About Our Guest
Finding great talent in the legal industry right now is tough.
— let alone KEEPING it —
Hear from someone who has hired top talent away from their positions at successful firms.
Why did they leave?
What is the market really like?
How can you retain your most skilled team members (the ones everyone wants to poach from you)?
Molly McGrath is an amazing team builder who has helped thousands across the country. Learn how to build your perfect team in a time with extreme competition.
Hiring & Empowering Solutions is the only team of management consultants that offers hiring and training assistance to boutique law firms and “solopreneur” attorneys.
Because they were formerly legal firm employees, not just entrepreneurs, they know what it takes to succeed. They understand how hard it is to get through the doors of a top-tier law company and find out if you’ve wasted your time.
Molly speaks the language of law firm executives fluently and understands how to get everyone working together efficiently for the benefit of the law firm.
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– Mark – Thanks for joining us. This is our extended interview with Molly McGrath, founder of Hiring and Empowering Solutions. The first part of this video is from our GNGF live, which happens every other Wednesday over on our Facebook page. The second part here, in this bonus extended interview, we’re diving in a much more detailed about hiring, leading, and employee retention. If you already saw the live, I’ll put the timestamp to the exclusive extended interview right down here below. And of course be sure to like this video and subscribe to our channel, so you can follow along with all of our great conversations on legal marketing and the business side of running a law firm. Welcome to GNGF live, your biweekly, ask the experts about all things law firm marketing and business growth. I’m Mark Homer, author of Online Law Practice Strategies and founder of Get Noticed, Get Found. On this show, we focus on the business side of growing and running your law firm. So I’m really excited to have today’s guest, Molly McGrath, founder of Hiring and Empowering Solutions. Hiring and Empowering Solutions offers hiring and training support to boutique law firms and solopreneur attorneys throughout the US. I mean, Molly has coached and consulted with over 4,000 law firms and executive level leadership, continuous improvement, team empowerment initiatives, increasing profitability, and much more. So we’re gonna be talking about the tight hiring market right now, empowering your employees and employee retention. Definitely a hot topic these days. And as always, be sure to like and subscribe to our page, not just the video, so you can get updated when our next episode goes live. And of course it never hurts for you to show just a little love and hit that like button on the video too. It does really help us a lot with the algorithms. We’ve got moderators in the chat. So please ask questions and interact during this premiere. And if you’re watching this in the future, after we premiere, we do monitor the comments and we’ll reach out to our guests and answer any followup questions you have. Because we love you all and we love getting to meet you online, and I’m excited to say we’ll be in person again soon. So you can find a list of our upcoming webinars, CLE’s and all of our other events we’re gonna be speaking over on our website at gngf.com/events. We have an extensive library video, including extended interviews, as well as our in-depth change of tips series over in our YouTube channel as well. So you can watch those videos, after this interview, of course, at the link in the chat. All right, let’s get to the interview. Molly McGrath, thanks for joining me today.
– Mark, thanks for having me, I’m really excited.
– Awesome. I know a lot about you, I mean, you’ve helped thousands of law firms. We’ve met, ’cause we were speaking at some of the same conferences, but for the benefit of the audience, tell us a little about yourself and your company.
– Absolutely. So I have a company, Hiring and Empowering Solutions and I have had that honor and pleasure to coach and consult in staff for over 4,000 law firms. I’ve been in the industry since 1997. And I have a podcast that I drop every Tuesday, called Hiring and Empowering Solutions, and drop a blog every Thursday as well, I’ve written a couple of number one bestseller books. And I’m just really, really passionate about creating what I coined, intrapreneur in an entrepreneurs’ world.
– [Mark] Awesome. And the podcast is great. Can’t say enough about it. It’s on my subscription list. Of course I have to listen to a podcast occasionally. But no, yours is great and everybody should check it out. So we’ll make sure we put the link to the chat to that podcast. It’s like I said, in my feed and it comes up all the time.
– Yeah. And we’re gonna have a really special guest next week, I believe it’s dropping, and it’s gonna be you.
– Oh, awesome. Yeah, no, I appreciate you inviting me on. And that was a great conversation. We talked about marketing, but a lot of other things too. But today I wanna focus on what you do for the audience here around employees and hiring and, like you talked about, entrepreneurs. But it’s unique, right? You work with law firms, what have been some of the big challenges, working with a law firm to get an attorney, letting go control of the employees and stuff and opening that up and bringing somebody in to help out or even just themselves, thinking about that control of the employees and getting them to step up more.
