Transparency about the company’s operations, decision-making processes, and goals can make employees feel more invested in the company’s success. ~ Tiffany Hafler, Marketing Coordinator, Blockchain Lawyer
To help virtual law firms maintain high levels of employee engagement, we reached out to legal professionals and business leaders for their top suggestions. From encouraging communication among employees to forming smaller teams or pairs, here are 12 ideas shared by CEOs, attorneys, and other experts to boost employee engagement in virtual law firms.
- Encourage Communication Among Employees
- Implement Virtual Team-Building Activities
- Create Opportunities for Virtual Socialization
- Develop Mentorship in Virtual Law Firms
- Foster Social Connection and Collaboration
- Promote Flexibility and Agility
- Incorporate Virtual Reality Technology
- Embrace Team Platforms and Tools
- Build Trust and Transparency
- Appreciate and Praise Employees
- Utilize Public Recognition
- Form Smaller Teams or Pairs
Encourage Communication Among Employees
Law is one of those industries that will never be cut and dry, black and white. Each new client brings a new set of circumstances that can sometimes be unprecedented and unpredictable.
In a virtual law firm, it’s important that your employees talk to each other, sharing anecdotes and advice on things that they’ve learned recently. Encouraging communication, even virtually, in your law office will help your employees to broaden their perspectives.
Implement Virtual Team-Building Activities
Virtual environments can lead to disengagement, so creating a supportive and collaborative culture is crucial. An idea to help with this is to implement virtual team-building activities to promote employee interaction, collaboration, and a sense of belonging.
Some ideas can include virtual happy hours or coffee breaks, online games, virtual workshops or webinars, virtual team challenges or projects, virtual recognition and celebration, and mentoring or buddy programs.
It’s key to adapt these activities to the virtual setting, utilizing video conferencing tools, collaboration platforms, and other virtual communication tools to facilitate engagement and interaction. By utilizing these virtual team-building activities, law firms can create a sense of community, improve employee engagement, and enhance collaboration among remote team members.
Create Opportunities for Virtual Socialization
As a trial lawyer at Schmidt and Clark, I have seen firsthand the challenges that virtual law firms face when it comes to employee engagement. However, I believe that there is one idea that can help boost employee engagement in virtual law firms: creating opportunities for virtual socialization.
Working from home can be isolating and lonely, which can lead to decreased engagement and productivity. To combat this, virtual law firms should create opportunities for employees to socialize virtually. This could include virtual coffee breaks, happy hours, or even game nights.
By creating these opportunities, virtual law firms can foster a sense of community and connectedness among employees. This can help to boost morale and engagement, which can ultimately lead to higher productivity and better work outcomes. Virtual socialization can help to build stronger relationships between colleagues, which can lead to better collaboration and teamwork.
Develop Mentorship in Virtual Law Firms
Mentorship is one of the most valuable elements at a law firm, and virtual law firms can leverage quite a few engagement advantages by developing a work structure that revolves around mentorship.
A mentor-mentee relationship is highly active and mutually beneficial, and every employee or manager who is part of such a connection finds engagement easy and natural. The sense of responsibility that develops in managers for their mentees enables them to stay involved with everything that’s happening.
On the other hand, mentees understand the valuable inputs their mentors are sharing with them, and this increases their commitment too. In addition to the engagement factor, such a work environment also adds efficiency and a general aura of positivity and togetherness to the workplace.
Foster Social Connection and Collaboration
Virtual law firms should create opportunities for social connection and collaboration among team members.
Plan regular team-building activities that are designed specifically for a virtual environment, such as online trivia games or group brainstorming sessions. These activities can help team members get to know each other better, build trust, and improve communication.
Set up virtual coffee chats or one-on-one check-ins between team members. These informal conversations can help employees build relationships and get to know each other on a personal level.
Use collaborative work tools such as online whiteboards or project management software that allow team members to work together in real time. This can foster a sense of shared ownership and accountability, and help employees feel more engaged with their work and the team.
By creating these opportunities, virtual law firms can help employees feel more connected, which can lead to increased engagement and productivity.
Promote Flexibility and Agility
In my opinion, one of the most important things that virtual law firms can do to increase employee engagement is to foster an environment that emphasizes flexibility and agility.
Allow employees to work on their own schedules and provide them with the tools and resources they need to work effectively from home. To prevent burnout, encourage employees to take breaks and manage their workloads.
Incorporate Virtual Reality Technology
Incorporating virtual reality (VR) technology into the workplace is a great way to boost employee engagement. Virtual reality can provide employees with a more immersive and interactive experience, allowing them to feel more connected to their work and their colleagues.
For example, virtual reality can be used for virtual tours of the office or for team-building exercises such as virtual scavenger hunts. It can also be used for virtual simulations of courtroom experiences or other legal proceedings, providing employees with valuable training opportunities.
Incorporating VR technology into the workplace can also demonstrate to employees that the firm is innovative and invested in staying at the forefront of technology, which can help boost overall employee morale and engagement.
Embrace Team Platforms and Tools
In my opinion, virtual law firms can only succeed when their members are able to effectively communicate and work together. Provide tools and platforms that allow employees to successfully communicate and collaborate.
Use instant messaging technologies like Slack or Teams, for example, to allow quick and effective communication. Hold virtual meetings, collaborate on projects, and provide feedback using video conferencing tools such as Zoom or Google Meet.
Build Trust and Transparency
In my opinion, the cultivation of trust and transparency is one of the most important factors in determining the level of employee involvement in virtual legal firms.
Transparency about the company’s operations, decision-making processes, and goals can make employees feel more invested in the company’s success.
Trust and transparency can be built through regular contact and feedback. Encourage open and honest communication among employees and with management.
Appreciate and Praise Employees
Giving praise for accomplishments in all shapes, ways, and forms is key to boosting employee engagement. Everyone likes feeling appreciated, and in digital communication especially, over-communicating appreciation is a best practice. Tiny shoutouts on Slack, weekly office-wide kudos emails, and so forth get everyone involved at every level and feeling appreciated and ready to engage.
Utilize Public Recognition
Employees tend to be motivated by public recognition, as it gives them a powerful feeling of validation. For example, when managers praise certain employees for their accomplishments in front of the entire team during team meetings on Zoom, they feel both talented and very much admired. This drives these employees to maintain their status as high performers, motivating them to keep working hard.
Form Smaller Teams or Pairs
Creating smaller teams and even pairing employees up can help improve engagement and create a more connected virtual workplace. For law firms, it might make sense to create these groups of people to help each other feel engaged and prompt them to be involved.
Oftentimes, virtual employees are on their own and it’s difficult for them to be as engaged as they should be because there are too many moving pieces. Instead, find ways to connect with specific people in order to help them find ways to engage themselves. Smaller groups and even pairs can do exactly that, which will improve the virtual workplace overall.