You might be a skilled communicator in court – and just as good with clients – but how well do you communicate with your staff and co-workers?
It’s easy to take them for granted. They’re capable and well-trained. You assume they know what they should be doing, and you have neither the time nor inclination to micro-manage. And yet, if you don’t engage everyone on your team with clear and consistent communication, morale will drop and your clients’ experience will suffer.
A 2018 Future of Work survey found that almost 25 percent of employees are unhappy at work because of poor communication. Among their complaints: lack of transparency in decision-making, insufficient sharing of key information, and delays in responding to questions and concerns.
“If you feel like employees aren’t cooperating as well as they should, there could be a hidden problem brewing under the surface,” writes David Rodeck for American Express. “Employees are more motivated when they understand the underlying mission and purpose of your organization. It’s inspiring to work for a bigger cause.”
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4 Ways to Make Your Team Stronger
Want to create a championship team at your firm? In addition to working on your communication skills, here are four other tips, courtesy of Rodeck and American Express:
- Don’t work in silos. “While the nature of work means that employees will be divided by their roles, there still should be some communication between everyone. Otherwise, it’s the classic case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. Encourage people from the different departments to communicate regularly. Schedule employees from different groups to meet for a call or lunch to discuss what they’re working on. Consider also launching projects which combine members from different departments to bring in a new perspective. This cross-department collaboration could inspire your next breakthrough.”
- Deal with employee conflicts swiftly and fairly. “People disagree, have different work styles, get stressed during busy stretches, etc. But this starts to become a serious issue when employees are actively upset with other and have trouble maintaining a professional relationship. Their problems can spill over and create tension with the rest of your workforce. The key is to identify and solve the underlying cause of the argument, rather than just telling the employees to calm down and work together. This may be a good time to bring in someone from HR who doesn’t have an ongoing relationship with the employees, as they can review the situation from a neutral position.”
- Explain the big picture. “Consider surveying employees throughout the year to see if they can define the company mission statement. If they can’t, managers and other senior executives need to do a better job explaining it in order to improve collaboration.”
- Keep everyone engaged. A 2018 Gallup found that only about one in three employees are engaged with their jobs. “Improving engagement and workplace collaboration must start from the top. One way to increase engagement is by offering regular praise and rewards for employees who do a good job, especially if they did something to improve collaboration. You could also set up team bonding exercises outside of the office, where employees handle non-work challenges in a fun environment.”
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