Four experts in remote operations and management join PILMMA President and Founder, Ken Hardison, to discuss what you should be doing now to run your firm remotely.
The broadcast is now starting. All attendees are in listen only mode. Good afternoon folks, and welcome to today’s webinar. Sponsored by<inaudible>. We have a nice panel for you today, and we’re going to have a good question and answer session. Before I hand it over to Ken Hardison, our president and founder of pill, mum, just a couple of housekeeping items.
Everyone is in listen only mode. We will be answering questions from parties, from attendees at the end of the session. If you would use the question tab on your software, if we run short of time and we’ve had a lot of questions lately, um, we will, uh, collect those questions and, um, distribute them to our panelists for some answers.
Alright, well, thank you, Eric. And welcome everybody to today’s webinar. It’s a little different format in that we have a panel of a group of Pamela’s group and, uh, we have some really short bonds here today, and we’re going to go over how to get the most out of your remote team. And when we’re talking about going remote,
well, we’ve already had a webinar. So with our coronavirus, um, theories, it was one of the first one we did about five weeks ago. And, uh, the way I’ve seen this thing progress, it’s been, yeah, how are we going to go? How are we going to operate, how we’re going to go remote the practical aspects of that?
And then the next thing was alright, uh, you know, what are we going to do about our marketing and what are we gonna do? Or what are you gonna do about spending the money or whatever? And then it was all about the loans. And of course, we still got the loans coming back, hopefully the politicians who get their act together.
Um, but then what I’m seeing as I talked to lawyers all across the nation is this is a lot of new to them. And they they’re very uneasy about whether or not they’re getting the most out of their employees because they’re not there to manage them. And the other deal is a lot of these people have children that call and you have distractions. And how has that affected the work,
uh, production. So I want each one of you to introduce yourselves and a little bit about your background and then we’ll get started. So we’ll, uh, we’ll start with the bird and then just go clockwise. All right. So Burt Parnell, I’m in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Uh, we’ve got nine lawyers here, team of a total 47. Uh,
this is my right shoulder. So my right hand, man is Greg Abel. I’m a managing attorney at the right hand woman, Ronnie fair. Uh, our, uh, lead paralegal, um, manages operations, um, as well. So, uh, we were almost remote. We three are here, we’ve got three others, but everybody else is in the offices remote.
Okay, Ted. Hello, everyone. Tanner Jones. I’m vice president of business development at consult webs and consult webs has been remote based since 1999. So, so we’ve been working remotely for quite some time and hopefully we have a few few tips to share and Eric will introduce himself. He’s also with consult webs. Sure. Thanks Ken. Thanks Tanner.
My name is Eric welcome the director of client services here at consult. So in this department we handle obviously client services, which is an amalgamation of a few different things. So we have the client facing roles. Um, what you typically call customer service. We have project management and then we also have technical SEO delivery. So overall we have a multifunctional department I’ve personally been working remote since grad school in about 2010.
So it’s a, it’s an environment I’ve done pretty well situated as well. Jocelyn I’m Jocelyn Roland. I work with attorney Diane Sawyer in Denver, Colorado. Um, we have about three attorneys and 25 staff members. Um, I went to law school and have my JD and practiced in Ohio. But what I do here in Colorado is I run the firm.
And so I do all from administration. Interestingly, before the coronavirus back in 2014, I actually worked remotely for Diane for about two years from Tennessee while the office was still in Denver. So I had some prior experience with remote working and, um, so it was kind of an easy transition for us in our office to get all of our employees set up and going forward.
Right. And, uh, and Eric, uh, introduced me earlier, Ken hardass and I’m president founder of pill mill. And we’ve actually been remote for about two years now. Uh, well, we got some things here today, people here that it’s got experience with it some more than others, but, uh, and we’ve got low lawyers that are actually built remote in the last five weeks.
So I want to go around and ask each of you, I think the way I want to do this. And I just figured this out myself, we talked about it when we started, but I want to ask each one of you, maybe a question. And then after you get to ask them that question, if anybody’s got anything to add, they can jump on it.
So, so far I want to talk about the basics forest. Uh, what was the biggest challenge y’all had when you were going remote forest? Just getting everything, the physical part of it. And is there anything still wedding ring that you you’re trying to get the bugs out? Uh, I don’t even really let’s see. It was not that challenging,
I guess, you know, there were just some technological hoops to jump and make sure everybody, our it company, we had a great one and they set us to everybody up. They remoted into their computer at home so they could get their remote desktop server connection at work. And, uh, I think the main challenge was just continuing the culture of accountability.
Um, the continuing challenges, um, kind of seeing whether we can connect with each other at the touch of a button. Uh, and right now we’re trying to figure out whether we’re going to do that through a zoom with, uh, um, the, uh, invite feature or a Microsoft teams, but another technological thing really Jocelyn, how about y’all?
So our challenge in our office was just our employees and their own equipment in their homes. Um, I had some employees who had max. I had some who didn’t have computers. I had some who had laptops. So in order to get everybody in staff with a fully functioning home office, um, we had to do a variety of things. Um,
I had to, I had to give some of our office laptops to some staff members so they could use those. Um, we had to, I made sure everybody wasn’t working off a laptop in their homes, um, made sure everyone had mice and keyboard to attach to their laptops and monitors. So some of my employees took equipment from the office home to set their stations up and then others,
we just modified the equipment they had at their houses. So that was one challenge was just figuring out what each individual person needed. Um, another challenge was we’re not on the cloud, so we’re still using a server. And with using a server, I had to make sure that I increased the, um, Ram on the server. So that way it could accommodate 25 people on our terminal server at once.
