Working at a law firm comes with countless hours of work, constant stress, and getting used to performing tasks under great pressure. If the firm is not dedicated to addressing the mental and emotional health of its employees, it will then have to face much more complex challenges further down the road.
Undoubtedly, it is the law firm’s duty to work thoroughly on this process. Happy employees translate into a more relaxed environment to work, greater productivity, and better results in the end. Employees are the engine of a company, one that must always be in the best condition.
One of the most recent reports from the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being notes that the mental health of legal professionals is in decline, with profound implications such as anxiety, depression, and addictions.
It highlights the need for necessary interventions from the employer to improve mental health interventions.
Therefore, today we will delve into 10 ways in which it is possible to enhance and support happiness in every employee of a law firm. If it’s good for the employee, it will be good for customers and for the business. A healthy mental state always resonates with a strong workforce.
Steps For Improving Law Firm Employee Happiness
1. A solid employee assistance programme
It’s a professional accompaniment program to support an employee with any conflict or situation that hinders their performance in the firm.
The conflict can be of a work or personal nature, no matter the origin, but if the process negatively affects their performance and overall health, it’s necessary to give them the right and professional support.
There are many forms to develop this type of intervention. In this guide, you’ll find how to successfully launch these types of programs and their daily implications. The positive repercussions they have on workers and how they enhance happiness from emotional solidity are well known.
2. Work on communicating assertively
A law firm that doesn’t promote a culture of assertive communication puts its employees at risk of feeling unreserved. All this can become a negative vicious circle for everyone.
It’s necessary to promote a culture of complete openness. That is, lawyers and other team leaders must always be available for any problem that arises. Assertiveness carries with it a key ingredient: respect. Active listening is the best example of this.
In addition, it’s very helpful for the worker to find a positive answer. Not necessarily a resolution, because it may not be that easy to solve, but you need to be proactive in order for them to feel supported. Good communication is the basis of teamwork.
3. Be a mental health role model
The most sustainable way to improve happiness in an employee is to become a mirror of that process. It is important for senior bosses and attorneys to show firsthand the importance of mental health in the workplace. A subordinate always reflects the conduct of his superiors.
This ranges from open communication to healthy management of working hours. Do not stay out for hours, take care of breaks, openly discuss any problems that exist, and promote spaces of true disconnection. Walking the talk and talking the walk, will make all the difference.
4. Trust in remote working
If there’s one thing the 2020 pandemic taught us, it’s that work can maintain the same quality – if not better – by doing it from home. It helped employees better manage their personal life balance, have greater flexibility in compliance times, and feel at ease overall.
While many law firms resumed office attendance in the recent year, don’t be afraid to maintain the same flexibility from here on. A business that takes care of the happiness of its employees will receive sustained productivity in return, always. Remote work is here to stay.
5. Invest in training
A well-trained employee will perform better and have more self-confidence on a daily basis. Talent must be constantly reinforced and even more so in a law firm.
Being a lawyer is no longer just about knowing the law, but it involves good team management, interpersonal skills, negotiating, and attracting new clients.
We live in dynamic times and you’d want to have employees ready for the new challenges that the firm can take on. If you train your team well, you will be fully supported by letting them know their work is worthy enough to invest in it. It’s a way to help them help you.
6. Get a good coaching service
Whether you have the possibility of a training department within the company or hiring an external service, it is of great help to have professionals to help you in containment processes for your team.
A worker will feel more comfortable talking about pain points with someone who can represent neutrality and is also well trained in dealing with these issues.
These types of conversations can be difficult to have with immediate bosses and can get in the way of work. Although it is necessary to encourage respect for internal communication channels, a professional who knows how to improve human processes always adds value.
It is also about giving the employee the chance to talk to the most suitable person within the law firm.
7. Beware of mobbing
Mobbing within the workplace is a toxic practice for the firm’s growth. It is essential to be able to eradicate any behavior that violates respect and is based on power abuse. Having happy employees is not only about reinforcing the positive, but being able to eradicate everything that damages their integrity.
It is very important to have zero-tolerance policies against bullying, harassment, verbal and physical aggression, and other negative behaviors. No worker will tolerate working in a place that does not take forceful action.
What makes a good law firm, among other things, is the unconditional support for its workers.
We already talked about creating a coaching or training department but, if you do not have it nor an external resource, reinforce HR enough to take care of the treatment of employees. It is also important to create safe expression spaces so that these incidents can be reported in time and plan an accurate intervention.
8. Constantly check-in on everyone
We have mentioned several times about safe channels of communication, but although there can be in the shape of formal instances, it’s important not to wait for meetings to ensure that your employees are well. Approaching someone and doing a small talk is sometimes what it takes to build trust. Follow-up is always key.
For many leaders or lawyers, this is not common, so it can be helpful to mark reminders and thus make it a habit. Checking in will constantly put you at the center of what happens so you can take the proper action.
9. Create an incentive system
No, a salary is not enough incentive, no matter how many figures per year. A reward system is necessary to keep motivation high every day. In addition, it is an opportunity to create a link between good performance and compliance.
Nothing improves an employee’s happiness more than the feeling that they can go as far as they want.
You can start by setting compliance goals and a system that scales in rewards. Do not forget to include aspects inherent to management but equally important: assistance, good behavior, and teamwork. You’ll be working on multiple factors, from self-confidence to results orientation.
A happy employee, who has been working on his motivation and results in orientation, will contribute more to a place he feels part of. Fostering organizational culture is imperative today.
There is a great link between feeling part of strong firm culture and being happy taking on a case with passion. A workplace that’s not inclusive can be greatly demotivating.
Try to organize events periodically so your employees can connect to each other, much better in a more relaxed context. Make them part of your goals, projections, and plans. Listen to proposals.
Internalizing the right steps
Whether your employee is happy or motivated depends largely on your form of leadership. After reviewing all the steps, these are the most important features:
- Have a good advisory program
- Assertive communication is the bridge to understanding what, how and when.
- Put mental health first and yourself as its main advocate.
- Allow the universe of possibilities that comes with remote work.
- Don’t be afraid to invest in training. Adding value to your team is key.
- Count on the support of other professionals so that you make the appropriate improvements.
- Remove the word ‘Mobbing’ from your employees’ behavioral vocabulary.
- Talk to your employees. Always.
- Reward, recognize, and encourage your team. A happy employee is an investment.
- Raise firm culture as a flag.
Be open. Always.