employee engagement
If you read that title and thought, “engaged?? I’m just trying to keep employees on the payroll,” we don’t blame you. After all, the cumulative stress of the pandemic can make simply surviving feel like a win. The problem with that outlook is that failing to nourish employee engagement makes surviving in the carnivorous world of a law harder and harder. While just getting by might feel like all that’s possible in the present, the grim reality is that accepting this means beginning the slow march to obsolescence. If you’re not already doing so, now is the time to start asking how law firms are keeping employees engaged despite it all.

Building Engagement in Times of Trouble

The shift to remote work and flexible scheduling as a result of Covid-19 has come at a startling pace. However, these changes were on their way long before the pandemic hit. Therefore, if you are currently able to keep up, you’ll be in a leading position once this is over. After all, the virus is pushing people in the direction leaders in the field were already headed. Accordingly, learning how to bolster engagement now will set you up for success for years to come.

Employee engagement is about introducing work methods that nurture emotional connections between employees and their workplaces and motivate them to remain committed for the long-term. Engagement is not the same thing as satisfaction and cannot be achieved through pay raises or the occasional pat on the back. Rather, law firms keep employees engaged by incorporating the following:

1. Supportive Management

Firms that did not have work-from-home measures in place ahead of Covid-19 quickly learned that they would need to great creative when managing remote team performance. Frequent one-on-one check-ins, micro-goal setting, and regular feedback turned out to be the winning formula. This is no surprise because engagement thrives on achievement and a shared sense of purpose. Both of these needs are met by a supportive approach to management.

2. Positive Work Environment

For most, a change of environment has been the hardest part of pivoting to remote work. No longer are people surrounded by colleagues in a focused environment. Being at home has meant attending to the competing needs of children, aging parents, pets, and domestic chores while maintaining productivity. Astoundingly, most have pulled through. As remote work continues, leaders need to offer their teams the flexibility to manage these new challenges and, if people can return to the office eventually, initiatives need to be in a place that allows people to fit work into their lives and not the other way around. When employees see management value their personal needs, their emotional connection to the firm grows and they are compelled to stay on.

3. Transparent Communication

The Covid-19 pandemic has demanded incredible trust from employees who have depended on leaders to make good decisions for the future. The law firms have kept employees engaged despite this are those that communicate transparently and regularly. While everyone must be in on your firm’s strategy for navigating the pandemic, communication doesn’t end there. To inspire trust and uphold engagement moving forward, leaders need to learn to check-in often with employees and offer frank insight into company policy and direction. This includes openly discussing growth opportunities. After all, firms that invest in employee learning and development are repaid by engagement and retention.

Law firms keep employees engaged by supportive management practices, a positive work environment, and regular, transparent communication. Although that sounds simple enough, it can be hard to achieve. For specific instruction on this and more, check out our 66-Day Law Firm Turnaround program—a course designed to pivot your firm toward continued growth and prosperity on all levels.

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