We all know that there have been huge impacts on our business and personal lives due to Covid 19. With these two worlds colliding in ways they have never done before employees and employers are finding themselves seeking new ways of working to overcome these new challenges.
With most law firm staff working from home, it is more important than ever that employers are in tune with the pressures on their staff and are providing tools and tactics to help them to cope with the new challenges of working life.
Balancing work life, with home schooling and other personal obligations can be a challenge by themselves. When you add in the emotional pressures of the pandemic as well as financial impacts, many employees are feeling anxious and looking for support to navigate successfully through this period. Whilst, as employers, we can not expect to solve all our employees' problems, we can and should be seeking to understand them and to find solutions that could help.
With the ever-growing pressures of maintaining a profitable business during this unprecedented time, employers can struggle to find the time and resources required to support their teams. Remote working makes this even harder as time with employees needs to be planned and scheduled rather than taking the form of 'off the cuff' chats that may take place in an office environment.
It has, however, long been recognised that employee engagement and staff well being are closely related to business success, and so your firm's strategy to help your people through this period is an important consideration when seeking to maintain your bottom line. Get your people strategy right and benefits of this will not only be seen by those working for you but will have a positive impact on your business too.
There have been reports in the legal press over recent months of how firms have differed in their approach to supporting (or not) staff working from home. The majority of employers want to provide support but many don't have the resources or skills to put this into practise.
So, what can you do to help?
Firstly, it is important to know your people and show that you are receptive to feedback from them about their position as an employee. This can easily be achieved in the first instance with a short anonymous survey that could well identify some themes that you can address.
Secondly, you need to take the time to listen to their individual circumstances and probe to see if there are any ways that the firm can help to make their journey through this pandemic easier. A regular one-to-one chat is essential. This should be separate to any performance related meetings that you hold so that they can be free to discuss whatever is important to them.
Thirdly, be honest and be open to suggestions that they may put forward to help the business through this unsettled period.
Fourthly, recognise their efforts. This may be in the form of a simple thank you email or by awarding a prize. Any incentive schemes that you have running may need to be re-evaluated so that you can be sure that they are recognising the behaviours required in this new post-Covid world.
Finally, and most importantly, once you have received feedback, you must report back to show that you have acted on it. It may be that you are unable to resolve an issue that has been identified or run with an idea that they want implemented, but employees still need to know that you have listened to them and what the reasons are for your decision.
The effects of the pandemic are not going to disappear overnight. Many of the challenges that we have encountered over the last 12 months will have left their scars and, with that knowledge, we may well need to find new ways to work for a long time to come. Those firms that have included employee engagement and staff well being as part of their overall strategy will be rewarded with better staff retention, lower absence rates and better productivity long into the future.
If you are keen to engage with your employees about their well-being but feel that you don't have the time or resources to do it alone then we can help. For a fixed fee we will design and distribute a staff survey, engage in one-to-one discussions with each member of staff and produce a report highlighting themes and making recommendations. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or Click here now.