I also had to increase our bandwidth on our internet connection for upload and download speed so that the terminal server could work appropriately for those from home. So it was a lot of technical things and we just had to make sure right when the current virus started, I immediately jumped on that with my technology company. What do we need before everyone has to start going home?
And so we got all of that set up. So that was a challenge. And then like Burt said, accountability, just making sure everyone is working, although we’ve had to modify schedules a little bit. Um, so those with children can’t work straight eight hours. It’s just not possible. So we’ve had to modify schedules to allow people maybe to do earlier in the morning or later in the afternoons or mix up their hours on Saturdays and Sundays.
So they could accommodate the breaks that they need to do while they’re homeschooling their children. Me included. So I have five kids at home and trying to homeschool and work full time. It, you just can’t work at a straight solid day. You have to break it up. Right. So, so Eric and Tanner got a question for you, cause this is like the Y’all touched on.
So how do you deal with the fact that, you know, great companies, great law firms have great culture. Yeah, I know. And I know that the two lawyers here, their firms have great cultures cause I’ve been to them. Um, and, and like really built some great teams and it would scare me if I had that great team and everything,
cultural unit and everybody playing as a team. And then I’m just like up fragmenting it across, you know, and I got all these little pods sitting around and then there’s nobody to get up and walk over to asked about it, you know, got a problem with this or that, or the boarding watercolor deal, whatever. So I want to ask you how consult webs has been able to run a company for a,
I guess, 20 over 20 years and build a good culture. Cause I know y’all have a good work culture too. So have you all been able to do that? Sure. I can answer that. It’s it comes down to, I think communication, you know, in every business environment and every human environment. And I think communication is always the number one challenge and in a remote environment where you don’t see each other day to day,
you can’t have the side chats pop into somebody’s office. You don’t, can’t go out to lunch with each other, right? You don’t get that natural relationship building that occurs. So some of the things we’ve done, um, well we’ve had a pretty good structure. We have a standardized communications plan. So in this department we have about 40 people. I lead a,
a Monday morning meeting. We call it the weekly war room just to kind of set the direction we go over news and announcements. We’ll invite, we’ll have guest speakers in terms of, you know, major vendors this department uses. And we’ve also done started the series where we’re inviting other department leads to come in and just share day to day of what their department’s like again,
because none of our team has ever really spent time inside that department because we are scattered across the country. So that is really good again for setting the week and just for, for good knowledge sharing, we do a Tuesday morning department management meeting and then we have six core teams in this department. They do twice weekly stand ups. So those stand-ups the format is,
is each it’s a round Robin where each team member gets two minutes to answer the questions. What have I completed since the last standup? What am I going to do before the next standup? And what are the roadblocks currently blocking me from success? So with that, it kind of builds in like Burt was just saying a culture of accountability because you’re giving the verbal commitment,
Oh, this is what I’m planning to accomplish. Knowing that I have to report on it to my peers, as well as my manager that’s on those meetings twice weekly and all of those meetings are, are done on video, right? I think it’s extremely important that when you are remote, you have three or four touch points with the broader team and your immediate team.
So you actually see each other’s faces and not just, you know, get a little lazy and then rely on regular phone calls. Right? The video connection is, is really important for us. Um, the other things we do is we do have in terms of accountability and communications and re reinforcing that culture is we have publicly visible scorecards that is internal to it,
every team member in the company. And then I also do a monthly review with each team on their specific scorecard. So making sure they’re hitting all their numbers, meeting their metrics and if not, then we can drill down and see, you know, is it, is it they’re lacking in resources or, or why do we miss the Mark? Right.
And then in addition to that, I also do weekly one on ones with all of the managers, from all the different teams in this department. And those are really effective. And I also, no a lot of the managers do either monthly or twice monthly, one on ones with them, well are team members. So with that, we’re, we’re,
you know, kind of charting the direction with them weekly Monday call we’re making sure management is talking in the Tuesday, call. The accountability comes in at the team level from the standups and the score card. And then also we have the one-on-ones because he didn’t need the one on one conversations. Right. And just regular FaceTime with everybody. Um, especially when you’re a leader,
I think we, we did try doing it twice monthly and that just wasn’t announced when you’re in a leadership position. There’s, there’s a lot more moving parts and weekly, has it been a good cadence for us, but in the case where it’s a manager and a frontline team member, then they do typically twice monthly has been a good cadence for those.
Yep. Well, the scorecard, I got one follow up question, then Go call. And like the one that they talk about in the book top grading, I’m not, I’m not familiar with that book in particular, but it, so with us being client services, it, it captures client ROI on a campaign by campaign based campaign basis. And we look at the 13 month trend in terms of leads and case data.
And on the SEO side, obviously, rankings, we also look at client communication, are we logging our calls, we record most client calls and make sure they’re all logged. Um, and then we also look at email in terms of how quickly are we responding to emails? Has it been, you know, a week or so since we’ve, since a client’s heard from us and just making sure that we’re doing our job to communicate where the campaign is at and how things are progressing and making sure that the things that need approval and review by our clients are also getting taken care of.
So that’s a very functional kind of custom built scorecard for us, making sure we’re serving our clients. Yeah, just, just one quick point on the scorecard too. Obviously it’s going to be different for every key team member, Every individual role. And so certainly there is a ramp up period, and it’s going to start with the job description and the key results areas.
