Within the past month I’ve spoken with several attorneys who said they’ve given up on hiring.
Every time they hire somebody, it doesn’t work out. Some think they must be a terrible boss, others think the employees are idiots.
Both are wrong.
The success of employees depends on three things – expectations, process and environment.
Think about what happens when most firms hire an employee. They sign a bunch of meaningless paperwork. They’re told where they can grab a decent lunch.
Then, they’re assigned to a desk and told to go at it.
Is that really the best way to introduce a new employee to your firm and the clients it serves?
Wouldn’t they understand the culture of your firm a bit better if you took the time to explain how you do business and why you do business?
Wouldn’t they be more productive from the start if you showed them some guides created by you and other staff members about how things are done?
Wouldn’t you see better results if a new employee understood your expectations for things like quality and turnaround times?
Wouldn’t you rather give them a resource of information instead of having them pop into your office every five minutes to ask a question?
Aren’t you tired of answering the same questions over and over from employees who don’t work out?
Warning… Warning… System Failure…
Some employees are great. Some are terrible.
But no employee can be great without a system in place that clearly explains what they’re supposed to do, the reason for doing so, and how they know if they’re doing it right.
When I coach attorneys, I use my Delegation Liberation framework. I have them instruct their employees to build their own operations manual.
The concept is simple. Every time an employee has to do something, they have to document what needs to be done, how to do it, and what the criteria for success are.
The next day, if somebody falls gravely ill, the next employee can pick up the slack and get the job done without asking you a single question. Meaning you can actually visit your ill employee like a real human being (one who employees love to work for, and are dedicated to), rather than being in a paperstorm in the office.
Two Kinds of Employees
One kind of employee will embrace this system enthusiastically. They’ll understand what you’re trying to accomplish, and they’ll thrive with consistency. They'll love what you're doing to make everyone's life easier, your firm better.
The second kind of employee should be fired.
They’re the ones who don’t want you to know what they’re doing or how they’re doing it. They want to work in an isolated, mysterious black box, because they think this is the best way to keep their job safe.
But as long as their job is safe, your firm isn’t.
Start Doing This Now
When you instruct any member of your staff to do anything, have them document it. The next time they ask you a question, have them document it. If they ask a question that's in the documentation, don't answer it - send them there. Build their confidence and autonomy. Treat them like adults.
Then once a month, go over the documentation with them so you're sure it's right - and have them build your operations manual.
You’re not a terrible boss. And all employees aren’t idiots.
You just need to create the systems that will turn your firm into a reputable business.