Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

6 Tips for a Happier and Stronger Law Office Team

Happy employees not only do better work, but they are more likely to stick with your law firm for the long term.

Unhappy employees, on the other hand, are always looking for greener pastures.

That’s one takeaway from the 2018 Aflac Small Business Happiness Report.

Another key finding: small workplaces are generally happier than large ones. More than 90 percent of workers at small businesses say they are satisfied with their employment experience, and 87 percent say they wouldn’t swap their cozy office for a larger gig.

Read the 2018 Aflac Small Business Happiness Report here.

Empowered Workers are Happy Workers

Hiring and training top talent requires a large investment of time, money and resources. Smart law firms want to maximize their ROI by minimizing attrition.

They also understand that happy employees feel more invested in their jobs, which leads to higher-quality work.

One way to make everyone happier – from the mail clerk to the newest partner – is to empower them by giving them some control over how and when they do their jobs.

“The purpose of humanity is not just to sit behind a counter and sell things,” says Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates in this CNBC interview. “More free time is not a terrible thing.”

Four in five employees prefer benefits like flexible schedules or a work-from-home option to a pay raise, according to the Aflac report.

“Most people, if I ask them would you like an extra week of vacation, 100 percent would raise their hands,” says Google CEO Larry Page in ComputerWorld. “Two weeks or a four-day work-week? They'd raise their hands. Most people like working but they also want more time with their families or their interests.”

6 Ways to Boost Office Happiness

  1. Offer generous benefits. This is a way for smaller firms to compete with larger firms that offer bigger salaries.
  1. Provide health insurance. More than half of all employees say health insurance is the most important benefit influencing job satisfaction, according to this survey. “By offering health insurance, employers demonstrate that they care about the well-being of their employees,” writes Aflac VP Brenda Mullins for Entrepreneur. “While the rising cost of major medical insurance continues to be a challenge for all businesses, employers can help their work forces manage costs by offering a health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA), health advocacy services and other voluntary benefits like hospital and critical illness insurance.”
  1. Give employees a long weekend. Time off can be given in recognition for exemplary performance or as a wind-down perk after a grueling project has ended.
  1. Show them they are valued. Small law firms can create a culture where everyone feels they belong. “Businesses that create a family-like feel in the office and recognize the work of their employees will benefit from a happier and more loyal workforce,” says Mullins. “Gallup found that employees who feel adequately recognized are half as likely as those who do not to say they will quit in the next year.”
  1. Provide meaningful mentoring. Less than five percent of small businesses provide formal mentorship programs for their employees. The other 95 percent are missing a golden opportunity. “Mentors and business leaders should make an effort to understand employees’ career goals and what they want to accomplish in their current role and at the company,” says Mullins. “This information can be used to create individual road maps for each employee's career and, ultimately, help them see a long-term future with your company.”
  1. Invest in wellness. This will create a positive, healthy work environment – which is something for everyone to be happy about.



About the Author

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World, a collection of short stories from a law life well-lived, which as the seasons pass becomes less about law and liability and more about loss, love, longing, laughter and life's lasting luminescence.

Read More by Jay >

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