Law partners are leaving firms in droves, and turnover costs for the top 400 U.S. law firms total an annual $9.1 billion. Ask your current partners and associates: The increasing rate of turnover is a nightmare. During the interim period between an exit and a new hire, remaining lawyers attempt absorb massive additional workloads.
And the eventual hire isn’t an immediate resolution: The training process is often crushingly time-consuming. The resulting derailed productivity is frustrating for both lawyers and clients. The departure of one partner tends to create a long-term ripple effect in the office.
When an employee feels neglected, mistreated or overworked — which is exactly how many lawyers feel when they’re drowning in case files left behind by an ex-coworker — they are more likely to waste time with unproductive activities.
That combination of bitterness and apathy across all industries costs the U.S. a combined $500 billion every year, according to the FBI. From newly-christened partners to longtime legal veterans, firms must learn how to hold onto their best and brightest. Here’s how law firms can battle turnover and beat burnout inside the office.
Apathy and low morale are not an inevitable component of any law office. That might come as a surprise to partners who’ve spent 30 years in a draining environment, but the truth is, it doesn’t have to be that way. One solution is surprisingly simple: Engage employees and revitalize the office with fresh content.
Communication has to start from the inside. That’s why firms are turning to digital signage to power their internal communication efforts. In fact, more than half of the corporate world has deployed digital signage to open the communication pathways in their work spaces.
Connected employees are well worth the effort. The McKinsey Global Institute found that when employees feel mentally stimulated and engaged, productivity improves by 20-25% in organizations, and the potential for revenue comes to a staggering $1.3 trillion per year.
Law partners are never really off the clock. Every email gets a reply, every phone call gets answered. But despite this 24/7 work process, many lawyers feel emotionally disconnected from what they’re doing. That’s not a specific issue to the legal field: Only 13% of employees worldwide feel genuinely engaged at work.
Remember the classic business card scene from American Psycho? Each man is essentially a clone of the next, creating an unstated spirit of hostility and resentment. That’s not exactly a recipe for sweeping job satisfaction. The company culture awakening demands diversity, and that’s a great thing.
Gone is the mentality that abiding by a rigid code of behavior is more important than having an identity. A workforce mosaic of different personalities and experience levels will help each employee feel like their career is a true part of their identity.
A few decades back, people spent their entire lives in thankless jobs because they felt like there was no other option. Feeling “fulfilled” was a luxury enjoyed by few working class people. Fulfillment was for the weekend. That’s no longer the case: Employees don’t want to spend the bulk of their lives slaving away just for a paycheck. All jobs have purpose, and many lawyers, in particular, struggle to find that sense of larger meaning.
In one of our recent Business Impact Workshops, a VP at Angiodynamics shared they use digital signage to show employees how the medical devices they produce are used to save real lives. This promotes a sense of greater purpose and a feeling of personal accomplishment. (If you don’t have time to watch the episode, you can read about the impact this communication has had on employees, here.)
Lawyers’ work often leads to major positive differences in society. Facilitating a merger between two insurance companies may sound inconsequential. But it can create, for example, dozens of new jobs and better healthcare for thousands of people. That’s worth acknowledging and celebrating.
Law firms have a reputation for being insular: People are in their own offices doing their own thing. As a result, many employees have no idea what their colleagues are working on. No one benefits when overall goal progress is hidden under lock and key. Let your staff visually see their wins, every step of the way. This can also become a method of mentorship. More senior partners can offer a shout-out to an associate, fostering a sense of inter-level support.
After on-boarding, new hires are rarely trained again. Once they get a grip on their basic responsibilities, they can become complacent, which can accelerate super premature burnout. In other words, don’t let them get bored. There are many ways to help them continue developing and expanding their skills without yet promoting them to new positions or changing up the company’s hierarchy.
Digital campaigns can provide detailed tutorials for training staff about a new product or how to improve service. Broadcasting videos on internal signage keeps employees engaged while helping them develop a deeper relationship with the brand. 72% of internal communication teams are planning to increase the use of video when communicating with employees.
Those in the field of law are already well-acquainted with bland content: They read page after page of it every single day. Stale digital content just adds to the repetition. Our assessment: If it’s new, it will resonate. Thankfully, with our platform, creating new content isn’t a time-suck. Weather reports, sports scores, breaking news, and other public information can automatically push straight to the screens.
When those messages are broadcast through the office, employees won’t be tempted to check their phones (which can quickly become a rabbit hole of un-productivity). And, when news content is intermixed with company information, staff are more likely to actually read and register HR’s campaign about benefit changes. Firms can also embrace social media through digital signage, bringing dated offices into the modern age. That’s especially crucial when you’re working with millennial clients, many of whom live and breathe innovation in tech.
It's no stretch of the imagination to understand that law firms lack the manpower to engage employees on the level they deserve. Instead of hiring someone to tackle the job, let the employee engagement software run the messaging at your law firm. Are you ready to end turnover at your law firm? Implement the program proven to save firms $13,178 per attorney per year. Start now!