How to Master the Art of Onboarding for Your Law Firm
9 minutes to read
If you want to build the strongest team for your law firm, you must always treat your hiring process just like you would marketing or sales. The better you market your firm and the more compelling your practice is, the better your chances are of landing A-players that will truly accelerate your law firm’s growth.
But here’s the kicker: Finding the perfect people is only 10 percent of the job. If you want to make sure you keep said A-players, you must ensure that they are onboarded effectively. The less time and care you put into your new team members’ experience, the quicker they’ll leave you.
In this guide, we’re going to help you master onboarding for your firm, starting with:
- How to Treat Hiring Like Marketing and Sales
- Why Onboarding Your Law Firm Team Well Matters
- How to Successfully Onboard Your Law Firm Team
How to Treat Hiring Like Marketing and Sales
It’s crucial to undergo a mindset shift when it comes to your law firm team. Treat hiring in your law firm just as you would marketing or sales.
Think about it: If you want to build your brand or attract your ideal clients, you make sure to market your law firm well and often. If you want to sign the potential clients that reach out to your law firm, you prioritize giving them a great experience from that first touchpoint. The same concept applies to hiring. Here’s why:
Throughout the entire hiring process, you are both seeking a new team member and promoting your company to potential candidates. Hiring is a two-way street. Not only are you shopping for a new hire — they are shopping for a new career. Essentially, you must present a compelling career opportunity to prospective applicants who aren’t just the best available for the job, but the best period.
When constructing your hiring process, remember that it is a mutual evaluation. Your organization must become an appealing workplace, and you must effectively convey this to candidates at every stage of the recruitment process. We currently live In the era of the Great Resignation, and because of that, professionals are no longer willing to settle for less.
Secondly, hiring should be a structured and replicable process — like sales.
Each step in your law firm’s hiring funnel should serve the purpose of either qualifying or disqualifying potential candidates. This is why it is referred to as a hiring funnel. The outcome is to narrow down the pool of applicants to a final, clear choice: The one who is truly the best fit for the role, not simply the best available option.
In short, here are the top ways to treat hiring like marketing and sales:
- Attract top talent by positioning your firm as an attractive place to work
- Develop and promote your brand’s values, culture, and vision
- Engage candidates through innovative communication, personalized messaging, and a positive experience
- Sell the opportunity and showcase why your firm is better than all the rest
- Nurture your candidates — even if they don’t end up taking the job — to create opportunities for referrals, word-of-mouth, and potential future hires
But remember, hiring is only 10% of the job when it comes to building the law firm team of your dreams…
Why Onboarding Your Law Firm Team Well Matters
Congratulations! You handled your hiring process with marketing and sales gloves, and because of that, you managed to land an entirely new class of A-players who are ready to take your law firm to the next level — that is, if you onboard them well.
Think about it: The onboarding experience your law firm provides is the very first impression that your new hires get when they come in for the first day at their new jobs. Are you setting them up for success?
Here are a few statistics that demonstrate the power of excellent onboarding — and the dangers of poor onboarding:
- Great team member onboarding can improve retention by 82%
- 88% of organizations don’t onboard well
- Only 12% of team members believe their organizations do a great job of onboarding
- Organizations with a well-structured onboarding process can improve new hire retention by 82% while increasing productivity by over 70%
- Nearly 33% of new hires look for a new job within their first six months if they have a poor onboarding experience — and that number is even higher among millennials
Put yourself in your new hire’s shoes for a moment. Think back to your first day at a new job. How did you feel? Were you scared? Excited? Anxious? Did you immediately feel welcomed and equipped to succeed, or were you left hanging? What do you think could have been done differently to make you feel more confident in your new role?
Last question: On the first day, were you already questioning whether you’d made the right choice in accepting this position?
Onboarding acclimates new team members to their individual roles, your firm’s culture and values, and what your firm has to offer them. It also engages team members and makes them instantly feel like a vital part of your organization, which then fosters commitment to making your law firm successful. In addition, it helps retain new hires by making them feel like they made the right decision in joining your law firm team.
Don’t underestimate the power of a positive onboarding experience — your team members certainly don’t.
