I am not sure if you were aware, but your firm’s partners, associates and support staff members are all human beings. I know they may appear super human with their extensive lists of distinguished accomplishments and degrees, but trust me.
Each and every one of them is an actual human being, with actual human flaws.
Sometimes, they procrastinate instead of completing a task. Sometimes, they daydream while in the middle of a project. Sometimes, they simply do not perform in the manner that you expect them to perform.
It’s all part of human nature, but with some effort and a few techniques, you can promote productivity and turn your firm’s staff into a group of super productive heroes.
An article in Forbes magazine provides some useful tips for improving engagement and motivating employees within the workplace.
- Incentives – Money is an unquestionable motivator, and people usually respond to financial incentives. Rewarding performance can prove quite effective at boosting the productivity of your firm. While this is commonly done for partners within a law firm, associates are often left out of incentive programs, which can actually hinder productivity. If you are using legal project management (LPM) within your firm, consider offering incentives for the entire team to reward for timely completion of the matter or coming in significantly under budget. You are likely to find that a little monetary persuasion really goes a long way.
- Taking an interest in the employee’s well being – A happy employee is a productive employee. Mentoring and coaching from senior level associates or partners are great tools for assisting new associates. Listen to the individual’s professional goals and offer assistance if they align with the goals of the firm. For example, if a young associate shows a real interest in tax law, why not let her work within an LPM team on a complex taxation matter? This way, she can gradually learn the skills and nuances of this practice area, while gaining support and assistance from the team as a whole.
- Open Lines of Communication – Keep lines of communication open between all levels of your firm, from the most senior partner to the newly hired receptionist. Ensure that each and every employee knows how to properly voice concerns and launch a grievance if necessary. LPM is useful in this regard because it can create an environment where all levels of employees work together as a team, with communication as an essential component for success. This fosters effective professional relationships and empowers employees to motivate one another.
Your law practice staff may consist of mere mortals, but with the right incentives, a little extra effort and open communication, they will be showing you their super productivity powers in no time.
About Erika Winston:
Erika Winston is a Virginia based writer with a passion for all things legal. As a former domestic relations attorney, she understands the challenge of determining the best fee structure for your practice. Erika is a regular contributor to TimeSolv and a variety of other publications.