Today is Administrative Professional’s Day. In our firm this is a big deal because it’s our chance as lawyers to celebrate our fantastic support staff who make our jobs easier and create the enjoyable work environment in our firm.
These are not just words we throw around once a year in the hope that our dictation is transcribed the way we intended and our mail is opened in one piece: we are fortunate enough to have an amazing group of support staff who ensure that we are able to give the best legal services possible to our clients.
Christine, Christol & Kelly are three incredible women who take their responsibilities seriously and are able to be light hearted while carrying them out – the three of you are fantastic & you know we appreciate all of you !!!
I believe that part of the reason our firm works well together is that we treat people fairly. We ensure that our expectations for all staff are set out in our Firm Handbook – a document everyone receives when they start working here. The Handbook includes certain mandatory documents regarding Discrimination, Harassment and Occupational Health and Safety – more importantly, it tells people what we expect of them and gives them a bit of insight into the culture of our firm.
We review the work performance of all staff, in writing every 6 months and follow this up with a verbal review at the same time – this is a good chance to ensure that if there are any performance issues, they are addressed before they become serious problems. This is also a chance for the employees to let me know what is going on with them in the firm – feedback is key.
Aside from the formalities I have just described, our firm has an annual Summer Fun day – a chance for everyone to compete to get their name on the plaque in our reception area and believe me, everyone fights to get their name on the plaque as well as our annual charity day in December. We also have informal lunches approximately every month or so to give people a chance to get to know a bit more about their co-workers and raise office issues that apply to everyone.
If your company doesn’t have a work environment that is a positive one, you might benefit from taking a page or two from our book. Feel free to contact our firm to discuss your legal obligations as well as how to apply them in a manner that helps your company come together to work as a team – you can have an enjoyable work environment and yes, your lawyers can help with that.
If you’re reading this blog after April 21, 2010 don’t feel the need to wait until next year to let your support staff know you appreciate them, lunches and cards are not required – a simple, sincere thank-you for the work they do is at the heart of any good work environment.
Inga B. Andriessen, Sr. lawyer