How to Successfully Onboard Your Law Firm Team
Now that you understand the importance of onboarding to the retention of your hard-earned new hires, here are a few tips to successfully onboard new team members when they join your law firm.
Get New Hires Excited
There’s no worse feeling than when a new hire feels forgotten about or as if they’re an afterthought — especially when the reality is often that they are much-needed additions to your law firm team. Every organization is busy and has their own schedules to keep up with — but that doesn’t mean you can push your new people to the wayside.
To combat this, get new hires excited for their first day. Consider implementing strategies such as:
- Sending them a welcome package with your favorite firm swag
- Writing them a handwritten note prepping them for their first day
- Having your entire team sign a card and have it sitting on their desk as a surprise when they walk through the door
Reassure your new team member that they made the right decision by getting them excited for their upcoming tenure with your law firm — and don’t hesitate to get creative! New hires like to see that their new workplaces are unique and great fits for them, so don’t be afraid to try something new that will grab their attention.
Prepare for Each New Hire’s Arrival
Now that you’ve got your new team member excited and ready to start their next chapter, it’s up to you to make sure you’re ready for them — not just mentally, but operationally as well. You’ve got to ensure that all of the loose ends (if there are any) are tied up before their arrival, because if they sense that you’re unorganized, they may question their decision to join your law firm team.
Consider the following questions before their first day:
- What does their calendar look like? Is blank and boring or filled to the brim with meetings and vital information? (Hint: It should look like the latter.)
- Are they meeting with different people in various departments within their first few days?
- Do they have a well-equipped desk or a workspace where they will be spending their time?
- Have they been assigned a computer, tablet, or other device that they’ll consistently use?
- Do they have access to the platforms they need to be able to successfully do their jobs?
- Will they have dedicated time to meet with their department and any others they’ll work closely with?
Don’t leave your new team members in the dark when they first arrive. Make sure you and your team are ready in every single way to welcome your new coworker.
Set Up New Hires With Training Sessions
Your new hires can’t learn every single thing there is to know about their new roles in one sitting, so make sure there are multiple structured opportunities for training and learning more about their new responsibilities, as well as the mission, vision, history, and values of the law firm as a whole. Ensure there are documentation, programs, or platforms they can refer back to, such as Trainual.
Pro Tip: If you’re a leader who wants to learn more about the incredible training platform that is Trainual, tune into Episode 140 of The Game Changing Attorney Podcast to hear Chris Ronzio, Founder & CEO of Trainual, explain just how helpful it is for companies and new hires alike.
In addition to training opportunities, the best thing you can do for a new team member is to make yourself available to them. Answer questions, lend a hand, get to know them on a personal and professional level, and show an interest in them. Be grateful that you have found the best person for the job and pass that gratitude along to them.
Set Goals and Expectations for Your New Hires
While it’s true that no one will become an expert in their field overnight, that doesn’t mean your new hires shouldn’t be making clear progress. One surefire way to make this happen is by setting goals and expectations — and more specifically, 30-, 60-, and 90-day checkpoints.
Not sure what your new hire should be accomplishing within those first three months? Read on for some ideas
- Complete all necessary trainings
- Learn the law firm’s vision, values, and policies
- Meet all fellow team members
- Understand the nuances of your law firm and how it operates
- Fully grasp job responsibilities
- Take what they’ve learned and begin practicing and using it
- Make mistakes — but more importantly, learn from them
- Become familiar with clients and their cases
- Know what a day in the life of your law firm is like
- Begin to become a master in their field
- Fully meet job requirements and expectations
- Achieve long-term performance goals
- Have more answers than questions
- Contribute to the growth of your law firm
While not every new team member’s 30-60-90 plans will look the same, this is a good general guide to use when determining your own roadmaps for each new addition to your law firm team.
By making sure your new hires have everything they need to be successful, you will be able to maximize retention, productivity, and engagement on your law firm team. That’s the power of onboarding!
But don’t worry — you don’t have to implement law firm growth strategies like these alone.
We can help provide you the tools, strategies, and blueprints needed to make sure your law firm generates growth faster than ever before.
If that sounds like something you can get used to, contact us today and we’ll help you get there.