What are they accountable to? What are those daily or weekly actions and being able to, to rate based on that. But, but the bigger picture, I think it’s important to stress that, you know, culture, that this is something that’s that recurring theme culture is a lot of, a lot of the nonverbal actions that you are taking as a,
as a leader, as a managing attorney at your firm. Those are setting culture within the office coming in at a certain time, leaving at a certain time, having, having a certain diligence in, in your efforts, um, you know, going up, patting people on the back, um, recognizing successes, uh, those are things that I would implore you not to lose when you go remote,
because it’s so easy to, to, to forget those, those aspects and how important culture is in terms of just keeping people motivated. Uh, that’s such a big factor in, and unless you are being intentional about that and really working to draw feedback from the team and asking your staff members, your attorneys, what do you feel we’re missing? Anything else we can do to really encourage or to set further culture,
seek that feedback and really show your team and your office that you’re working hard, uh, to be able to maintain the culture you’ve already established. Yeah. And I think, you know, they say that like the number one reason people leave a company is because they don’t feel appreciated and they need that affirmation and appreciation. And I would suggest to people out there that if you do what we call,
I used to call them shout outs and somebody does something good. You do, you know, just an email to the team. We have a theme email, like a theme film. So, you know, send it, whether it be a manager or a, non-manager see somebody doing something great or doing something beyond what their call for, do a shout out.
It makes them feel good. People love praise in public praise. So I make that same feeling, get a deal that he’ll help when the culture cause like you said, you know, the Pat on the backs and people love that. I mean, you know, that’s, that’s, that’s what makes people it’s about just the money it’s just feeling appreciated.
Mmm. So you were talking about the ups and I was thinking, you said two minutes standups, a film where we really pushing, I’ve been pushing your masterminds and different things, uh, Verne Harnish’s the Rockefeller habits and scaling up part of that. They call it the, uh, the, the huddle, the daily huddle. And uh, so I’ve got a,
both Jocelyn and Bert are doing some form of that. Can y’all tell us why. Cause communication, I think is like the big deal or lack thereof to really, you know, you’re talking about holding people accountable. Can, uh, well, let ladies go first this time jobs, when you go and then Burt, you tell her how y’all doing.
Yeah. So we are also, yeah, we definitely doing the huddle. We do it once a week and you’re right. Eric videos best. So we’re doing ours staff meetings every Thursday morning through zoom and we start the staff meeting with the huddle and we do the win loss stop and everyone discusses the concerns they’ve had for the week. Um, but also to keep our culture.
And one of the other things we’re doing at our staff meetings is every, every week I come up with the topic of a fact about yourself to share. So like last week after our huddle, everyone also described the most fun moment they’ve had in their life. So that allowed for some engagement and some social discussion to keep everyone connected. I think the week before we chose the fact about your greatest fear,
and I know this has nothing to do with work, but that’s the point. The point was getting everyone talking and laughing and discussing different things. Plus I also have several new staff members, one that I had started while we’ve been at the stay at home. And so for her to actually feel a part of the team, we wanted to have some discussions about,
you know, just different things about each person so that she could start to meet people through zoom. So when we do go back to the office, she, it doesn’t feel so uncomfortable for her and some other staff members who started about a week or two before the stay at home. So those are, um, so we’re doing the huddle. Um,
once a week, in addition to that, we’re also, I’m also doing, um, individual meetings with all staff members once a week. So we have it scheduled on the calendar once a week, I meet and we do a zoom meeting, a face to face, and we just discuss any concerns that they have challenges on their cases, talk about their clients.
And I did that individually with each, each paralegal and staff member. And then, um, in addition to that, I’m doing continuing training for all staff, just kind of refreshing different policies and different procedures modifying those. And about twice a week, I’m setting up training sessions for various departments and we’re just renewing and cleaning up our procedures and discussing how to make things better and more efficient.
So those are some of the things that we’re doing to keep our culture and to keep people engaged with each other throughout the week. And I have a lot of individuals who don’t have family members they’re on their own, so they’re home alone all the time. And so it’s, they really get excited when we do these meetings because it allows them time to engage.
Thank you. Okay. So here’s where the rubber meets the road. Um, That was, uh, I think our main, um, um, the main benefit of what we had before, uh, carried into what we are now, which was, uh, the team organization. And so we had already started. And so we have continued, uh,
to maintain these daily huddles between team leads and their teams. So we had fortunately already organized our entire structure into, uh, teams with team leads for the, uh, case managers, Prelip lit settlement, paralegals intake, team, medical records, attorneys, et cetera. So, um, in addition to our Tuesday and Friday, firm-wide huddles, we now we then,
and still now have, uh, daily mini team huddles at 8:00 AM every day. Like you said, by video, everybody needs to be there by a video. So Greg will meet with the attorneys and me, Ronnie will meet with her team Sophia with hers, et cetera, at 8:00 AM every day, like Tanner said, it’s, it’s a matter of showing up,
right? So we want to make sure they’re dressed and ready. You know, they can’t be in their PJ’s, et cetera. Um, uh, and then every day at one 30, we have a check in as well. So again, daily huddle at eight check in at one 30, the daily huddle between team leads and their team members is the Rockefeller habits,
Verne Harnish, where you go through, what are you doing today? Uh, and what are you stuck on? And, uh, it was pretty quick. Um, and they, they can, you know, get into some details if there’s some challenges they need to talk about them. Um, now the check-ins at one 30 because of this, you know,
very different, you know, uh, uh, situation. We’re all in having to be, uh, isolated. It’s just a chance to get together among your team members and chat for awhile. And it’s loosely structured. You just chat about anything. We still have our Tuesday and Friday firm-wide huddles in the morning where I go through a win, a stop and a priority.