– Yeah, it’s so interesting. ‘Cause people are like attorneys, what, why? And I just became really passionate about it. My first job that I ever had was with an organization, a national network of estate planning attorneys, back in, like I said, 1997. And I just really fell in love with attorneys. I realized how there’s this stigma out there in the marketplace and the community in regards to how difficult they are, how they’re arrogant, it’s all about the money, what have you. And then when I started coaching them and looking at their books, looking at their process, looking at where they were struggling, it couldn’t be further from the truth for a lot of people that were hanging their shingle, what have you. But on the flip side of that, attorneys are, and this is no surprise, these are the word save shared with me, they’re trained skeptics. They are trained to believe nothing, right? That’s their super power, when they’re in the courtroom, what have you. But when it comes to training employees and onboarding employees, et cetera, it really is difficult for them to flip that switch because you’re first and foremost hiring human beings, you are in the human to human business. And so my challenges with working with attorneys have been from the staffing side, absolutely. Especially in this absolutely insane market right now, the unemployment rate is under 1% in the legal space. It’s incredible. So attorneys, when I find a rockstar and present them, their like, what, they’re crazy, I’m not paying them that. When I was an associate… So I hear all the stories of walking uphill to school, both ways in a blazing snowstorm. But it’s really difficult to get attorneys to wrap their mind around, it’s not the fee of what they’re paying, but the cost if they don’t do it. Because they’ll call me completely stressed out. Many law firms are coming off the best two years of their life. Especially in a personal services industry and things of that nature. And it’s not gonna change, they’re on a path that growth. You want to be on a path of growth. And you need more talent, you need human beings. So you can consistently level up and you can replace yourself in the firm. So my biggest challenges are really to, number one for them to pay for good talent, and then number two is for them to really know that they have to invest time, attention, and feedback into their employees. Because this is what I hear, I don’t have time to train. I don’t have time to meet with my employees, what have you. And you have to realize if you give human beings, which they are first and foremost, then human doings. If you give them time, attention, and feedback, they won’t leave you, because especially now, it’s one thing to hire someone and to find something, it’s a whole nother ball of wax to retain them and keep them. Because recruiters are sharks, it’s shark infested water, and we are trying to poach everyone and anyone.
– Yeah. So you have the, I’m hiring now, how do I pay, like paying these kind of rates. And then I think probably more, not more important, but longer term more important, is building that culture of regular feedback and all that. How do you work with the attorneys to overcome these? I mean like these are big things.
– Yeah, I mean, I get it. They’re already time strapped. And so I tell them, look at the time that you’re spending, having communication, ping pong, back and forth on slack channels and Teams and emails and what have you, to try to figure out where the heck the state of the union is on the client or the matter, if you can have and treat it, I always say, treat it like a locker room huddle before you go on the super bowl playing field. You need to have a game plan and you need all hands on deck. Treat it like a board of directors meeting. If you can have a weekly meeting with everybody in the firm, again, very much ran like a board of directors meeting, it’s not a coffee clutch. We don’t want to talk about Survivor for an hour and a half, that’s not the intention of it. It has an agenda and I’d be happy to share everything and anything I mentioned today with your listeners, but I have a pretty rigid agenda. It’s one hour, it is ran and facilitated by a team leader. Somebody who’s at the helm of the business. You’re looking at reporting, you’re looking at case loads, you’re looking at the calendar, because so-go the calendar, so-go cashflow. And so you’re paying attention to your business and treating like a business meeting. And then from there having a daily huddle every single day with your team and just everybody being laser focused about here’s my top three for the day, here were my top threes for yesterday, here’s how I did, here’s where I’m jammed up, here’s where I anticipate getting jammed up today, and things of that nature. And I’ve had firms that have completely transformed their firm and doubled their practice and doing that in just 60 days.
