By Ally Kennedy, Founder of Amiga
All of us have been an employee. Most of us have felt undervalued, underpaid, and unimportant to our supervisors at some point in our careers. Whether you are an associate with a legal assistant or a partner leading a law firm, you are working closely with at least one employee who is a subordinate. If you empower your employees to be a real part of the team, you will experience better results from your employees, more dedication to the job, and as a team you will be able to constantly grow and improve.
1. Ask for Their Opinions
How many times have you worked in an office where you had an idea of how something could be improved but weren't heard?
The truth is that your employees probably have ideas that could streamline your firm, increase satisfaction, and make the firm more money.
Schedule a meeting once a quarter to check in firm-wide. Ask each member of the firm: What is working well? What could be improved? What ideas does s/he have to bring in new clients, handle client communication, and prepare cases? Think outside the box and encourage others to do the same.
2. Give Bonuses
Bonuses are not just a reward for achieving a goal. Bonuses are a way of thanking someone for a job well done and showing appreciation.
I give bonuses regularly and on almost every paycheck. I have given bonuses for the following situations in the last 3 months:
- Exemplary performance on a task
- Staying late to help me complete a filing
- Creating a time saving process
- Providing excellent customer service
- Handling a difficult communication situation
- Preparing and filing a list of cases by a certain date
These tasks may be seen as “just doing the job,” but it requires a large amount of dedication and loyalty to work on a weekend, take a late night phone call, or bring forth a transformational idea. That deserves recognition in a meaningful way. A gift is a nice gesture, but $50 in your hand has much more possibility.
The purpose isn't to set an expectation of a bonus, rather it is to create a culture where people feel valued, ideas flow freely, and everyone seeks to get better and go further.
3. Express Thanks and Appreciation
We all want to feel appreciated for what we do, even if we are only doing what we “should” be doing. Just think of your home life- if you work hard to clean the kitchen, doesn't it feel good when your partner comes home and says, “the kitchen looks great, thank you for doing that!” It is the same at the office.
Yes, it's your assistant’s job to prepare a packet for filing. And he puts a lot of effort into that preparation, checking, double checking, and making it perfect. Each filing is important and stressful because of its importance. A heartfelt, “thanks for your hard work on that packet,” makes your assistant feel valued and appreciated and that his work is important to you and the firm.
What are ways that you empower your employees?
About your Ally in Life, Business and Law:
Alexandra "Ally" Kennedy is a national award-winning attorney and the founder of AMIGA Lawyers and Alexandra Kennedy Immigration Law.. After becoming a mother, and in a matter of 3 months, Ally transformed her practice from earning in pesos to earning 6-figures and she is passionate about teaching attorneys how they can do the same. Ally empowers lawyers to be the CEOs of their law firms with her weekly blog, webinars, and conferences where she teaches step-by-step how to do the work they love while running a profitable legal business. Ally lives outside of Seattle with her partner and their 5 children.