Um, I’ve made, I’ve made sure that everybody’s on video. A few people were getting up mainly the attorneys to go get their coffee. I told them, please stop doing that. Everybody’s should be, uh, you know, attend, be engaged, pay attention, et cetera. Um, you know, I, I just want to mention that I think it comes down to the firm’s values.
You can figure out how to do it, do this, but really it comes down to your values. We have, uh, our five teas or five teas are teamwork, talent, truth, tenacity, and triumph, you know, and we do live by them. And that teamwork element that we hit hard to transfer the truth is transparency. We hit hard and everybody’s accountable to each other.
I like Eric’s scorecards and we have those two, but I’m not sure we measure them and meet with them weekly. So I’m going to think about that. I wrote that down. Um, but that culture sure of resilience and accountability now that we’re all remote, it takes, they take care of each other. Um, and they know that they’re supposed to do certain things and that supports the rest of the team.
Um, you know, I ha I noticed that you had, you were mentioning some, uh, productivity monitoring software. I had been looking into Tara mind and I know there are a couple of others, but ultimately I’m not a micromanager. And I think that it will do more harm than good. Um, because, you know, there’s, it’s,
it’s just so hard to measure that. I’m curious just to ask, uh, Eric and Tanner, whether they use that, but, uh, I’m just, I’m, I’m very reluctant to do that. And I’m just going to rely on the, the, um, you know, the intrinsic values of my, my team, uh, with the caveat trust,
but verify, right? So we do have needles, uh, productivity tools to measure what, how many messages and what types of messages they’re, they’re creating as well as the checklist items they’re getting through. And they have access to those numbers. Each person who is being measured has access to those numbers so that they can, uh, uh, they know they,
you know, so that they know how they know they have to perform, but it’s not as I think, uh, um, it’s not as invasive as the other monitoring softwares. So, uh, uh, I did want to let Greg talk about some of the other meetings concerning how the standard, uh, that he, uh, that he does.
So we’ve tried to mirror what we did in house, but just do it over zoom. I’ll just give you a few examples. I meet with each one of the attorneys every week for at least a half hour, just to go over what their cases are, where they’re at in negotiations and things where they’re added in litigation matters. Then every Tuesday afternoon,
Ronnie and I sit down and meet with each one of the paralegals individually. We usually have a section of our dashboard that we cover, for example, treatment or prep or whatever it happens to be for that week, so that we can touch base on each one of their cases that are out of standard. And what we mean by out of standard is why has it been there so long?
What can we do to help you get this case moved along? Um, and then on every Friday we have a out of standard meeting with our intake department, Ronnie I and Burke sit down and talk with them to see what we can do to try to land more cases or to convince people that are on the fence to come with us. And then twice a month,
we have out of standard meeting for our settlement paralegals. Um, those are the people that get the money out the door for us, obviously. And we have those meetings with them right after payroll closes. So we can start working on the next payroll period. It was interesting that you mentioned Ken about people calling each other out. We just had our Tuesday morning hold just a couple hours ago,
and I bet a good half of the wins that people had was them thanking other people for doing something for them that they couldn’t do because of the remote connection. Um, That is the, uh, there, there are many things that I think have helped us be successful in terms of our culture, but I’ve heard so many times that it’s, it’s about acknowledging and appreciating the people who do the work and all,
everybody, the employees, I can’t do that one on one to everybody. And even if I did it wouldn’t be as meaningful because they work with other people here. And so our Tuesday and Friday huddles organically have evolved into a situation where everybody’s just thanking each other from left to right across the board. And that is one of the most powerful ways I know of,
uh, of, um, engage, keeping and maintaining and making engaged employees. So I got, I got two follow up questions. One is, uh, w why do you think they’re doing so much in this stake in each other? Because I mean, you not, you hadn’t said that rule, we’ve got sort of encouraging each other. Okay.
So I got my ideas, but I want to hear what your idea is. Cause it feels good. And every it’s just developed that way. You know, the word culture means the way we do things, right. That’s what I think culture basically means the way we do things. And it’s just happens to have become the way we do things. So some people started it and,
uh, it just snowballed. And so now people come to expect and, uh, to expect to be thanked or want to thank other people. And once somebody, somebody thinks, you know, you or me, you think, Oh, well, that’s kind of a nice feeling. So I’m going to do that back. Yeah. I think it’s got a lot,
dude, and everybody don’t know your process, but I’ve been at Morris office two or three times over the last three, four years. He’s got one of the most sophisticated hiring systems, uh, that I’ve ever seen in onboarding. Uh, and, uh, to get a job with him, you gotta go, you gotta really want a job with him.
And I think it also, you really look at to their values, that it matches up with your core values, which I think is key because you can teach skills that you can’t teach that, you know, what’s in your heart. Um, now one thing, uh, Greg, you were talking about, Mmm, what was it called? Uh,
out of a, of bales, but out of a, yeah. How, how do you, what’s your definition about a standard? Well, it’s different on each category. For example, if a person has been treating for more than 120 days, we want to be talking with the paralegal to find out what’s going on. Is there enough treatment already that we could get a minimum policy?
Whatever the circumstances have to be. If a case has been settled for more than a week, we want to know basically where’s our money. Um, you know, what’s going on with the case. So each category on our dashboard has a different timeframe for what’s out of standard and out of standard doesn’t mean there’s necessarily anything wrong. It means management needs to look at it.