– You said something there. And I want to point it out, this phrase, so goes the calendar, so it goes cashflow. I mean, it’s huge, right? Really letting the time away in thinking about, if you were have resources, leveraging your resources to the best possible is also a key for good profitability as well. That’s fascinating. Having a regularly scheduled, having these huddles and stuff, so you’ve kind of built this structure for firms. So you go in, and they trust to bring you in. They trust you to hire people, you build the structures and stuff. Give me just a few examples of like, where this ends up. what are some of the successes look like? I’ve done it now, I’ve done it for a quarter, maybe almost six months, what does this look like on the other side for a law firm, that’s kind of going in and saying, that sounds like a lot of, I mean, that’s a lot hours, that I’m supposed to be billing, now managing.
– Absolutely. And it’s funny, you say, well they trust you. I’m like, yeah, well they hired me and then they tell me all the reasons why it won’t work. So it takes a minute. But I have a program called, the 66 day law firm turnaround. And it is very, very intentional and very specific because it’s absolutely doable and possible. I’ve done this for thousands of law firms. So yes, you’re cutting into your billable hour time, what have you, but it’s really one hour a week for the attorneys, or maybe 30 minutes or it could be two hours total for the attorneys to do the weekly, all hands on deck. And then do the attorney meeting where you’re going in depth with the paralegals, that’s two hours a week. When I start getting in there, one of the exercises I have people do, is track their time, for an entire week and write down everything, billable and non-billable that they are working on. And I will shine the flashlight on actually how they’re gaining time by doing this. Because the time thievery is real. And the ability to be able, time’s not even, it’s not real. If you can chunk out your time in your day, to run your day, run your business, in two hour chunks, it’s amazing what you’re able to accomplish. I mean, the beauty of race the clock, I always tell people, isn’t it fascinating before you go on vacation, the day before vacation, how much stuff you get done and your buckets in the car or the airplane, and you’re like, I’m a rock star. Oh my gosh, why can’t I do that every day?
– Right, right. The work fills the time sometimes. So that time audit, right? The time audit, and getting getting switch around for leveraging. For a business owner, you’re leveraging employees to get more done, and be able to be bigger and better. So after 66 days of putting this in, you got any stories, who were some that stand out, can I say. these were great successes that we’ve experienced or shown. I love hearing the work, but then the success stories, ’cause change is hard for people and in this market, change is even harder. What are some things people can look forward to?
– Yeah, absolutely. You know, all firms are different. My latest success story that we just completed, the 66 day on Monday, I’ll just share, solo practitioner, wife and daughter working in the business, but they’re just helping out where they can, what have you, we get in there and we kick off with a two hour VIP, empty calendar, empty bank account by and large, enough there, but still waking up at two o’clock in the morning. And from there, we really took a deep dive into the people. We outsourced everything in regards to what the attorney was doing from productions, estate planning, law firm. So an elder law firm. So we outsourced the probate and trust administration. We outsource the drafting for them. And then we also had the wife start doing the initial consultations because the attorney’s conversion rates were not that great because people are walking in and he’s giving all kinds of great legal advice, and they’re like, this is fantastic, thank you, goodbye, and not hiring them. So we really revamped the intake process from client service coordinator, answering the phone and then we delegated the intake, the initial consultation, might be a term that resonates with the attorneys, to the non attorney. And the conversion rate went through the roof. The wife was actually getting in signed engagement agreements, which is a really novel thing, and a check. And then she was booking out their design and sign meetings back to back, so also it got production. So now we have a process and production’s moving. We no longer have files that are sitting on the desk. We created a marketing plan. The attorney was now freed up because he’s no longer doing the work and owing the file to actually work on a lot of things that you and I talked about on my podcast, referral management, relationship management, marketing, we hired a social media and digital media company, the websites completely done, updated. They now have daily socials going out. They have a webinar that’s recorded, Evergreen, and they’re driving Facebook ads there. And they actually have leads now.
– And this was 66 days, first of all, that that’s amazing. But what I heard in there was the first thing that happened was, where are you spending your time and what is not the best use of your time? Like Mr. Attorney, whoever right, Mrs. Attorney, that’s where you started. And then figuring out how to fill that in and then how do we manage and grow? And so that process, so few people really step back and look at that.
