Category Archives: HR

DOWNLOAD: New Internet Newsletter for Lawyers

Blended LearningThe latest issue of the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers is now published here >>

In this issue

  • Developing People – Allan Carton of Inpractice UK explains how firms can introduce more effective training using e-learning tools and blended learning
  • Marketing – Susan Hallam of Hallam Internet tells us about the recent changes to Google AdWords results
  • Workplace – Chris Bryden and Michael Salter analyse the “snoopers’ charter” regarding employee communications
  • ODR – Graham Ross of Modria alerts us to the new ADR regulations being ignored by online retailers
  • Office applications – Alex Heshmaty of Legal Words explains how Google Apps for Work can benefit office productivity
  • Legal practice – Delia Venables considers the emergence of the new breed of “dispersed” law firms
  • Social media – Nick Holmes walks us through how Twitter works

Access the Newsletter online


Need CPD? – Details of the new Internet for Lawyers CPD 2016 competence courses are now online.

Business Performance Research: Assessing how treatment of employees at work impacts on business results.

Employee EngagementTo what extent and in which areas are the people undertaking that work being appropriately recognised, engaged and supported to ensure the success of new strategies, projects and initiatives?  What impact does – good and bad – treatment have on results?  Does it really matter? Can the returns be quantified to justify investment of £x or y hours in getting the balance right? Everything is a balance!

Complete this confidential 10-15 minute survey to find out how you, your legal practice and the rest of the legal sector fare on “Organisational Justice” that could impact on performance.  

The questionnaire highlights where lawyers can drive both high and low “Organisational Justice”, which is connected to many behaviours that affect the bottom line, e.g. retention, absenteeism, reduction in productivity, counter productive work behaviours etc.

The Objective of this Research:  Since the 2007 recession and the introduction of ABSs, law firms have been undertaking change.  Amanda Galley is exploring an emerging gap that could hinder their hard work.  Whilst law firms are working hard to change their structure, strategy and systems/processes (new IT systems, project management roles, pricing models etc), there is a fundamental element – the people undertaking the work – where lawyers may need to be pay more attention. The results of this research will help the legal profession to understand this potential gap.

Organisational Justice: is about our perceptions of whether we are treated fairly in the workplace and how those perceptions drive our actions.  The impact could be a positive or negative change in our behaviour; or it could even encourage us to leave or stay at our place of work.  A brief explanation of the three separate constructs within “Organisational Justice” is given within each section as you complete the questionnaire.

Confidentiality:  You will NOT be asked for names or firm names.  There are a few demographic questions at the end of the survey but just generic questions, nothing that can be traced back to anyone.

Who should complete the survey Please only complete this questionnaire if you work or have worked in the legal profession.  As well as employees, Partners and Owners are also encouraged to participate.  Partners and owners – you should still please answer from your own viewpoint, even though some sections are asking about ‘partners and owners’

For more information. email Amanda Galley at amandajanegalley@hotmail.co.uk

Unique online delivery system for ILM & CMI approved management training

Blended LearningeAlliance Education Centre

Our L&D business partner, eAlliance has just launched an innovative learning and education platform that enables law firms to deliver fully accredited ILM and CMI approved training  qualifications to staff using a partial or fully online service to support delivery of programmes that cover essential personal skills needed in any legal practice:

  • Team Leading (Level 2)
  • Leadership & Management (Levels 3 & 5)
  • Coaching & Management (Levels 3, 5 & 7)

Why is the Education Centre different to a normal Learning Management System (LMS)?

The Education Centre delivers a “qualification in a box”.  It has all the standard features you would expect from a modern LMS, but is uniquely configured to intuitively support the learner’s journey through a qualification programme. It contains online curriculum, learning resources and support materials that have been mapped to qualification units in key business subject areas from team leading to senior executive level.  It equips your trainers and L&D team to:

  • Plan and manage every aspect of a qualification delivery process
  • Give access to quality learning and resource materials, pre-mapped to each unit
  • Provide tutor support materials and tools
  • Host virtual classrooms, online tutorials and social media forums
  • Manage assessments, communication and reporting
  • Support blended or fully virtual delivery models

Supporting Tutors, Training Providers and Businesses

The Education Centre is fully customisable, enabling you to create your own qualification programmes from a range of key subject areas. With a virtual classroom, easy-to-manage assessments and simple communication and reporting features, this system has everything you need to deliver professionally recognised development programmes that will make a real impact on both your people and organisational performance.