And a lot of times, you know, people are severely injured, 120 days. This isn’t enough and there’s plenty of insurance coverage. So we just move it out for another 60, 90 days, whatever seems appropriate to it. But it’s just a shorthand that we have for management needs to be looking at this case. So sort of like a benchmark that hasn’t been made,
but there’s not mean it’s bad. It just means that it’s not within our normal benchmark from 120 days. That’s exactly right. You’ve admitted more from different things like getting medical records in or correct. Yeah. We’ll get him getting demands. I’ll send me, they have to release. Okay. I got you afternoon. So, so, um, I know people are there thinking,
damn, these people, all they do is meet them. How do you ever get anything done? So once your answer, I mean, really, like I said, they, they need all the time when they get any work there, but I know you get work done cause I know your operations, but can you tell us? Cause some people will say,
Oh, I hate meetings. You know, they’re worthless, it’s everybody talking about, nobody’s getting anything done Well for our, um, you know, our, our, our daily team huddles are five, 10 minutes are our, we, our firm-wide huddles Tuesday and Fridays. They used to be 20 now with zoom, it’s 30, but people love them.
And there’s an agenda, which is they, you know, we do a wind stop and priority for each employee and they take about, you know, I don’t know, 20 to 30 seconds. Um, and then I, I go on a little bit longer just to know that, let the organization know what what’s in my head, what we’re doing,
how we’re doing, et cetera. Uh, but as far as the out of standard meetings, I don’t know. I think the meetings that, uh, Greg and Ronnie have for out a standard with paralegals or on settlements, those, those really helped because that’s when they took their, they put their attention on things that should be moving in art. So they give them ideas on how to,
uh, how to move things. And so there, that’s very productive. We do have some other meetings, like my executive team and team leads. We have agendas. We, uh, I actually published the agenda that the whole firm can see what we’re going to be talking about. We try and, um, and it, it takes a little while,
every week we meet. But, uh, I w I did want to, I was thinking, um, just today we had our meeting before this webinar, and that’s a time when we can put our heads together and think, okay, how can we support our employees? And we’re talking about, you know, do we just, do we give everybody one monitor and they use their laptop,
or do we get everybody two monitors? And so what’s the, you know, cost benefit, uh, evaluation there. And, uh, I lean toward the side of let’s, let’s just give them all the tools they needs and give them dual monitors and not skimp on the cost in terms of, uh, weight when I weigh up their, uh,
potential for prep productivity. Um, so anyway, um, we, you know, we try to not go, not go on ad nauseum. Uh, we try and have an agenda. That’s how we try and avoid, uh, um, you know, overly lengthy meetings. Yeah. So, so with pill mill, what we do, we really followed the Rockefeller habits to the core.
We have a daily huddle that lasts probably six, seven minutes every day at nine 37 every morning, because we have some people in the mountain zone. And so they’re going to work at seven 30 to two hours behinds. And, uh, we do a weekly meeting that lasts about 40 minutes, 40 to 45. And then we do a monthly meeting that lamps,
probably a couple hours. And then we have a quarterly meeting that’s where we really do our quarterly plan. And then that can last a day, you know, you know, whatever. But, uh, so getting back to accountability of, and I wanted to ask, uh, a pattern and Eric, do y’all guys use any kind of software? Like,
uh, those kind of like, or somebody call it where I think it was just him yesterday. We do not. Um, we, we do manual time tracking. So we have just like burden. I appreciate the, especially the standardized agendas. Um, but also the, The spy ware mentality. Right. You know, privacy is a big thing online just in general.
Right. And, and when you’re working from your home office, it’s, it’s a workplace, but it’s also a private home. Right. Um, and it’s, it’s something we’ve considered more than a few times. We, we did kind of last year, we tested an AI solution. It was a Chrome extension that did automated time tracking, but it was all just browser activity.
Right. So it was kind of there’s some, if you’re anything else out of the browser wouldn’t track and you had to go through and white list, all of the domains that it would track, if you were on, you know, amazon.com over lunch break, it’s not going to track that time. Um, so there are some kind of automated extension Chrome extensions where you can track browser activity.
We have looked at things like Hubstaff where it’s, you know, a downloadable application and attracts all activity globally. Whatever’s going on on your computer. And we’ve always shied away from that because like, like Burt indicated, I think it’s just, it can kill your culture, or it’s at least a big risk if it’s not implemented the right way. Um,
so we’ve, we’ve kind of shied away from that in favor of making the right hires, looking at the results and having good productivity initiatives combined with the manual time tracking. Yeah. You’ve got your scorecards and you’ve got your what’d you call them. I keep them on, call it out of bounds, but it’s out. I’ll get it. Before we finish the sentence.
What do you do to hold people accountable? What kind of reports and things that you look at? Yeah. So one of the things that I do to help with culture and hold accountability is we do daily challenges. So I’ll send an email out at 8:00 AM and send to everyone in the whole group and say, what’s your, what’s your goal for today?
What’s your challenge? And what’s your goal for today? And then by five o’clock every day, everybody responds saying, did they meet their goal or not? And the attorneys do it. The staff does it, and you should see how many smiley faces and exclamation marks I get on these responses when someone meets their goal. And I think that’s really been helpful.
Um, they’ll say specifically, I want to get this demand out, or my plan is to settle this case, and then we get those responses. So I’ve been doing that since we’ve started the stay at home. And I think that’s been successful in terms of accountability. I’ve told staff and I’ve even shown them by sharing my screen that I have access to everyone’s email boxes.
So they know I do. They know I can see what goes in, what comes out. And that’s just always been the norm even before working remotely. But I did mention to them, you know, I’m just going to help because I have a lot of the staff members. I will go through emails, I’ll check to see if I can help you out with anything.