– Well, yeah, and it wasn’t an easy feet. Listen attorneys, I hear you loud and clear. They are nervous, especially that initial consultation. And you have to shift your mind. It’s not a legal meeting. You’re not at stake for malpractice and all the other head trash you tell yourself. It’s not, it’s an initial consultation. And we even changed the naming of that because it sounded so clinical, and we created it, I think what we came up with, was your goal setting meeting. So really recreating that and speaking into the client’s perspective. And so it’s not an initial consultation. We’re not giving you legal advice, we’re not diagnosing you. And it’s really to figure out what’s heavy on your head and your heart. And that’s first and foremost. And when people feel acknowledged and they feel validated, they’ll hire you. This is a psychology meeting, it’s a coaching meeting. It’s a session to really lock arms and to create that trust. So it was hard for the attorney, but I will tell you, fear is a beautiful motivator, and empty calendar is a beautiful motivator, when you’re like, well, what I’m doing is not working, so let’s try something else. And within three consultation, the wife had like a hundred percent conversion rate. I’m like, yeah you’re fired, no more initial consultations for you. For the attorney.
– It’s interesting. ‘Cause I’m sure you probably have a lot of examples too, but sometimes it’s the people that are busy, but barely profitable, that it’s almost harder to explain that you’re doing things really, really wrong, because it’s like, but yeah, the cash is coming in and we got, my calendar is busy and stuff. So it’s almost, reworking something has to be a totally different process to somebody who’s already been, they think things are okay, but really when you step back and look in, there’s a lot of opportunity.
– Absolutely. I had my very first coach that did a whole day on the concept, coaching attorneys, he was an attorney, about this concept of busy is important. And when you really start shifting your mind from time management to focus management, and that’s the other thing, I did a complete audit of what everybody was working on. And that’s why I love coaching. You have the accountability and consequences. People will say to me, I don’t know if I want to punch you or hug you. And I’m like, but then I’m doing a good job.
– That’s great. So what surprised you? You’ve done this for a while. You’ve worked with a lot of law firms. There’s gotta be something in your career, that’s just surprised you, that was different or new, or just what’s out there.
– I’ll tell you the biggest surprise to me is that attorneys don’t like confrontation, believe it or not. So I would hear from them when they need to have a crucial conversation with an employer, courageous conversation with an employee, or maybe a vendor they’re paying, or someone who’s 1099, that they don’t want to have the conversation. They are horrible at firing people. I’m like, wait a minute, you’re in a courtroom. You’re trained to defend, you’re trained to debate, and you don’t like confrontation? And I will tell you a hundred percent of attorneys tell me, I don’t like confrontation, I can’t do it. I will get phone calls from people and say, can you fix my employee? And can you do X, Y, and Z? I’m like, well, I can help facilitate the conversation, but you have to have it. And they’re sheet white, they can’t have it. They are really, really like, well, I don’t want to fire them,. they have two kids. I mean, so they are empathetic, but that was very, very surprising to me. And I would tell you a hundred percent, I hear that all the time from attorneys.
– That’s fascinating. I mean, I get that, having been doing an effort for years and years and years as well. So I understand that. But yeah, I think that that’s probably a big misnomer out there. I think there’s, you talked about the training, right? Law firm owners are lawyers first and business owner way back seat somewhere in there. Like, oh yeah. So many of them start that way. And if they’re not classically trained, they’re classically trained in the law, and the legal and stuff and super confident. But as soon as there’s a little bit of not classically trained, you know what I’ve been told and haven’t been through law school, but what I’ve been told from a lot of lawyers is that, If you were wrong in law school, then you fail. You’re just are told you have to be right all the time. And to kind of go into an unknown area, like a confrontational conversation, where I’m not sure what they’re gonna say, I don’t know what the answer is, I don’t know what the best thing to say here. I can imagine, that’s hard for a lot of managers. That’s really hard when you’ve been classically trained that that could be wrong. It makes sense to step back.
– Yeah, and they need guarantees and certainty. Attorneys do not do well without guarantees in certainty. They will become absolutely paralyzed until they know the beginning, the middle, the end and the why, and they have at least 99.9% certainty. They won’t… They’ll take an action. I love, I heard a definition recently of ROI. Everyone thinks it’s return on investment and that the definition I heard of, regret of inaction, and I love that.
– Yeah. I mean, a lot of times it’s the analysis paralysis, not doing something, when you go, oh man, six months ago, if I would have done this. If somebody would’ve started your 66 days, two years ago, where would their firm be right now?
– Oh my goodness. I get calls every day and they’re like, well, let me think about it. And then they call me back six months in, they have their head between their knees and they’re like, I know you’re gonna yell at me, I’m still in the same place.
