As a law firm, it’s important to provide excellent service to your clients. However, in order to do so, you must also ensure that your associates and junior partners are happy. Therefore, in order to provide high quality legal representation, all law firms should strive to create work environments that foster employee satisfaction and growth. Below are some tips on how to make your law firm a great place to work.
1. Provide Clarity
Clarity is an essential element of a positive work environment. When employers provide their employees with clear guidelines, uncertainty—which is a major source of workplace dissatisfaction—is greatly reduced. Some of the issues that employers should be sure to clearly articulate include:
· Employee advancement criteria
· Guidelines regarding the path to partnership
· Associate job expectations
· Partner job expectations
· Workplace hierarchy guidelines
· Paralegal and office assistant expectations
2. Provide Opportunities for Personal and Professional Growth
Research demonstrates that employee engagement and satisfaction is increased when employees feel a sense of mastery over their work. Therefore, it is important for managing partners to provide associates and junior partners with opportunities to learn and grow in their positions, thereby creating opportunities for the mastery of specific skills. This is important for law firm employees at all levels—from office assistants to partners. The mastery of job-related skills leads to a more competent workforce, which in turn increases organizational efficiency and client satisfaction.
3. Cultivate Workplace Autonomy
An excellent way to foster professional and person growth in law firm employees is to allow them autonomy in their work. Micromanagement, which involves close oversight of even the most mundane employee tasks, should generally be avoided. However, it is important to note that too little oversight can also be a problem. Therefore, law firms should strive to strike a balance between total autonomy and micromanagement—providing guidance when necessary while fostering growth and self-sufficiency.
4. Host Team Building and Social Activities
In order to cultivate a positive working environment, law firms should occasionally host team building and social activities. Providing partners, associates, and support staff opportunities to interact with one another in non-work settings builds camaraderie and forges bonds. This also ensures that employers and employees alike are comfortable with their coworkers, enthused about their jobs, and excited to come to work each day. From corporate retreats to social functions, legal employers should strongly consider organizing fun events for their employees.
5. Encourage and Practice Courtesy
A simple (and free) way that law firms can improve their work environments is by exercising common courtesy. In fact, research has shown that even the simple act of saying “please” and “thank you” to one’s employees can increase productivity and job satisfaction. However, in the high-stress atmosphere of a law firm, it’s easy for partners and managers to get in the habit of barking orders at their subordinates. And although this isn’t usually done intentionally, it can be demoralizing and foster a negative work environment. Therefore, partners and office managers should make a point of treating office staff and associates with respect.
6. Hire On Demand Contract Attorneys
Law firms often find themselves understaffed for large document review projects—a situation that can lead to overworked associates and junior partners. One way that law firms can prevent burnout is by hiring top quality on demand legal talent. At LexInsight, we connect legal employers and contract attorneys, saving our clients valuable time and money in the process. LexInsight gives legal employers the ability to hire experienced contract attorneys at a moment’s notice, taking the guesswork out of the process and leaving them free to focus on pressing matters. Set up your account and start browsing thousands of contract attorney profiles now.