Bullet-Proofing Your Firm
With so many people resigning and good staff becoming increasingly difficult to find, many firm owners are worrying what they will do if one or more key staffers decide to leave the firm. Even if your staff seem engaged and unlikely to leave, it’s a very good idea to have a plan just in case. We call it, “bullet-proofing your firm.”
We’ve put together some tips that are affordable, easy to roll out, and will ensure your firm survives and thrives even if a key staff person leaves.
Tip 1: Create a “single source of truth” for all client engagements.
The challenge with most “CRM” solutions is that they just track prospects and certain key information like birthdays and family members, etc., for clients. Ongoing communications are usually not included, and if they are, they are separate from the document exchange, e-signature, and messaging solutions. So staff end up having to look in too many places and the system breaks down due to data silos.
- Look for a solution like Liscio that creates a strong centralized place for anyone in the firm to quickly see what is going on with any client. Documents, messages, texts, e-signatures, tasks, etc – it’s all in one place and anyone in the firm can quickly get up to speed on everything the firm owes the client, and vice versa, as well as the communications.
Tip 2: Shift the Way Staff Spend their Time
This tip requires that you have a good understanding of how your staff is spending time and the frustration levels they may be feeling. Most practitioners are having to spend up to 40% of their time doing low-value and frustrating work like chasing clients for documents, or searching across multiple platforms for information they need.
- Look for a solution that streamlines the secure document exchange in such a way that clients send documents in on time with no chasing. Liscio is a great choice for this since clients respond 19 times faster than email, and if the integrated secure text messaging feature is used the median response time is just six minutes.
- By creating an environment where staff can spend the bulk of their time on satisfying, joyful work for clients, instead of badgering them over and over for information they need, chances are your staff will be happier and less likely to leave your firm.
Tip 3: Create an Inclusive Environment for all Staff Members
You’ve heard about the importance of Diversity and Inclusion, but most firms don’t really understand what that means. Take the time to ASK your staff what it means to them – and then really listen.
- For younger staff members it might mean that they want their ideas to be taken seriously, and to be able to help make improvements in the firm’s operations by using new technology, or by doing things differently than “the way it’s always been done”.
- For your staff who identify as female, it might mean not being interrupted when they are contributing during meetings (if you think this isn’t happening in your firm, you might be surprised at how prevalent it is.)
- Staff of all ages and ethnicities want to know that there is a leadership path for them. Make sure each of your staff members can see a bright future for themselves at your firm. So that you imagine what this looks like in practice – If every Partner or Director at your firm is a white man, you will likely have a hard time keeping female and BIPOC staff. Instead, you need to actively promote diverse employees so that when a staff person looks at the leadership team, they see that they too could be there one day provided they work hard and do a great job.
Tip 4: Think Beyond “Benefits”
Many firms have comprehensive PTO policies and good health plans and 401K benefits. These are table stakes these days, but what are some other things that firms can offer to make staffers want to stay, but that don’t break the bank? The key is to look for things that staff members will value, but that don’t cost a lot of money. A good place to start is to ASK your staff, but here are a few to get your creative juices flowing:
- For staff who are parents of school-aged children, or who are caring for elderly relatives, it might mean being able to split their day in order to do drop-offs and pickups without stress.
- Perhaps it is not starting meetings so early on Monday mornings
- Coffee and snacks during busy times are always appreciated, and to take this up a notch for remote teams, consider sending each person a box delivered to their home!
- Create a “culture team” – regardless of whether you all work in the office, or, you are working remotely, a Culture Team is a great way to get employees to feel like they belong and they are valued. The Culture Team is comprised of a subset of employees who are passionate about inclusivity and then are given a budget. The budget is used for engagement activities and also for small gifts and prizes.
No doubt you’ll have more ideas – but once you roll these out, be sure to ask your staff how they are feeling about the changes. We predict you’ll get some very positive responses! And if the unthinkable happens and you do happen to lose a key staff member, be sure to conduct a formal exit interview so that you can understand the key reasons they chose to leave. You might be able to make a few quick changes based on their feedback and improve the chances that your remaining staff will stay engaged and happily employed with your firm.