– So I want to switch gears a little bit. I mean, it tracks, but I’ve heard you talk about this, again, I have seen you speak in conferences, you’ve been talking about this, intrapreneur in an entrepreneur’s world. Tell the audience more about that and maybe even how you got there, because it’s something you’ve been working on for awhile.
– Yeah, So in the late 90’s, I would go to all these legal conferences when we were all hopping on planes and going on conferences everywhere. We would be at the break, we’d be at the bar, we’d be at the coffee and standing in line and hearing the commotion with the attorneys, they’re consistently complaining about their employees. They don’t care, they don’t step up and lead, all the things that were, and they were real, some of them were real, what have you. But I was hearing business would be great, but for the employees, I mean, I own a business, you own a business, it’s real, especially in this market. And I would hear that consistently. And then I would scooch over to the next table and I’d hear the employees saying, they’re control freaks, they don’t give up control. They don’t talk to us. They don’t let us take things over for them. They won’t delegate to us, what have you, they won’t give us time, they won’t give us direction, what have you. And so I’m sitting there twiddling my thumbs and then they come out of the office and have this huge eruption that nobody will help them. They’re stressed out, their taxed, but they won’t do the stop, drop and roll, so to speak. So they both wanted the same thing, but there was a breakdown in communication. The employees that were feeling like they were telling the attorneys that, and the attorneys weren’t hearing that, it wasn’t landing that way. So I became really passionate about, I’d hear this common thing, I just wish someone had my back, I wish somebody would step up and lead. I took it very, very serious. I’m a deeply curious person, I’m like, this has to stop, and it has to get fixed because they both want the same thing. It’s got to get on the same playing field. And so from there, coming up with this definition of intrapreneur, which means especially, I mean, most states, a non attorney cannot own a law firm. So there’s no opportunity for them, is what’s between the ears of a non-attorney., which isn’t true. And so really becoming like that, you have the blood, sweat, tears, in your blood and your bones for wanting the business and caring about the clients and caring about the calendar and caring about cashflow and all that. The only difference is your name is not on the door. And you start to have them shift and hearing them say, our clients, the employee using terminology like that, that’s when you know you have an intrapreneur, when they’re losing sleep, when they’re coming in to you and saying, I’m worried that we don’t have any appointments on the calendar, that’s when you know you’ve landed an intrapreneur.
– That’s great. So you you have this book, 66 day law firm turnaround, and you talk about some examples, but it just seems like 66 days. One, that’s a very unique number, 66 days. But how, I mean, how does somebody really turn around a law firm in 66 days? That seems a little ambitious, but you said you’ve done it.
– Yes, absolutely. And that’s why it’s a turnaround and it’s not a complete transformation. It’s what Tony Robbins calls, the two millimeter shifts, he talks about. So yes, but it is definitely a different, it is turning the firm around, because we take your people, your process, your production, and your profitability. And we take each one of them, I have a very methodical process. It’s one hour a week that we get on the phone. And then the goal is that you are bringing your team, It’s a team centric approach. So it’s not all on the attorney. The attorney is not touching running reports and looking at KPI’s. They’re not looking at the conversion from marketing to initial contact, to the conversion of getting them in there. The attorney’s not dialing for dollars and doing the follow-up, I think everybody has a role. And ideally the attorney’s not doing anything other than giving up control. And they’re not doing anything other than saying yes to what I’m asking them to give up. And then we’re looking at their conversions in the conference room. So if their conversion rates aren’t at least 73% or higher, then we immediately, we’ll fix that within a one hour conversation. I know exactly what’s going on. I know why it’s not happening. And I’ll have them record their initial consultation, send it to me and I’ll have it fixed within one hour.
– Awesome. I wanted to get into hiring in this economy, retention in this, all this stuff, but we’re at a time on our Facebook live portion, but if you could stick around, again we could post an extended interview to YouTube. We often end up doing this, ’cause apparently I like to ask too many questions. I must be curious as well. But if you’d stick around to answer a few more questions a little bit?
– Absolutely, I’d be happy to.
– Awesome, and before we wrap up, though, where can people find a connect with you online?
