Law Firm Hiring: When New Hires Don’t Meet Expectations

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Law Firm Hiring: When New Hires Don’t Meet Expectations

Onboarding is always difficult for firms. It requires time planning (before the new hire starts), time dedicated to showing them the ropes; and all that equals money. Six to eight weeks in, the firm dedicates time and money, yet still, the new hire falls short. Did the onboarding go wrong? Why isn’t the new hire meeting expectations?

Giving guidance to a new hire can be challenging but you can make it a lot easier if you’re specific. Here are ways you can be specific when helping new hires meet your expectations:

  • Model Best Practices. Best practices are dynamic and they change as processes are updated and/or automated, but showing the new hire best practices (organization, administration, etc.) meeting expectations: SMART Criteriacan help them develop better processes for the future. Provide real-world examples of the practices you want the new hire to follow. For instance, you might explain to the new hire that when clients’ invoices are sent on time, chances are that the law firm gets paid on time as well. Showing the new hire how you stay organized and guiding them to develop their own best practices can help them succeed in their new position.
  • Use Examples to Change Behaviors. If the new hire is falling into repeating bad habits, coach positively. Do not say—“You always do the expenses incorrectly” or “You’re always late with the billing.” Instead, give an example of the behavior and talk about the impact of their actions. “The billing was three days late twice this month. When we’re late with billing, it makes it hard for us to get paid on time.” This form of coaching makes clearly states the behavior that needs to be changed and the negative impact on the entire firm. Most new hires will be open to feedback – this where you can model best practices to keep organized.
  • Discuss consequences. The new hire needs to clearly know and understand the behaviors that need to be changed, and also the consequences if no change is made. Set SMART Criteria: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. Whatever the consequences, be clear about them and follow up within the time discussed.

Setting SMART Criteria and modeling best practices will help all new hires meet expectations and succeed in their new role with your firm. Subscribe to the Leopard Blog for discussions about onboarding, best practices, diversity, law firm insights, and other relevant topics.

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