In small law, oftentimes the biggest differentiator between firms that “make it” and firms that don’t is one simple thing: employee training and development. The value a firm places on finding, recruiting and hiring the best-of-the-best lawyers, paralegals, and legal support staff is directly proportionate to its future success. In addition, firms that offer regular training, and that provide employees with the tools they need to truly make a positive impact on the firm’s performance, find their employees to be more loyal, happy and hardworking.
Human resources are hands-down the most expensive asset a firm has. That’s why it’s so, so important for this investment to generate a positive return. But building a team of rock star staff members, and empowering them to step up and lead your firm straight to its business or revenue goals, isn’t as easy as it sounds. Trust us, we’ve spent our careers working with firms on staffing, team training and development, and employee empowerment. There’s an entitlement mentality that needs to be eliminated, office drama, balls dropping left and right, generational gaps, a shortage of great (not just good) people…and the people who are in the market for a job seem to have such narrow skill sets!
We can’t snap our fingers and make these inevitable legal staffing obstacles disappear, but we can share some of the employee training and development secrets that we’ve learned over the years. Here are four tips for effective employee training and development:
1. Take generational gaps into consideration…but don’t make assumptions! A 2016 Activia Training study found a surprising disparity in the way different generations of workers prefer to learn: the younger generation actually prefers an onsite learning environment, while more mature workers—those who are more likely to be balancing their professional life with a family and kids—enjoyed virtual training and development experiences. Of course, every individual prefers to absorb information in their own way—ask your people how they prefer to learn, and be willing to offer training options that meet a variety of lifestyle demands.
2. Keep employees engaged. A great training and development program will keep employees engaged with the material—they’ll feel connected to it, and have an easier time recalling what they’ve learned later on. It goes beyond engagement with the material, though. Finding an engaging way for employees to practice what they’ve learned is equally important. Some employees will prefer hands-on practice, while others will appreciate time to think about and absorb what they’ve learned before implementing the skills at work.
3. Be flexible; address the needs of both teams and individuals. When you enroll your team in a training and development program, it’s safe to say that not every individual will be starting off at the same level. Watch the performance of individuals as they undergo training. Recognize when certain people need extra help in certain areas. Tailor the training each employee receives to make them more well-rounded team members.
4. Ask for feedback. The best way to show an employee that you care whether or not their training and development program is valuable…is simply to ask! What was confusing? What resonated? Where are there holes in the material? Asking for feedback ensures that your employees receive effective training that actually fosters their growth as professionals, and your firm’s growth overall.
We can’t emphasize the importance of employee training and development enough. In fact, we’ve developed a virtual program—the Team Empowerment Academy—designed to equip employees and executives with over 200 tools and techniques to make them more empowered, effective leaders. The flexibility of this program is that employees can access workshops on an as-needed basis, based on what they want to learn, or on what they, as individuals, need to learn. There are also weekly masterclasses, led by our team of expert staffing consultants, that offer more personal, face-to-face learning experiences.
Hiring and Empowering Solutions also offers onsite training and development programs for those firms who prefer a more hands-on learning experience.
Schedule a Call and Get Started on Success!
Wherever your firm is—just getting started, thinking about hiring your first (or tenth) employee, how to get your existing team to step up and take ownership (care) in their role, how to create consistent monthly cash flow, or how to support that struggling employee—we can help. For 20 years we have taken over the staffing, training, development and empowerment for 500+ small law firms across the country. Schedule a call today and let’s talk about your firm’s goals…and how we can help you get there!