Which qualifications do Education Centre Support?

Team Leading:

Leadership & Management

Coaching & Management

To contact eAlliance to request more information or to book a demo – go here.

Busy HR teams are recruiting. Next step – Induction. How do you make sure that you get them on board, keep and develop them?

Every law firm I have talked to over the last 6 months has been looking to recruit more people, so there is a challenge to make sure that new people are inducted effectively when they arrive; but not JUST when they arrive!  Induction and ongoing development has been a big challenge for law firms as long as I can remember.  It has improved but could generally be a lot better.

How do people (HR, the new recruits, the experienced people in your practice) find time; how do they make sure the right things happens and that every recruit gets consistently effective input from all the right places?

It takes time for people to settle in and there is a lot to learn that can’t and shouldn’t all be crammed in only during Week 1.  There should be a structured induction programme that spans week 1, the first quarter, the first 6 months … the first year.

How do you make sure this happens in a busy legal office?

One solution comes from our learning and development (L&D) partners, e-Alliance as an integral part of a pro-active blended approach to learning and development.  Their L&D software platform allows you – for each legal and support role across your practice – to manage your induction processes using our Learning Management System enabling you to:

  1. Identify all the components of induction that is needed
  2. Set a timetable for each to  be completed
  3. Make training available from their existing library of content to your people online.
  4. Incorporate your own material in the programme and timetable
  5. Track and report visually to the new employee, their manager and HR on progress
  6. Plan next steps in their development to achieve the appropriate competences they need
  7. For solicitors; map out development in line with SRA competency requirements to ensure compliance.

Discover how eAlliance can help you improve the efficiency and simplify the delivery and management of every of your staff induction process.  Their Staff Induction Programme has been designed to simplify and join up all aspects of your induction process through a series of easily navigated, online modules which can be accessed from a PC, Laptop or any mobile device.

To find out more call John Baxter on 01787 370735 or email e-Alliance at
info@ea-learningtech.com

Engagement on the agenda, but what more help do lawyers need to enable them to drive it … every day

Hearts & Minds BriefingGreat to see a focus on engagement of employees in the current LSN “Hearts & Minds” Briefing that you can download at http://ht.ly/TFUgH

I can’t help feeling though that there’s a lot of focus throughout here on gathering and analysing data, which does of course have significant value,  However, what about equipping the lawyers that manage strategy, teams and projects with the clarity of purpose, skills and tools they need to engage, communicate with and support their people on the job day-in, day-out?

That’s where I see the biggest wins are yet to be made. What do you think?

INNOVATE like Pinsent Masons. ENGAGE and DEVELOP your people to PRODUCE RESULTS.

business organizationInnovation and new value-added service propositions seem to be the order of the day but where do you start or re-launch new initiatives to generate the best possible returns?

Having been named Innovative Law Firm of the Year 2015, Pinsent Masons launched a microsite showcasing some of the stories and products that won them the award – see the links to their site and some solutions that can help you get there at the end of this article.  All well worth checking out.

What Pinsent Masons are doing is  certainly “innovative” for the legal sector, so full marks for doing it and for spreading the word to challenge others.   Some lawyers in other firms will rightly be frustrated that they are not “doing something” to match this, as clients will increasingly choose the law firms that tangibly offer more value.  Others will of course be dismissive.

Before you stir things up too much at your practice because you want immediate action  on some of this, make sure you start by getting the groundwork right.  To produce successful results, you need to get – and keep – people on board because this can’t happen overnight. Pinsent Masons have been at this for a long time already.

Ask yourself and your senior management team:

  1. Do we know what our clients want that will add value to your services?  Have we asked? Have we started again from a clean sheet in exploring options?  How can we make it more tangible?
  2. Are we equipped to engage our people effectively in developing and delivering something new and maybe quite different from what they do now?  Are people being coached constantly as we go along to develop and harness their thinking?
  3. How does the way we work together need to change to prioritise and manage these new projects and services effectively?  How do we make that happen?

Key challenges to tackle at the outset then are to engage people to deliver in line with the strategy, develop their skills to match and support them in constantly improving performance and developing those propositions.  These are critical stumbling blocks for too many law firms that start with good intentions on innovation.

We have a number of innovative solutions that can help you bring your people on the journey with you, equipping them to make the transition needed for them to be comfortable and capable of dealing with some clients and delivering some legal services differently.

