In a post-covid world, legal operations are tasked with driving efficiencies and lowering costs while retaining employees. The great resignation has catalyzed many employees to leave their long-time employers for more flexibility and work-life balance. Now legal ops are tasked with finding technology to further improve current workflows, establish efficient hybrid/remote work environments to retain employees, and prove value-added. Here are 6 tips to retain your employees and avoid the great resignation:

  1. Listen to your employees
  2. Be flexible
  3. Set up an at-home work environment
  4. Don’t micromanage: communicate don’t speculate
  5. Address employee development needs
  6. Have a check-in system

We have been a mostly remote company from day one and hope to offer a few tips to our customers and colleagues who don’t yet have those experiences.

How to listen to your employees?

1. Listen to your employees. Some employees may want to be in the office; some may want to be remote, and most will want a hybrid format. From here you’ll have to decide, to work with your employees’ needs or provide them with alternative benefits of staying in the office. Even if you add snack stations, massage chairs, and other office benefits, you still risk them walking away from the company, due to a lack of flexibility.

How to be a flexible employer?

2.  Be flexible. Everyone is going through a lot of stressful situations right now. Other employees may be struggling with caring for or protecting their elderly parents from exposure or dealing with a spouse’s job loss.  As long as the productivity and progress are where they should be, don’t freak out if they have to take a little longer lunch break so they can get someone else fed or if they split their hours to do a little extra after the kids go to bed knowing they’re not as effective during the daytime hours when everyone else in the house is demanding their time. The important thing to remember is to establish we are all in this together, and we will all get through this together.

How to set up an at-home work environment?

3. Enable your team to set up a safe work environment at home.  They will need basic hardware – a computer/laptop, monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc.  They also need to have some basic instructions on how to ensure that their setup is secure.  Give them basic instructions on securing their home network.  Make sure that they acknowledge that although they are not in the office physically, the security and privacy policies they’re used to working under still apply.  For example, if you have a clean desk policy at work, they need to follow it at home as well.  Access to their company-provided equipment should be guarded; it shouldn’t be used for the kids’ homework. Providing at-home tools like webcams, cloud-based software, communication tools, workflow management tools, video conferencing software; whatever you would need in the office to create efficient workflows consider for employees working remotely.

How to avoid micromanaging?

4. Do not micromanage. Once your employees’ ‘home office’ is set up and secure, make sure there are clear expectations about what work should be done each day. This does not mean micromanaging employees via daily checkups. Managing remote workers requires a different strategy than most implement in the office. You can’t see how long a person sits at their desk, but you can measure their output/productivity. This does not mean being more strict about deadlines, but recognizing progress and offering alternative solutions to problems. Having a project management tool where employers/supervisors can check in on the progress of tasks and projects is a better alternative than daily calls/meetings. Weekly reports should be shared with an update on the progress made on current projects and the status of upcoming requests. Tools that allow your team to seamlessly track their work is extremely helpful but not necessary.

How to address employee development needs?

5.  You’ve hired your employees because they specialize in a specific area, so trust your decision and, as stated previously, do not micromanage, instead address employee developmental needs. Enable collaboration within your organization. Whether you use Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, Slack, or some other tool you need to enable quick questions or other collaboration to occur easily and naturally.  At Bigfork, we use ALOE and Slack to work together on projects, ask questions of our colleagues, and even have the occasional conversation about the latest episode of whatever podcast we’re listening to. This last part is key, when you set up weekly meetings or before you jump into non-urgent business, just say hello. One worry many employers have about remote/hybrid work is “what happens to the water cooler conversations,” this does not go away just because you’re working from home. Encourage employees to get to know each other and collaborate by asking each other for feedback on the task at hand.

Have a check-in system

6. Have a check-in system. Weekly video conferences are extremely helpful to keep people engaged. You may be getting the feeling that we’re repeating the communication theme because we are.  Different methods of communication work with different people.  But they all serve dual purposes.  First, it serves to keep everyone updated on the work that is being done by their colleagues.  Which is motivating and keeps employees on task when it’s easy to get off track with so many new distractions.  Second, it serves to keep people feeling engaged.  Being able to see faces keeps people connected, even if they are being told the same thing they were told over email, Slack, or in whatever tool you are using to manage your work.

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