We get it, bringing a remote, flexible member to your team can be tricky! Wavering budgets, holding a lack of oversight, and finding valuable talent can prove stressful. Yet, hiring remote opens the floodgates of opportunity by diminishing borders on the quest for talent. Interestingly, the law field has a long history of engagement with outside counsel, typically amongst those fresh out of law school who have yet to score a full time position. Not surprisingly, Covid has turned this trend on its head by fusing the distance between traditional and online work for the long-haul. The amount of freelance lawyers has increased drastically, resulting in a wider pool of advanced and diverse workers. As this trend continues, it is imperative to understand the ways in which you can integrate this flexible talent into your established team.
Here’s the Breakdown:
- Establish predictable, and easy means of communication
- Set transparent goals for the entire team
- Build and relay trust early on
- Culminate a team-first mentality amongst every engagement
Establish Strong Communication Channels 📣
A remote team structure only works when communication is open, honest, and promotes trust! Establishing this early on is crucial to set the tone of work expectations. Moreover, it is helpful to communicate expected work hours and establish times of communication with the in-house team, since members may be located in varying time zones. During Lawtrades’ most recent community event, “Preparing for an IPO: In-House Best Practices'', Einat Levy, GC at Cherre noted that she prioritizes setting good chemistry with outside counsel, so that she can easily pick up the phone when pertinent issues arise. In this way, communication is a vital piece of flow and success for a cross-functional team.
A first step can be a well-designed onboarding process. This can be as simple as establishing familiarity with in-house team members & flexible employees, as well as setting up the means of communication that best fit the company culture via email, phone-call, slack, notion, etc. Additionally, regularly scheduled team meetings can be a great way to have progress check-ins, allow for a natural flow of questions, and celebrate positive feedback. Our account managers at Lawtrades recommend this once a week, or once every two weeks depending on the hours a team is working. Other ways to promote a sense of inclusion can be through incorporating amusing team-bonding activities such as a zoom happy hour, virtual coffee breaks, or even a bring your pet to work day! Overall, making communication light and engaging makes remote work flow smoother for all parties involved. Finding the best means to integrate this process is one that should be simple and straightforward. Lawtrades’ offers a workspace where communication can easily transpire amongst those in business, and amongst peers within the industry.
Set Specific Goals 📈
Setting goals as a team helps to benefit cross-functionality and allow for the space to expand and diversify. These goals can be short or long term based on the working parameters. Group-oriented goals set the pace for personal goals and increase a sense of purpose within the pace of work. Even if flexible employees stand to work on particular tasks, having regular recognition channels for goals can both empower collaboration and encourage individual collaboration. Kiki Haar, GC of Sumo Logic, spoke on the benefits of transparent goals at a past Lawtrades event: “The division of labor is what you ask it to be”. Thus, being transparent about what needs to be accomplished with flexible employees is the way to go.
No, not just deadlines! Checklists are the most straightforward way to help all members stay organized and on-task when necessary! By strategizing the work that is to be done ahead of time, one can set a practical work-flow and decrease overall procrastination. On the other hand, utilizing checklists allows the parent company to set and manage the pace of work that is being done. Project management tools such as Asana, Monday, or Notion are great in keeping everyone on track and are aware of other projects being undertaken. Operating on a unified workspace allows the best means to implement goals, since both parties can easily interact and check-in on progress.
As communication channels and strategic goals are set, the bulk of the work is done! It can be easy to obsess over deadlines, performance, or engagement when interacting virtually, for strict oversight is not possible. Here’s where trust comes in. Put simply, teams cannot function without trust- as it forms the catalyst for a positive and productive working environment. Trust is tricky enough face-to-face, so it may seem merely impossible in a virtual setting! Yet, when leveraged right it promotes an optimistic working relationship that can be transferred into one for the long-haul!
Leveraging trust is not a one-way road! Trust is subjective and can differ based on who you are engaging with and the circumstances that follow. Even so, practicing ways that promote overall trust for the team can pave the way to individual relationships. First, utilizing “we’re all in the same boat”, or “swift trust” methodology is a positive way to build team functionality. Next, forming personal relationships with every team member is key to building rapport individually. Virtually, this can be done by having a “Take 5”where everyone provides a quick life update, or by beginning meetings with a catchy icebreaker. An often overlooked component of trust is through predictability of communication. As noted above, by saying what you mean, meaning what you say, and doing what you promise- you are sure to form sturdy relationships that accelerate ease of work.
Team- First Mentality 💪
No doubt, you have been told time & time again how working relationships have drastically changed within the past year and a half! Adjusting to online work does not have to be overwhelming. Although remote or flexible members are not a direct part of any in-house structure, establishing a team mentality unites all processes into a well-oiled machine.
Putting the team first should be an everyday practice for management. Luckily, it is super simple! A team mentality is deployed by establishing strong communication channels, setting specific goals, and promoting mutual trust. Most importantly, find your own voice as a leader! According to Hank Greenberg, GC of Oscar Health, this is done by holding personal integrity, so you can wield power in a responsible way that maintains the team structure. Of course, a team is nothing without the members in it…
Are you struggling to fill your legal team with qualified talent? Do you want to be a part of a unified platform that sources vetted talent by legal skills, monitors work performance, and gains insights into analytics to control legal spend? See how Lawtrades can help!