How to Improve Employee Engagement in your Law Firm
Turnover in law firms is at its highest-ever rate, and anyone can tell you that's a bad thing. High turnover rates in a firm make it hard to retain clients, who may lose trust with the firm over time. Hiring and training new employees is also expensive. In order to retain your employees, the number one thing to work on is employee engagement. According to Huff Post, engagement matters because it improves a firm's retention rates, productivity, and profitability. So how do you improve engagement in your firm? Here are three important steps.
Check in With Employees
Everybody's different, and what matters to one employee won't matter to another employee. That's why it's important to have a feel for what matters to the people who work for you. By using employee satisfaction surveys effectively, you can find out what matters to the specific people who work in your firm. Maybe one person values getting out of work on time, while another values taking on cases that make them feel good. This can help you define their roles and keep them in work they're suitable for and that will make them happy. The lawyer who likes meaningful cases may be happiest when charged with pro bono work, for example, while the one who values getting out of the office on time may be happy to take a more back-seat role in the firm as long as they can define their hours.
Communicate That it Matters
Lawyers aren't the only people in the firm who matter, and they're not the only employees you want to keep engaged. Communicate to everyone in your firm that engagement is a priority and that you care about it, no matter what the pecking order is. Being clear with these expectations can lead to lawyers treating secretaries and paralegals with more respect, which can improve engagement in these lower-tier positions at the firm.
Take Actions that Count
There are certain actions you can take within the law firm that will count and can help towards employee engagement. Once you've checked in with your employees to see what matters to them and have communicated the importance of engagement, follow through. If your employees communicate that work-life balance is what matters most to them, consider easing policies about taking calls with their kids or letting employees leave early on Fridays so that they can spend more time with their families. If, on the other hand, they care about helping the community, you may want to consider taking on more pro bono cases that they feel passionate about.
There doesn't have to be a high rate of turnover in your law firm. By asking for feedback from your employees, and really listening to what they have to say when they give it to you instead of getting defensive, you can come up with strategies to increase employee engagement and improve office morale.