A law firm, like any other office, needs to be working towards a common goal. This goal is defined by management and ultimately carried out by each employee at the company.
Defining the goal is important, but rallying your troops to accomplish this goal can prove more elusive. Here are some important considerations and actions you can take to get the most out of your employees.
Where Do We Want to Go?
Each firm will likely have different objectives dependent on what their key metrics are for overall success.
A firm that focuses on mergers and acquisitions will want to increase billable hours. A Social Security disability law firm will want to increase the number of cases it takes each month.
How Do We Get There?
Continuing with Social Security firms – what can be done to increase the number of cases you’re opening and the number of initial applications you’re filing each month?
Client retention starts with your intake staff. Any lead that comes to your office will probably first speak with a staff member.
Some legal softwares allow you to track the number of cases each intake person signs over a given time period. Developing an “average signed rate” for your intake staff will show you what is to be expected.
Incentivizing Your Employees
Once you have the average, you can start raising the bar.
A number of factors such as the client’s disability, your firm’s criteria for taking a case, and expected labor hours to successfully handle the case all influence whether or not your firm will retain a client. Most of these factors are outside of your control.
However, you can influence the ability of your intake staff to retain a desired case. Phone demeanor, knowledge of the industry, and highlighting your firm’s credentials will all help increase the likelihood of a claimant signing your 1696.
An intake specialist who is rewarded for hitting or exceeding a set goal will outwork an intake specialist who is paid the same, regardless of their performance.
Steven Taylor’s blog on the American Bar Association’s website quotes Teunis Wyers formerly of Wyers, Haskell, Davies as saying, “If we all have a stake in what each other makes, then everyone’s quality of life and income is enhanced.”
Wyers makes a valid point. So how do you give each member of your team a stake?
Salary increases show your staff members that you value their contributions. If someone is adding to your bottom line, you should reward them with a consistent increase in pay.
What happens if an employee becomes complacent in their role and no longer produces at a level that justifies their salary?
Bonuses can be offered for reasons ranging from length of time at the company, profitable work during the year, or positively impacting company culture.
The biggest advantage of bonuses is that they can adjust to changing circumstances within the company or with an employee. If the company is having a down year, you can reduce bonuses accordingly. If the employee isn’t meeting or exceeding baseline goals, the bonus amount can reflect the year’s work.
Bonuses offer the most clear-cut incentive to continue to perform at a high level and offer less of a commitment from the company to continue paying a higher salary. Bonuses are usually a “win-win” for both parties.
If you consistently reward intake staff that sign more cases each month, you’ll notice that other employees aspire to rise to that same level of success. Moreover, you’ll ensure that those most deserving of extra financial compensation receive it.
Rewarding success that adds to the profitability of your firm will be money well invested.