Keeping your staff and associates happy doesn’t necessarily mean expensive lunches and year-end gifts. Implement one or all of these cost-free tips and benefit from higher employee retention and morale.
1. Greet Your Employees By Name and Know Their Families.
Knowing the names of your employees and their family members is important. Paralegal and single mother Claudia was recently sent out of State on trial. She said it made all the difference when the lead attorney on the case inquired after her son and whether or not she was able to make arrangements for him for her absence. After Christmas, in a separate incident, one of the firm Partners brought holiday candy by her office. “Here—thought Benny might enjoy this.” Small gestures go a long way in making employees feel appreciated, and in turn, appreciate their employer.
2. Give Your Staff A Day Off In Their Birthday Month.
Although technically paid vacation days cost the firm, the return on this investment is priceless. Allowing one day off to staff during their birthday month is a great way of showing your appreciation for their hard work. “It made such a difference to know in April, I could use this day for appointments and errands, or just to take a long weekend for myself,” said Judie, an executive assistant at a large New York-based firm. Guaranteed to be valued higher than flowers on Secretary’s Day.
3. Practice An Open Door Policy.
Meeting billable hour requirements is hard enough without distracting hallway noise or small talk. Yet, it is just those things that will make you popular and successful as a senior manager. Overhearing your assistant’s phone call with her son is exactly how you know he’s sick and how you can endear yourself to her by inquiring after his health. Practicing an open-door policy and encouraging first-year attorneys to approach Partners or Senior Associates fosters the mentorship process—crucial not only to their professional development but also in generating revenue by greater team cohesiveness and advocacy. Assigning a mentor is free, so if your firm doesn’t have such a program, start one!
4. Offer FLEX Time to Staff.
FLEX time has been statistically attributed to greater productivity on the part of employees. FLEX time is executed in a variety of ways—nine hour work days, with a day off every other week (rotating days off for staff); shifts from 8am to 5pm; shifts from 10am to 7pm, to name a few schedule ideas. Offer FLEX time to Assistants and Paralegals so that they can escape Friday afternoon traffic—which they likely try to avoid anyway by sneaking out early or cutting their workday short. Guarantee your paralegal will go the extra mile to edit your brief Thursday evening so that they may fully enjoy their Thursday night out.
5. Ask Local Shops To Give Your Employees Store Discounts.
Nearby coffee shops and apparel stores frequently offer discounts to neighborhood offices and their employees. Ask around. Offer to send store discount coupons and advertisements via the firm’s internal email (but not spam)—digital marketing means win-win.