And that also helps me see that there’s work being done. The emails are coming in, they’re being read, and then emails are going out in response. So I don’t make a big deal of it because I don’t want to kill the culture. So it’s not like every day I’m saying, well, I checked your email today. But if I, for the ones I’ve seen a concern,
like one employee only had like 10 emails in an eight hour period. I’m like, so I just called him. And I said, Hey, you know, I noticed and trying to see how I can help you out. You didn’t have a lot that went out today. What are you stuck on? Or are you doing a demand or what’s the situation?
So I got to talk to him and he basically explained that he’s just so overwhelmed with so many different tasks. He didn’t know where to start. So he spent his whole day doing one task and didn’t touch anything else. And I said, well, that’s not necessarily the best technique. Um, maybe split the day in half so that you don’t get piled up on one area.
So it helped engage conversation on how to make his work structure better. Um, other things that we have, we use needles just like Burt and needles allows me to pull reports to see to what checklists have been done. So I’ll look at those and I try to compare the same positions to each other for a little more to make it a little more fair.
If someone’s really out of bounds compared to the other five paralegals, then that’s someone I just have a discussion with. So I pull noodles reports, I look at their, um, I look at their emails coming in and out, and then we do our daily goal. And I see if they’re meeting their daily goals or not. Yeah. Because if correct me if I’m wrong,
but if I remember needles, when they go in, when they opened up their computer, it has a baby bat, a due date. And if it’s behind, it’s in red or whatever, you have access to that too. And then also it has no reports in, do you use the note reports to see how many notes? Yeah, I definitely pulling out reports cause,
um, through the history of this firm, you know, I’ve always looked at these reports so I can tell about how many notes should be placed in a case or in cases by each paralegal. So I have an average that I can look at and then I just compare everyone’s reports to that average. I don’t do it daily. I don’t have time to do it daily,
but I’ll do it weekly just to keep a lookout for the week and how it’s going. So you can tell if someone’s really depressed and just not working because there’s nothing there there’s only a couple items. Um, and that just helps lead into a conversation to discuss what the issues are. Yeah. So yeah, definitely needle’s has been a great asset for this because they do have premade reports,
some even have smiley faces and frowny faces. If their checklists are way out of date or if they’re within their checklist. Um, and you can also pull a in specific types of work that people are doing. So you can pull a report to see a certain checklist item, say demands versus disbursements. And you can tell a little they’re doing great and disbursements,
but they haven’t touched a single demand. So that helps you in communicating with them, how to structure their day. Yeah. So, uh, anybody, any of our panelists got anything else. And before we start taking questions, uh, something that I should have asked you, I can talk a little bit on the productivity. Um, so hi guys,
we have the dashboard that IX, you know, it takes the data from needles and puts it into charts for you. And so I’ve got a little useful with the team is that when they’re behind, um, you can take snips, you can send it to the team and say, you know, here’s what you guys are lacking on. When they see their numbers next to all the numbers of their team,
what’s turned out really well for me is they kind of entered into these little friendly competitions. So their productivity level has gone way up when they see the numbers next to everyone, else’s then it’s given to everyone as a team. Um, nobody wants to have, you know, the most quiet contacts out of standards. So it becomes work. It becomes work.
But if you give them that data, you share it with them, with the whole team. Um, it really makes a big difference. We’ve done the same. We’ve we’ve done the same where we’ve had challenges, how many, you know, how many demands can you get out this week? And we share everybody’s numbers. And then the next week you can tell who was behind and how they caught up.
The other thing that, um, I think with everybody being remote, it’s kind of taken a toll on everybody mentally. And when I’ve noticed that there’s been a lot of like complaining about a specific issue or a team members or whatnot, I’ve instituted challenges. If I see that one person is complaining a lot or always in a negative state of mind, I will challenge them by the end of the day,
give me an assignment that somebody else can help you with. This is not a request. This is a demand. And at the same time, and if it’s not one person always complaining about another person, I give them another challenge. By the end of the day, you figure out something that this person has done really well and you choose to recognize that person and give them a compliment over BCC me.
So, and then they’ll do this. And you wouldn’t, you wouldn’t imagine how it just kind of changes their frame of mind, the negative five there. That’s good. I mean, just like, just like we talked about on the culture of encouragement, encouragement is contagious and, and when others hear it, they, they to give it as well.
But the same is true with the pessimism and negativity. It breeds negativity. So I love hearing that. It’s a great idea. So I was like, Ronnie, doesn’t encourage them to encourage, he demands that you put them on the spot. They do it, they, it may be done, um, not as willingly as you’d like, but then all of a sudden you’ll see a change in them.
And then it comes out in another way. It changes their frame of mind just a bit. And then you’ll see it develop into something more positive. That’s great. I like that. That’s a great tip. Mmm. You know, and I, I do think this, I can, I can, no, we’ve been remote and I don’t know if y’all seen this Tanner,
but, uh, everybody’s spouses and children’s home. And I just think people are getting a little bit more, uh, uh, patients wise. I mean, you know, uh, come see, you gotta stay stressed ahead at work, but at home. And then they got the kids over here and the spouse over here, or the boyfriend or girlfriend,
and they’re to get the work done. And it’s like a job. I’m gonna say it. I still got to do the homeschooling. I had to, you know, make lunch for them or whatever the deal is. I mean, you know, post route and get in my eight hours a day. And it’s, it’s a stressful, and I think,
uh, he can get on your nerves. Uh, you know, I know some firms, the lawyers even are doing like a five o’clock, uh, cocktail hour and then they get on zoom and they had cocktails and just BS, just to knock down some of the stress instead of going to the local cheers bar, I guess they’re doing it. Well,
one thing I’ll, I’ll add to that, Ken, just, just real quickly. It’s just the idea of, um, if, if you haven’t as a firm ever implemented anything, like what you’re talking about, something unique, something fun that’s outside of business. As you know, it it’s gonna feel awkward and I’ve, I’ve totally realized that. But I think it,
as a business owner, as a leader in your firm, it’s so important to be able to think outside the box there and pull your team members away from work mentally every once in a while, and really stress the value of getting out, get outside, see the sunshine exercise, because at the end of the day, we all know, especially being in a business,
that’s been remote based. You look up and it’s seven, 7:30 PM before you know it, and, and you, you haven’t even gotten up and away from the computer. So unless you’re intentionally doing this, um, your productivity is going to diminish dramatically. And that’s why it’s so important to just continue to encourage that with the team and even, you know,
throw in some contests, be, be unique, get the team engaged in areas outside the business. And I know it’ll lead to more productivity Tanner. I wanted to add to that something we’re starting this week for our staff to get them up and moving is Diane’s actually having one of the trainers. She knows do 30 minute stretch sessions via zoom with the staff.