– Yeah, so obviously on LinkedIn, you can find me there, Molly McGrath, or Facebook, or Instagram, what have you. The easiest way, probably to go to our website, hiringandempowering.com, and opt-in to get our weekly blog that drops every Tuesday, or every Thursday, and our weekly blog that drops every Tuesday. Packed full of tips and techniques to support you and your employees.
– [Mark] And can they grab your book on your website then?
– Yes, it’s all on there.
– Awesome, so we’ll make sure we throw a link in the chat. All right, Stick with me one more second, thanks Molly.
– Thank you.
– Well, thanks for joining us today everyone, be sure to like and subscribe to our Facebook page to you get notified when our next episode goes live. We have new interviews about law firm marketing and the business side of running your firm, here every other Wednesday. We’re gonna keep going into the GNGF studios and you can watch the full extended interview with Molly McGrath, founder of Hiring and Empowering Solutions, this Friday over on our YouTube channel, we’ll be diving into much more detail about hiring, leading, and employee retention. And don’t forget to download Molly’s book, 66 day law firm turnaround, how to turn around your law firm, production, people, and profit, in 66 days or less, over at hiringandempowering.com. We’ll see you on Friday. Molly, thanks for staying with me.
– Thank you for having me Mark, I’m excited.
– Awesome. We’ve got more questions that I didn’t get to in our Facebook portion. So again, thanks. And I think this is where, I was really hoping to get this, ’cause I think this is some of the meat that everybody’s really nervous about right now. So you kind of alluded to this when we were chatting earlier about just how things are really tight and maybe salaries are even higher. So what is the state of the employee market? I’m curious, your thoughts on why it’s just so tight right now. I mean, we hear about a lot of things, but what are some of the reasons, you’ve been doing this for a while. And maybe, where are we headed?
– Yeah, never have I seen a market like this, I’ve been recruiting in the legal space since ’97. And I hate to say it, I don’t mean to breathe fear into the room, but it’s only gonna get worse. So the unemployment rate is under 1% right now for attorneys and under 2% for paralegals. And it’s really tight now. And it really was tight prior to the pandemic, for certain, but the pandemic has amplified it. Because employees are very aware that they are in the driver’s seat. Now I hear from attorneys that they’re being arrogant, that they’re being abusive with the fees they want, the the salaries they want. And that’s not the case, finally, I think due to social media, due to the pandemic, anybody who’s on a path of personal professional development, did not spend their time watching Netflix, they spent their time in webinars. They spent their time on YouTube. They spent their time reading books about owning your value, owning your super powers, really getting clear. And people did an audit of their personal and professional life. And thankfully owned their power. Got really clear on, because if you have someone like that in your office, or a rock star, they’re producing tremendous amount of results. But now with the attorneys, a lot of them don’t want to work in the office anymore. They want to stay home. People got comfortable, same thing with paralegals. So they’re not going back to brick and mortar anymore. And in addition, for the paralegals, a lot of them moved to a 1099 contract base and attorneys are really struggling with outsourcing and insourcing with hiring independent contracts versus a traditional W2 employee. So it’s only going to get worse. So you have to be willing to really look at your numbers and not get all freaked out. I always tell attorneys, listen, somebody wants $120,000 a year, and let’s just say, you’re not writing them a check today for $120,000. Let’s break it down to the monthly. Let’s break it down to the weekly, in where you can get that profitability from your practice. And if you look at it as a monthly nut versus the annual nut, and break it down, then it’s a business decision, and it’s a good business decision because it frees you up and helps you level up. So you cannot be arrogant and be so rigid on not wanting to pay people, the fees that they want right now. If you want to grow, you’re gonna have to pay.
– The interesting about that. It’s even paying, but the other side is as important, I think, like the retention. How how do we help law firm owners out there say, all right, you’re gonna take some risks, you’re gonna invest dollars, there’s training time, there’s managing time, there’s leading. How do we make sure we’re retaining the employees as well.
