case.
Rolled out in the end of last year, this new legal document management system, which is also a part of Microsoft 365, is an add-on for Word and Outlook and gives you the ability to create new cases and save files directly to those cases. It’s extremely helpful because it allows you to organize files by matter, find documents, and securely collaborate with team members without having to log out of one program and into another. This organization method means less time searching for files and relevant information because it’s all stored together in one easily accessible place. With Matter Center, many attorneys find they are more productive because they have reduced the amount of time they need to spend on administrative functions and increase they’re time spent working on their cases.
Planner could possibly be the best collaboration tool you can get. With it you can organize your team for every case and have an easy way to create new plans, organize and assign tasks, share files, and update everyone on what’s happening in the case. Planner gives you a visual view of each plan, with a Board that keeps track of everything from due dates, all documents and attachments, conversations and more. And every time something new is added to the plan, all team members are notified via email.
Working with Microsoft Office 365, using Groups, OneNote, Matter Center, and Planner gives you powerful ways to stay organized and to collaborate with everyone on every case. There’s no better way to stay on top of all details and tasks that need to get done to ensure you’re as productive as possible.