Every good business owner knows that you can’t run a great business with a lousy team. The quality of the people behind the scenes matters for both short-term victories and long-term successes. This is especially true for law firms. They say that one bad apple ruins the lot: as a law firm owner, you probably know how true this can be. Ergo, it stands to reason that hiring and managing great people is the key to managing a law firm that lasts.
But as with anything regarding business, it’s much easier said than done.
The Keys to Hiring the Best Employees
Generally speaking, there are a lot of tips out there on how to hire the best people possible for your business. Ask any entrepreneur; and they’ll have their own advice regarding the hiring process. However, most of these can easily be condensed into two main avenues: objective scoring and subjective scoring.
Objective scoring refers to the technical side of the hiring process. When you judge someone’s resume, their appearance, or their verbal skills, it’s best to be objective: how do they compare to the other applicants? Do they meet the prerequisites for employment? Your firm probably has a certain standard of intelligence or experience; do they meet that as well?
Part of hiring great people is taking into consideration their merits. Depending on what you’re looking for in an employee, you could create a rubric for objective scoring. Throughout the duration of the hiring process, you could rate a potential employee based on several quantitative factors, such as:
- Resume Quality
- Verbal Skills
- Written Skills
- Professional Appearance
- Technical Expertise
To keep things simple, you could go for a point-based system using these criteria to narrow down your options, with 5 being the highest in each category and 1 being the lowest. Obviously those with higher scores mean they have the expertise, aptitude, and technical knowledge necessary to fulfill the role you need them for.
Subjective scoring, on the other hand, is dependent almost entirely on gut instinct (hence, subjective). It focuses on the more personable traits of the applicant, and therefore can be quite difficult to “score” or judge. Factors that fall under subjective scoring would be:
- Culture Fit
- Adaptability/Openness to Training
- General Impressions
Subjective scoring is meant to rate the applicant as a person rather than an employee. How well would they fit in with your team? How well do you think they’ll receive criticism or correction? Do you see them enjoying your company culture?
When the choice comes down to two applicants who are equally matched in terms of intelligence, technical expertise, and resume quality, you should choose the one whom you believe will better integrate into the workplace. The last thing you want to create is friction amongst team members.
The Key to Managing the Best Employees
As a law firm owner, your goal should be to groom your interns and employees so that they eventually become self-sufficient leaders. However, before they can reach that benchmark, you must take the time to properly manage them. This process is neither quick nor easy, regardless of how talented or receptive the employee is.
If the task feels particularly overwhelming, just remember; the key to managing great people is effective communication.
A lot of people don’t seem to realize just how important communication is in the workplace. But it is, without a doubt, the best key to fostering a loyal, productive environment in your firm.
If you want your employees to trust you, you need to let them know that they can approach without fear of judgment or retribution. If you want them to stay motivated, you need to let them know they have your full support. If you want them to stay loyal, you need to build solid relationships with them.
Every single one of these prerequisites can be achieved with open, honest, and effective communication. It may not be easy establishing a connection with every member of your team, but trust us when we say that the results are ultimately worth it.