A key component of growing a law firm is not just finding the right people but making sure these people, once hired, are warmly welcomed. As part of their welcoming, they need to be thoroughly and seamlessly onboarded into their role on your team. These points of focus will increase the likelihood of the team member not only staying but also thriving in their role. The key I have discovered is to make a really big deal of welcoming new members to your team and making sure they are properly equipped to thrive in their new role. Here are some things to consider when it comes to bringing on any new team members to your firm, regardless of their position.
Prime Them for a Great Experience
Before their first day on the job, we email newly hired team members a short video to watch about the history of our law firm. This is a good way to give an “inside baseball” account to the new hire on the backstory of the firm and how it came to be. This video is also intended to get new team members excited about joining a special and fast-growing law firm. We want them to know they made a great decision by joining our firm. In that initial email, we also include payroll and health insurance paperwork for new hires to complete before their start date so that these formalities are out of the way when they arrive on their first day on the job.
Wow Them on Their First Day
Too many law firms fail to make a big deal out of a new team member’s first date. The better approach I have found is to celebrate the occasion so that it is truly memorable for the new team member. Since the average person only has so many first days on the job during the span of a career, make it an unforgettable experience for the person. Small touches matter on the first day and are hugely appreciated. For example, a sign in your reception area welcoming the person sets the right tone instantly when he or she walks in. Also, a welcome card signed by your team and waiting on the new hire’s desk is a personal touch that goes a long way. Additionally, consider assigning a buddy to the new hire. This is a good way of letting new team members know they have someone to go to when they have questions. A great book on the topic of making strong and memorable first impressions on new hires is The Power of Moments by Chip and Dan Heath.
Make Sure They Are Properly Trained
Once a powerfully positive first impression is made on the team member, the training and onboarding should begin. The key is to be extremely thorough and detailed when teaching the new hire how to do the work. To me, overtraining beats undertraining any day. New hires should receive manuals and other materials to digest on how they are expected to execute their responsibilities. Also, provide how-to videos to supplement and reinforce the written materials. We use and have been happy with a program called Trainual. There, we upload our written training materials for new hires to read and videos to watch. Presenting concepts in both written and video formats increases training effectiveness and retention of concepts. Once training has finished, we have all new hires complete a quiz on the topics they have learned. We want to be very sure they have a strong command of the concepts we have taught them. If they don’t do well on the quiz, then we know they need additional training.
If you have other ideas when it comes to bringing on and training new team members, please email me at [email protected] because I would love to hear from you.
Published in GPSolo eReport, Volume 13, Number 6, January 2024. © 2024 by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association. The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of the American Bar Association or the Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division.