So once a week, 30 minutes on a Thursday afternoon, everyone’s going to zoom on in to watch a trainer, teach us all how to do various stretches to get us moving around. That’s good. Okay. Got any questions, Eric? We do have a couple, the first one is, um, goes to employee morale. And the question is doesn’t holding employees accountable so closely give them a sense that you don’t trust them.
Like I said, I’m, they know I’m looking at it. It’s not that I don’t trust them. And I explained that to them. It’s more so I want to be there as support and a resource for them. And a lot of people have a hard time asking for help because they’re very proud of what they do. So I try to tone it as I’m actually,
I’m looking to see how I can help you. And so I saw that you were struggling with this one client. So how about I make the phone call to them and see if I can help you get past that. So I try to, I try to explain it. It’s a dual purpose. I’m not just checking in on that. I’m more so looking to see how I can help them since I’m not across the hallway for them to step up and walk over to me,
That’s a good point. And it is, it is as a leader, I think you have to make sure you’re doing everything you can to set them up for success first, right before you, you come down on them. Um, so asking, you know, what, what resources do you need? How can we help? And it’s also, I think,
a matter of having the right people on the bus, you know, the, the eight players naturally want accountability. They want to be able to, to perform and do well and, and get that personal satisfaction. Right? So if you have, if you have good hiring processes and you have the right players, they’re going to naturally be a good cultural fit,
as long as you’ve clearly defined that upfront and taking care of that in the interviewing and hiring process. Okay. Another question for those of you using needles, are you using the cloud based or server based server based Where still using server based? Okay. Other question, have you considered a chat software program for staff to talk to each other? So, um,
I am considering Microsoft teams, which you can chat and you can also video call remotely. There are some kinks, so I don’t know that it will work with, uh, people working remotely in terms of the video calls. Um, I haven’t thought about it just exclusively for chat. Maybe that’s a decent idea. And, uh, so we may,
we may look into that We’re using teams. So I’m definitely using teams in Burt. You’re right. In terms of trying to use teams on the RDS, if they’re remoting in to your server, you can’t really use teams on that. So I’ve instructed staff, at least for us. I don’t know, consult webs. If you guys hadn’t worked with yours,
but for us, um, well we’ll just have to hop on teams on their regular computer, not through the server. And we’ve been doing all of our video, a lot of our video chats, um, through teams. And we also have that same chat feature. So if you have Microsoft office three 65, then you already have teams. It’s just a matter of getting it downloaded and start using it.
And it’s been great. I get, it allows you to leave messages for people when you call them. If they don’t answer, it allows you to chat back and forth. They tells you if they’re online or offline or busy in a meeting and it allows you to call or video call them. Yeah. And, you know, we use zoom basically for everything.
It has chat, it has team meetings, you know, you can do the group calls. And then for us, it’s also important to have a phone calling function. So has VIP. And instead of having multiple communications applications, we have basically zoom in email and it’s just has really streamlined the way, the way we communicate and the status feature on it.
It’s really helpful too. Especially not being Able to walk into someone’s office store, you know, knowing if somebody shows, if somebody is on a call on an active call. So you’re not, you know, you’re discouraged to interrupt. Um, you can go on busy, um, or a way. And so it’s just a good way to, again,
adding a layer of accountability, but also keeping open communication, going. There’s a question for any of the panelists. Are you familiar with a piece of software called Bonusly? Greg Herman uses it in Texas. So I don’t know much more than that. Yeah, go ahead. If you haven’t used it. So the, yeah, it’s an employee recognition software where,
well, you can, you can give points and kind of, you know, if somebody helps somebody solve a problem, then you know, peer, whatever the relationship is, they can give each other points and then you can use those on rewards. We have not implemented that. It is something we have looked at. I believe it was three or four months ago.