– Yeah, absolutely. And I’d love this. I’m really passionate about this question, because you have to remember if you’re finding somebody that will work at the reception desk for $18 an hour, or an associate attorney that will work for 60 grand a year, whatever it might be, they’re going to lead, because there is gonna be a recruiter that’s waving $30,000 more a year in front of them. Now they won’t leave, if you give them time, attention and feedback. I mean, it’s a relationship, you have to remember that. And it’s really simple, and it’s crazy, most people lead with quality time, they want quality time. And so if you’re creating a culture of growth, you are creating a culture of collaboration, you’re creating a culture of communication, people will not leave you, they just won’t. So if you have employee growth plans, and again, I’d be more than happy to share my process for this front of your listeners, if you have an employee growth plan where you’re sitting down and your meeting with every employee, and it doesn’t have to be you, you have an office manager, team leader, what have you, COO, PLA, whatever it might be, and have a quarterly, every person has a quarterly plan of growth. If you invest in your employees, giving them coaching, putting them through programs that are not only about their skills and knowledge, but as their human being to help them develop, they won’t leave. My favorite, favorite, favorite response, when I send out to recruiters, my subject line is, are you happy and being treated and paid well and trying to get people to at least get on the phone with my recruiters to see if they’d be willing to take our job. And it’s so great when people reply and they’re like, no, I’m happy, they won’t even talk to a recruiter. I’ll go sometimes and try to find the law firm and send the attorney a message and say, whatever you’re doing, 10 X it, because your employees are happy and they won’t even talk to recruiters, so you’re doing something right.
– That’s great, yeah. Relationship, which again, as you talked in the previous portion, worrying about confrontation and worrying about people, human beings are gonna say in a non-logical environment, can be tough initially. We’re big on culture here and why we’re doing things and where people are going and professional, personal growth, those things. I have to really believe that that’s what’s kept our team going and growing and focusing and being excited about things, and like you said, treating the company, caring about the bottom line as much as I do, which is awesome. But caring about our clients as much as I do, which is even more awesome. Having that, seeing it work, that’s why I wanted to have you on and talk about this, having heard you talk, is that I don’t think people, in the law firms, a lot of times we’ll talk about the tools and the systems are using, they’ll talk about the marketing to get the leads and stuff, but the team itself, building leverage in that and getting everybody on the same page, I mean, it just pays so many dividends back.
– Yeah, your people are your greatest asset, they really are, because that’s the question we’re getting asked more now than ever, about, tell me about the team. How long has the longest employee been standing? Who did my job before? They’re asking really powerful questions about the turnover rate and the culture and the mindset of the owner. When they show up on these interviews, I love the questions that they’re asking, about people sell, we give quarterly bonuses and all this, and what have you. And I was on an interview last night and a guy said, what percentage of people actually make that bonus? What percentage, what is the criteria for discerning who gets the bonus, or what have you? So employees are asking, candidates are asking phenomenal questions right now because they don’t want to move. People don’t want a job hop. We learned that from 2008 and they really, truly want a place that they could call home and they’re proud to be at.
– We talked about the job market for lawyers and paralegals. I mean, as you mentioned, it really is that, I won’t say that bad, but it is so tight, that you need to kind of be doing everything a little better than everybody else to get the right talent, to keep the right talent. Tell me one little thing, ’cause you mentioned this on the paralegals, a lot of people going 1099, which brings up some different things. ‘Cause I mean, one, as soon as somebody, 1099, it changes how you can even manage that person. You can’t tell them what to do, where to be and stuff. What are some little nuances you’ve seen with that shift? ‘Cause I hadn’t heard it before.
– Yeah, I love that shift, actually. Because they’re coming batteries included. They’re coming in with that business owner mindset. If they don’t do a good job, they’re gonna get fired, probably way quicker than a W2 employee, ’cause it’s easier to unravel that. And so they show up batteries included. They are absolutely positively with an business owner mindset. They show up prepared, they show up present, they show up where they are coming to a constant solutions versus constant problems. And so I love when firms can really, the number one question I get, well, what the heck, how am I gonna know what she does all day? I’m like, you’re gonna know by the daily report that you get and you’re gonna know when you see files closing and money coming in. You’re not gonna question, if it took her, and they’re typically charging a flat fee, monthly retainer, which is fantastic because you don’t have to worry about when you get this huge invoice every two weeks as completely padded. And if you do, if they do hourly, their tension to detail is ridiculous. Where they will put not only what they’re, the firms I work with, I had the 1099 contract put the manner that they’re working on as well, but also the results that are produced for the attorney and for the firm, so they can clearly see the value of having this and they never ever question and they can’t pay their invoice fast enough.
