Today’s legal culture is unlike any other that we have seen in the past. Employees look for more meaning and purpose at work, not just a paycheck. Well-informed and connected employees also drive expectations for collaborative work environments where trust and transparency between team members are paramount. With these new cultural norms, it’s essential to foster an employee engagement culture in your law firm that encourages collaboration and open dialogue about what people value most by adopting these seven rules.
Improved work/life balance
For many years, the law was viewed as a “sacred cow” that cultural changes would never touch, but that has changed. Law firms are now seeing the benefits of shifting their focus to better managing work-life balance for their employees. Achieving a healthy balance between work and life allows employees to stay at their best, increasing engagement and retention and improving productivity levels.
Recognition and rewards
People appreciate being recognized for their contributions and efforts; it can be an excellent way to drive positive behavior in the workplace. With that in mind, providing recognition opportunities at different points of the year and for individual accomplishments is a great way to show your team members that you notice and appreciate their efforts and contributions. One way to recognize your employees is through a rewards program. Rewards programs can show appreciation through gifts, cash awards, and gift cards such as a holiday gift certificate. Employee satisfaction is increased when you have a rewards program in place. This also applies to recognition within the firm. You should have a rewards system to encourage people to do the right things.
One way to foster collaborative and supportive relationships between employees is by establishing mentoring relationships. Mentorships can benefit both parties by allowing employees to receive guidance from more experienced colleagues and offering a way for more senior staff to give back to the profession. At the same time, mentorship programs have been shown to drive employee engagement and retention rates and improve professional confidence, authenticity, and self-awareness. With that in mind, make sure to offer a formal mentorship program with structured guidelines and expectations.
Focus on mental health
Mental health is an essential part of employee engagement that many firms tend to overlook. While many firms have programs to support physical health, mental health is often overlooked. This can be a severe problem, given that the World Health Organization has reported that mental health issues cost the global economy $2.5 trillion yearly. When employees are stressed, they are less engaged and less productive. They also engage in counterproductive work behaviors that negatively affect the law firm’s culture and reputation. For example, a survey by the American Psychological Association found that 70% of law students reported symptoms of depression.
Engagement is a two-way street. It’s essential to make sure that your employees feel that their voice is heard and that you are open to feedback and suggestions on how to improve as a law firm. Educating your employees on what you expect from them is equally important. If you want to create an employee engagement culture in your law firm, you must ensure that you offer the right work environment that includes these four guidelines. When these rules are applied, employees will feel more engaged in their work and more productive.