And it’s something that we have strongly considered putting it on our roadmap. Another question. Yeah, we looked at it. We decided not to do it, that the shout outs were better for us. Uh, we were afraid that somebody might try the game together and give you, we’ll give you all Without him all get drunk. Are any of the panelists or whatever,
have resources available to PI attorneys regarding standards and benchmarks. This listener says that her attorneys have problems assessing cases early and mid point in the cases to determine when to counsel the client about treatment. Anyone want to take that one? I don’t know of any software or anything. Yeah. Our system is set it. You know, it’s going to be like for our specific,
you know, depending on what kind of cases or whatever, but, uh, you, you know, I can tell you, I can tell you what I see across the country. And that is, and somebody gets released. You need to get the medical records in within 45 days. And that’s a benchmark. Then after you get the record, then you should have a demand out in another 45 days,
30 to 45 days. And that could be a Mitch Mark. And then you either have it settled or in litigation within 90 days. And that’s the bitch part, but there’s exceptions like Greg was saying, it might be out of standard, but the problem, I have a good reason. Maybe they wanted to get another doctor’s statement or something, or maybe they wanted to do this,
but the deal I can tell you what the norm is. And, uh, and no, that is the norm. How long somebody treats, you just don’t know depends on the injury. I mean, you know, uh, I mean, I can tell you, normally I used to have, if a guy was going to a chiropractor, if people better in release it,
eight weeks, I wanted the chiropractor refer him to the neurologist or neurosurgeon or orthopedic surgeon, because I just felt like it was going to hurt the case. And I felt like this, guy’s not better at eight weeks, he’s got something more serious wound. And then the chiropractor can handle it when he needs to get to a specialist specialist. But that’s the kind of things that there’s no book out there about them.
There’s no software out there about it that I know of. I mean, it’s just the, you know, my big deal was you had to have the file set up and then all the rhetoric, all the letters out, and don’t notice getting reports in the actual report and different things within like five days. So you can set it up, however you want to for your firm,
whatever you think works. But the deal is, uh, you’ve got to have standards. Uh, what didn’t, how can you have out of standard reports? Right. I think we just make sure that we’re connecting with our clients at least once every two to three weeks, those that are in the treatment phase to make sure nothing’s falling through the cracks,
especially now when they can’t actively go treat as if they were before. Yep. And when I had my social security, I had so much volume. I could not, we were trying to call them every 30 days and then we just couldn’t get it. We’ll been doing about him 60 days. Cause there’s a difference when a case managers Hammond 300 cases versus eight year of 120.
And so we, uh, set up a hotline for my call and leave a message of what they went to the doctor or the doctor told them, uh, it was a separate 800 number just for then the call and I’ve put it on a magnet so they can put it on the refrigerator city, what we get ever lose to number. And I said,
this way, keep up. Did you got a call in at every doctor’s appointment? Tell me what they said. Well, you know, give me an update. Um, now on the PI cases, I wanted to large and talk to them every 45 days and the staff to talk to them about every 30 days, 21 to 30 days, uh,
maybe more at the beginning of the case, it lists as the case, you know, that they get released and everything’s, but uh, Yeah. Any other questions? Yeah. Someone wants to know if anyone’s using Slack, Eric’s our hosts. Uh, he can tell you about it. We used to use it, I guess we still have it,
but We did used to use it, but we, um, we moved to base camp because we had a problem just losing so much content in the cloud that we really needed a way to organize it. So rather than maintain two pieces of software, we moved all chat over to base camp. It’s not as flexible as Slack, but, um, it does revolve a little bit more around the work being done.
Yeah. I never liked Slack, but I’m not a technology guy anyway. So we had looked at it When we were transitioning to zoom. We went with zoom because of the video calling on that, just again, get it, making sure we have that personal connection and having a unified platform. We have a listener asking if anyone would be willing to share their staff checklists.
If there are Pymble members, if they’ll email me, if they’re Pymble members, I can give them a check. I will give them what we had our checklist. I don’t give it to non-people members just to be honest with you. Cause listen people and benefit, but they might be willing to, but I’m not, unless you’re a member, you just email me.
Can it pill it or tell me what practice area I’ve got it for. Worker’s comp social security heads. Yeah. There’s four needles. Yeah. Depends on which, what kind of checklist you’re you’re you’re thinking of, but, uh, I’m at email@example.com. And we also use needles. So I have, um, litigation checklist and uh, you know,
personal injury, um, dog bite, premise liability. I have separate checklists for those. So I’m Jay Roland, J R O L a N firstname.lastname@example.org. All right, folks, that brings us to the close of an hour. I’d like to thank our panelists. Does anyone have any last parting thoughts? I just think, I just think that you need to,
uh, use the stain mantra that you’re using when they were at your office. I mean, the deal is you gotta hold them accountable and you got to give them praise and you gotta have engagement. And uh, and I think this lumen has been the killer of all. I mean, what I’m saying is five years ago, I was trying to figure out how to do this.
And it was so expensive and zoom. It just brought everything to cost down, uh, to various, it’s almost crazy not to use it, but we’re going to zoom for our webinars. We’re getting out of this is probably our last webinar go to webinar. What does she use it for? Everything webinars you can do breakout rooms. You know, when you have meetings,
you can have the big meetings. Okay, we’re going to break out over there. That session, then we’ll come back together. It’s just got so many facets to it that I just think, but I think the big deal is don’t forget to communications big deal, at least once or twice a day. If you’re a leader, you can do these little videos on zoom and them to your people.
They want to know what’s going on. They’re scared. Uh, this is new for them. Like I said, some of them are on edge. Cause they’ve got all their kids read them 24, seven or husbands or wives or whatever. So I think clear communication. And then this is the regular rules you always, which is, you know, uh,
uh, you know, praise and affirmation and trust, but verify. I mean, that’s, I mean, it has to do, I mean, you know, and hopefully if you did your job, start with it and pick the right people, you don’t have any problem anyway. Cause that’s where it starts. You know? It’s like, it’s like,
when are you making money off of real estate? When you back, when you make your money off employees, when you hire, you hire the right one, you know, uh, because they cut, they says it costs 15 times their salary to replace them. That’s what top grading book says. I was, uh, reading that element. Right.
So I mean, you know, but anyway, uh, hope this has been helpful to everyone. Thank you, parents. They’ll be great. I really appreciate it. Uh, taught me a few things today. Thank you. So next time. Thanks everyone.