July 2, 2019 | 10 MIN read

How to implement change and embrace innovation in your firm

Here at The Link App, we conducted a series of innovation events with invited guests including; senior managers from predominantly mid-sized niche or full-service regional firms and existing and prospective users of The Link App. The purpose of these events was to initiate conversations regarding Innovation within the Legal Sector. Our aim was to promote open and honest discussions and explore how firms dealt with change, and what they considered to be important when embracing innovation. The following advice is a summary from the opinions of the attendees. 

There are often many things to consider when you are thinking of implementing change within your firm. Whether it be a departmental restructure, or bringing in new technology and processes. Managing a workplace is often a fine balance between tried and tested procedures which your employees are comfortable with, and trying to move with the times and embrace modern ways of working. Many of which are often at odds with how your team are used to doing things.

 Where Should You Start?

When you are thinking about doing something new, from talking to our guests, we discovered that there are generally 2 main priorities; making sure you get value for money and making sure that any changes you are making are for the benefit of your team. One of the best ways to get your fee earners on board, is to show them that you are looking to help them maximise their time, and make their lives easier, rather than adding something to their workload.

From a value for money point of view, you need to consider both your business and your clients. Is what you are doing going to increase the cost?

The Link App, not only improves productivity by 34% by streamlining processes, and integrating with your existing case management system – it’s also completely free for your clients to use, meaning it’s a great example of an innovative change which meets the priorities for both your team and your clients.

Team Engagement and Training

Once you have decided on the changes you are planning to make, it is vital that you engage your team as soon as possible. Share with them the reasons behind the decision, ask them for their ideas and feedback and give them as much information and knowledge as you can. If a decision is made and forced on them without any prior warning, or if they haven’t been given enough background to care about it. They will disengage and it will be much harder to implement. If there is a lack of knowledge or they don’t know what is expected from them, then they will do what is needed to get by but won’t care about the process or the reasoning behind it.

Sometimes you have to ‘break the old process’ in order to get people to embrace the new one. There is no point trying to bring in new systems and processes if you are still letting people use the old ones – there is then no incentive or reason for them to change”

For one firm we spoke to, it took their photocopier breaking down for the team to start using their digital system to sign and send documents. It was only when there old process physically stopped working, that they realised there was an easier, more manageable way to work.

Training

After a significant change has been made, it’s important to identify different ways to pass on any relevant information to your team. Whether it be videos, training manuals or webinars, make sure that there are as many opportunities as possible for them to access what they need. Make sure it is relevant to their job role, and to the type of firm that you are running – if you are tight on time then producing a huge 100 page document may not be the most effective way to deliver the information. 

It was also highlighted by one of our delegates, who is a Head of Property at their firm, that it doesn’t necessarily need to be the Managing Partners, or Heads of Department that are leading your training. In some cases there may be a junior member of staff who is perhaps more familiar with using your existing systems who could provide a more concise, time-efficient training session to the rest of your team. So it is important to remember that identifying the most suitable person, is just as crucial as making sure you are delivering the right type of training.

Different team members will have different styles of learning too. Having a mixture of written and video guidance can be a great way to get the most out of the time they spend learning.

Be Consistent

“Sometimes consistency is a bigger issue when in a growing firm with new offices and locations – sometimes it can be easier to let people use their own methods if it is not impacting on the client

Consistency is key – especially if your firm has more than 1 office. Processes need to be put into place which are easy for your team(s) to follow in order to provide a consistent experience across the board. 

Through our conversations we found that IT teams in particular often struggle with people ignoring the processes in favour of just asking someone else and then doing it their way, rather than the right way. 

 “Processes and manuals can be in place but getting people to follow them isn’t always easy

Being consistent in your approach and making processes as simple to follow as possible can have a significant impact on how well your team adapt to change.

This also goes for how you deal with your clients. If you are bringing in new technology which impacts on their experience, then you need to ensure that the experience they get is the same across the board – regardless of who they are speaking to. Gaining positive feedback from your clients should be high on your list of priorities.

Why Now?

One key thing that we discovered through our conversations was that ultimately people are changing the way they look for service providers. We learnt that as social media and technology become more widely available, people are leaning more towards recommendations from friends/family/neighbours – through direct conversations, online reviews and community social media groups. 

Other people’s opinion now carries more weight than ever before – meaning providing a positive client experience and maintaining a good reputation is key when considering big changes within your firm. 

In previous blogs we have spoken about how important it is to have something that differentiates your firm, without having to rely on lowering your prices. Creating a positive experience for your clients can make a big difference, and they are more likely to recommend your firm to others if they are happy with the service they have received.

At The Link App we understand that implementing a change of any kind within your firm is a big step and there are often a lot of different things to consider, especially if it relates to new technology. Our aim is to make the process as simple as possible – from straight forward integration with existing systems, to comprehensive technical training, as well as regular webinars and personalised marketing materials, which provide your team with everything they need to know about getting started with the product and how to engage with your clients.

If you’ve been considering implementing new technology into your firm, and you think that The Link App might be part of that journey, then why not take a look at our  testimonials to see how other firms have benefited.

 

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