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The Most Overlooked Key to Better & Faster Onboarding

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In today’s competitive environment, the speed and effectiveness of the onboarding of new hires has become a focus for operations and a key to overall performance, growth, and stability for every successful company. Most onboarding plans include the following aspects:

  • Completion of HR paperwork, benefits, and other documentation
  • Overview of firm culture, history, values, and mission
  • Introductions to key staff and the firm organizational structure
  • Development and training of role-specific skills
  • Assignment of a mentor
  • Initiation of touchpoints and accountability throughout the first 30-60-90 days in the new position

There is one key aspect that is frequently overlooked: the unique and essential business processes that every employee must know and follow to be successful.  These processes may be documented in a handbook or communicated verbally and are typically reactive, after the need is present, instead of proactive as part of the onboarding process and related curricula.  Teaching these processes in advance will save time and resources, not to mention a lot of frustration and rework.

Processes vary by company and even by department or role within a company. Here are some critical processes that you will want to document and teach, as part of an optimized onboarding plan for both new hires and those moving into new roles:

Client Intake and Onboarding:
  • Define the process for accepting new clients.
  • Include steps for gathering client information, conflict checks, and engagement letters.
  • Teach employees how to assess potential clients and set expectations.

Legal Research and Case Preparation:
  • Detail the research process, including using legal databases, statutes, and case law.
  • Teach employees how to analyze legal issues and prepare case materials.

File Management and Organization:
  • Describe how to organize case files, documents, and correspondence.
  • Teach employees about version control, naming conventions, and secure storage.

Conflict Resolution and Mediation Process:
  • Document how the firm handles conflicts between clients, staff, or partners.
  • Specify steps for mediation, negotiation, and resolution.
  • Ensure consistency in handling disputes.

Court Filings and Deadlines:
  • Specify procedures for filing court documents, including e-filing.
  • Stress the importance of meeting deadlines.

Continuing Legal Education (CLE):
  • Encourage ongoing learning by documenting CLE requirements.
  • Provide resources for staying updated on legal developments.

Document Retention and Destruction:
  • Specify guidelines for retaining and disposing of legal documents.
  • Teach employees about record retention policies and compliance.

Conflict of Interest Checks:
  • Detail the process for conducting conflict checks before taking on new clients.
  • Explain how to identify potential conflicts and mitigate risks.

Deposition Preparation and Strategy:
  • Describe the steps involved in preparing for depositions.
  • Teach employees effective questioning techniques and how to handle objections.

Case Evaluation and Settlement Negotiation:
  • Outline the process of evaluating cases for settlement.
  • Teach negotiation skills and strategies for achieving favorable outcomes.

Confidentiality Agreements and Non-Disclosure:
  • Educate employees on drafting and enforcing confidentiality agreements.
  • Highlight the importance of protecting client information.

Pro Bono and Community Service:
  • Document procedures for handling pro bono cases and community involvement.
  • Encourage employees to contribute to social causes.

Billing and Invoicing:
  • Document the billing process, including hourly rates, flat fees, and retainer agreements.
  • Explain how to create accurate invoices and track billable hours.

One of the best ways to teach these processes (and many others) is to create two deliverables, that stand as asynchronous support and guides for each process:

  1. High level visual overview of the process, from start to finish
  2. Learning asset that lives in your learning management system that can provide all the necessary details, steps and supporting information, links and references
Together, the visual and specific detailed learning assets will help your new hires and those new to a role quickly understand and adapt to specific firm processes.  With over 29 years of helping firms develop key training, custom content and now Process Training support, Traveling Coaches is your partner to help develop these firm-specific processes training assets to support your effective and optimized onboarding and support model.