We can help, working with our business partners on:

  • Independent client listening to develop new service propositions
  • Engaging people, supporting collaboration, project and “real time” performance management – adopting Simitive to structure your approach – focused on outcomes, sharing accountability, making more productive use of time.
  • Learning and developing essential new skills for all employees, ensuring that it is effective, affordable and flexible enough to enable you to let you invest in them.

The Pinsent Masons “Bringing Innovation to Life” website is here >>

To find out more about how we at Inpractice UK can help you to develop, implement and deliver innovative services that add tangible value for your clients, contact Allan Carton on 0161 929 8355 or at solutions@inpractice.co.uk

Great plans, but people need to be “engaged” in the business to make them happen?

Businessman holding up an OK signNow, as law firms are trying to change their business radically to meet new and changing demands, there is a critical need to deliver on new business strategies and initiatives. “Employee Engagement” is where most potential lies to improve the short term performance and long term sustainability in most law firms.

The Challenge … and the Opportunity

Top management can have all the best business development plans, new service propositions, process maps, key account management or new technology in the world, but if employees don’t understand and value the part they play, efforts to implement them WILL fail.  They won’t produce the results hoped for; probably missing the mark by a very long way.

We’ve seen it happen many times before, where initiatives lose momentum, detractors snipe at the advocates and everyone gets stressed out.  The job may get done … eventually, but it has been much more painful than it should have been, people get worn down and the results are nowhere close to what was achievable.

Your people should be your most valuable asset.  In many firms they are not.

People work more effectively if they understand their role in the business they work in and are supported effectively on projects allocated to them.  Effective communication, mutual respect, collaboration and understanding what is expected of each other amongst colleagues contribute significantly to motivation.

Lawyers have never been good at finding time to engage the people around them; nor to develop the skills needed to do that effectively.  Maybe that didn’t matter so much in the past.  I have interviewed a lot of capable and dedicated, but seriously disenfranchised people on projects over the years – not just management and support, but lawyers too.

In the past, this failing has just made a lot of law firms more stressful – but maybe also less challenging – places to work, which was a shame, but not fatal to the business.

Going forwards it will be an obstacle to survival as others establish a new momentum, actively supported by the people working for them.  Law firms stuck in old ways, unable to get people to do things differently will suffer.

Research has shown that “engagement” pays off.

  1. About 37% of an employee’s time in the office is wasted just because they do things that don’t make any difference; and that applies to both lawyers and support staff.  That is about 14 hours per week that could be used much more productively.
  2. You can radically reduce this wasted time by as much as 17% to release about 7.5 hours per week to more relevant work by creating better focus on better aligned organisational goals.  That might be earning fees, developing business, mentoring their team, training others …
  3. Clarity of Success Criteria also reduces stress and promotes focused contribution to the business aligned to corporate and individual development.
  4. Consistent, regular monitoring results in early identification of potential issues in either individual or organisational performance, creating the opportunity for pro-active intervention.

Why does that really matter?

If you move your practice to one where employees are “engaged” you would expect to:

  • Improve the profitability of the business
  • Maximise the engagement and utilisation of all resources.
  • Generate effective collaboration between people, teams and departments
  • Reduce stress and anxiety that derives from uncertainty
  • Develop innovative improvements in internal operations and added value services
  • Visibility of roles and tasks so each person knows what is expected of them and others
  • Deliver projects on time and within budget
  • Improve clarity, ownership and reporting of Organisational Goals.
  • Facilitate Organisational and Cultural change to meet business challenges.
  • Improve the engagement of staff in their own and organisational goals.
  • Improve visibility of skill and resource shortfalls.
  • Facilitate succession planning.
  • Simplify compliance and associated reporting.
  • Provide a platform management of programs and projects.
  • Deliver Staff training and development including compulsory training (e.g. health and safety, diversity, fire, environment) with compliance validation

What does “Engagement” look like?

You will get the message from this thought provoking X-Model of “Engagement” video.

How to build effective engagement into the fabric of your law firm?

Making it happen is the subject of the next post on the topic of “Employee Engagement”. Please come back soon; or register on the site and we will let you know when the next update has arrived.

To find out more in the meantime about how we at Inpractice UK can help you develop and implement an effective approach to engaging your people to improve the performance of your practice, contact Allan Carton on 0161 929 8355 or at solutions@inpractice.co.uk.