– This shift, when everybody went remote, everybody’s used to having people in the office, which I think law firms are very common in that world. I really think that, it’s hard for people to get over the, I don’t see the person in their seat, therefore, are they working? The idea was, oh, they’re not in their seat, they must be out at happy hour or something. You gotta divorce this idea of, if I don’t see somebody working, they’re not working, it’s just get back to, are the results there, or what’s like the reports, the data. I mean, there should be known results that they need to get done, is that getting done?
– I’m a fractional COO for a lot of firms and I was on with a client this week, and the attorney said to the client service coordinator that was in our meeting, she said, where did Susie go? She’s been gone for half hour, what have you. Clock watching her and looking that they are in office. And she’s looking down the hall to see where she is consistently. And I said to the attorney, the problem is not, you’re wasting so much time on this. This is an underperforming employee that she takes up our time every single week, complaining about her, that should have been fired six months ago. She was not a good employee. So when you have employees, if you are still in office, or they’re virtual, what have you, that you’re kind of always looking around the corner to see where they’re at, what have you. The problem is not that virtual or what have you, or how do I know what she’s doing all day? If you feel like you have to watch over a certain employee, or all your employees, it means that you’re not clear on what value they’re creating. They’re probably not clear on the value that they’re creating and you probably don’t have them on a growth plan. So the problem isn’t, are they gonna be in their office all day? If you’re looking and walking the halls, looking where people, what they’re doing, then you have a bigger problem.
– Totally agree, I love that. So to wrap up, what’s one piece of advice that you could give a law firm leader on getting their employees to really, as you mentioned the word care earlier, to really step up, is the term I usually would use, but I like that point of getting them to start saying we, our clients, not your client is calling.
– Yeah. Again, I’ll go back to, it’s really simple, is consistent communication and checking in with them. So if you have that weekly stakeholders meeting, board of directors meeting with them, you have the daily huddle where you’re checking in and saying, what are your top three? What’s working, what’s not working? You’re having a quarterly growth plan meeting with them. Absolutely, they will take a bullet for you. When they’re clear on what the core values are, what the vision is, and how they contribute to that, so often I’ll hear from receptionist, say to me, well, I can’t contribute to cashflow. I have no control over, I’m like, you’re the sales force. Yeah, if you’re not tracking every initial consultation and doing follow-up and looking at conversion rates, yes, you are, every person in your firm contributes to the bottom line. And and make certain that everybody’s clear on what their top three revenue producing activities are and then supporting them. And one question for any employees that are listening or maybe for any leaders that one of my most powerful question for an employee to ask the employer, and vice versa, is what are you not seeing, that you wish you would be seeing in my role, or within the firm? It’s a game changer. There’s no yes or no to it, it allows people to really do a deep dive. And as an employer, you have to ask your employees that question, of what they’re not seeing, that they really want to be able to see. And you have to be quiet and don’t debate and defend it.
– That’s awesome. I mean, if you just put that in your quarterly plan there, and just to ask that question, you’re probably gonna find a lot of stuff that are maybe seemingly small too, that are critically important to the company, the employee and stuff. Just asking that question, right? Not often, it’s like, oh, I just wish everybody was paid a lot more. It just seems that we’re not doing this one little thing. And you’re like, oh, I didn’t even know that, let’s go do that.
– Yeah. And you said something really powerful there, because if you get crickets and you’re not getting a tremendous amount of depth and information, and what have you, then you know that your employee doesn’t feel safe, you haven’t created. When employees feel seen, they feel safe. And when the employees feel safe, they can create. So when you ask questions like this of your employees and you don’t get just this tremendous amount of information and what have you, and you’re like nothing, or you’ll get one. When I do employee reviews and questions, they put one sentence, I’m like, ah, they don’t feel safe. We have to go back to the five dysfunctions of a team.
– That feeling comfortable to have a open and honest conversation, you have to get there, I totally agree. And it’s time in there, right? Like you said, it’s having structured time, where that relationship and communication can start. Love it, thank you so much for sticking with me and dive into this. I think hopefully everybody from Facebook has over watched this, ’cause this was probably some of the amazing gold of all the little nuggets here of just take away value.
– Thank you.
– Hey, what’s up, I’m Josh. Thanks so much for joining us. If you feel like you learned something today, think of how beneficial it would be to chat with myself or another one of our marketing consultants one-on-one. Go ahead and visit our website to schedule your free consultation, it only takes a minute.