Some time on from the referendum vote and employers and employees alike face an uncertain world, with promises of a bumpy ride ahead. No-one knows right now what the future will bring and many are fearful of the impact of Brexit on just about everything – their jobs, finances, family and way of life.
Law firm leadership teams now need to step up to the mark. There will of course be uncertainty in the boardroom too. But this must not be an excuse to disappear into silence. Secretive meetings that convey nothing to the broader firm will only result in paralysis at a time when firms most need their employees to come together to face whatever challenges lie ahead.
Good leadership can, and will, make the difference.
Here’s how you can help:
- Keep talking to all your staff. You don’t need to have all the answers, and you can admit uncertainty, but find the positives in your firm and people too – the reasons why your business has made it this far through both good and trying times. Try to be specific, using examples of strength, rather than just talking in platitudes. And promise to keep communicating.
- Agree a communications strategy with the rest of the leadership team. You don’t want one person going off with one message, and another saying something completely different. This will only cause confusion and distrust.
- Be honest. People need to have faith in you. Telling the truth, even if it’s difficult news, is vital to maintaining engagement and performance.
- Think about the ways in which you will communicate. Infrequent speeches from on high may not cut the mustard. Using a social intranet or other collaborative tools, and holding smaller focus groups to explore any concerns, may be a far more effective way of interacting with people across teams. This will also be a better way for you to get feedback on how your employees are really feeling, allowing you to nip arising issues in the bud.
- Do not dismiss how important employee engagement will be right now. Those firms that get it right will be those that understand that a firm’s enduring strength can only come from one place – its people.
In its long history, the UK legal sector has weathered many changing times with an impressive resilience. And the work that many law firms have done in recent years will stand them in good stead – business management processes have been transformed, operations streamlined and management talent brought in that knows how to deal with rapid market shifts.
Law firms enjoy a wealth of amazing talent. Now is the time to fully recognise its potential.