Try This Simple but Valuable Exercise with Your Staff
Your back office might be working efficiently and working hard to keep things running smoothly without disruption. If so, congratulations on that outcome. But be careful that this focus on keeping things running smoothly – ‘as-is’ – doesn’t also mean that better ways of operating aren’t being explored. If your staff has fallen into a routine, it might not be the best outcome after all.
Here are four simple questions to ask your staff to help explore whether staying “as-is” is right for your firm, or whether some simple changes might yield greater efficiency, a better work environment and overall cost savings:
- “If you could eliminate one of our vendors, who would it be and why?”
Your staff are very aware of vendor errors, omissions, oversights, time lags and other problems which make working with those vendors more trouble than it should be—and not worth the expense. Do you have a problematic vendor that is costing you money and frustrating your team?
- “If you could outsource one element of our office, what would it be and why?”
Perhaps your staff knows vendors who are doing things well for another firm, or for related businesses, who are gaining as a result of outsourcing repetitive or tedious tasks. Gain some insight from your team on potential vendor involvement in these areas and consider adopting these strategies for your firm.
- “Which vendor contracts are up for renewal? Are we gathering competitive bids? Why not?”
Watch closely to see whether or not renegotiation or competitive bids are even being considered by your staff. If not, why not? Why the complacency to stay with a current vendor without even a discussion about more advantageous terms? This could be a missed opportunity. Don’t lose out.
- “What is the most time-consuming or error-prone aspect of your overall responsibilities?”
Is there an opportunity for additional outsourcing, or to bring a service back in-house or to ask one of your existing vendors to step in and help? Perhaps they offer a more cost-effective approach than having your expensive team do simple tasks that could—and should—be outsourced.
A simple exercise like asking the questions above can get your staff started in a discussion that focuses inward on process improvement—and can ultimately translate to happier workers delivering with greater efficiency for you and your clientele.
Why did we suggest the questions above?
We routinely help law firms enhance the efficiency of their middle- and back-office staff and improve overall operations with big cost-saving results. Give us 15 minutes of your time to explain why our unique approach works so well.