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Edition 350 – How The Best Do It

Recently, I was asked to present a session at a professional development training day for a respected firm of local solicitors. Almost 20 solicitors, conveyancers and legal support staff were in attendance as the day got underway to not only help the team achieve some of their compulsory CLE points, but also to provide the opportunity for people from different offices to get together.

My session was for 90 minutes and I loved the interaction amongst all of the attendees. Undergraduates working as legal secretaries sat alongside the partners of the practice and fully qualified solicitors in a deliberate placement of name tags away from each other’s contemporaries. This was a chance to not only learn from each other, but to spend the day to get to know each other that little bit better.

As the Managing Partner opened proceedings and commented on the past two years of business impacted by COVID, this is what I took away from sitting at the back of the room.

  1. The firm took the opportunity to bring together staff from different offices, some of whom had not met each other previously.
  2. Various members of staff, from the most junior of the legal team right up to the Partners all took a part in preparing for, and presenting, on the day. That in itself was a great opportunity to invest in the process of “the best way to learn is to teach”.
  3. The day was held at a great local facility, offsite from any of the four offices the firm is located at. This was all about taking it to a different environment where no one was on their own patch and the pleasant surrounds of the location formed part of the day.
  4. The organisers of the event made it fun. Branded cupcakes, lucky door prizes and quizzes formed part of proceeding. Sure, it was about training. However, it was also about building the culture of the firm.

In my opinion, this is a top legal firm and their professional development day is just one of the reasons they stay at the top. By taking a day away from the office, this firm is investing in its people and showing them that:

  1. The firm will support them in their training and development measures.
  2. Their efforts in their respective roles are being recognised and will be rewarded.

Sadly, most small and family businesses are “too busy” to devote time to training their people. It’s seen as an imposition or a lost day of productivity, rather than a day to invest in your people, contribute positively to the culture of the business and give your team the chance to take a moment to get to know the others they work alongside each day.

As we accelerate towards the dawn of 2023, it’s my firm belief that culture will be the number one issue in each and every small and family business. Devoting time to developing your people is but a small part of building that culture.

To that end, what are you doing to invest in your people so they want to remain a part of your business? Or, are they already looking elsewhere?

This Week’s Tip

“Set the date, tell your team and get on with the planning.
The sooner you invest, the sooner the return.”