Implementing a practice management software is a big investment for your law firm, but it’s only part of the equation. Once you’ve implemented your new practice management software, your employees need to actually use it—and make the fullest use of its features. If they don’t, then your firm isn’t getting a full return on its investment. What’s more, your firm won’t run as efficiently as possible.
Here are several tips for getting your employees to use—and benefit—from your law practice management software.
Highlight the value of your practice management software
The first step in getting your attorneys, employees, and staff to use your software starts before you’ve even implemented your new practice management system.
Prior to switching over to a law practice management software, make sure everyone understands the benefits of using the software and how it will help them do their jobs more efficiently. Keep your team updated on timelines for implementing the software and answer as many questions in advance as possible. Clear communication at this stage can mitigate stress over learning a new tool.
Train everyone thoroughly
In the lead up to the new software, start providing training for everyone on staff. Everyone should receive at least a baseline training, even if they’ll be infrequent users. Training should be done in a supportive environment where everyone has the opportunity to ask questions. If there are specific functionalities that users need to know, consider dedicating training time to those functionalities.
Find super users
While everyone should be trained on your legal practice management software, consider designating a few users as “super users.” These users can receive additional training in the software, giving them robust knowledge about how it works and allowing them to support their colleagues during the transition.
Identify your training priorities
Not everyone needs to be a super user, though. If your employees are taught a bunch of functions they don’t actually need to do their job, they’re more likely to feel overwhelmed and less likely to embrace the new technology. That’s why it’s best to focus on must-know tasks in the beginning.
There will be areas that everyone will need to know, such as basic compliance issues and client portals, but starting with everyone’s key tasks will make things easier—and hopefully help your team stay open to more training down the road.
Planning initial training is common, but it often isn’t enough, especially for robust, powerful software like legal practice management platforms. Inadequate levels of training can leave staff feeling even more frustrated and overwhelmed than they were at the beginning.
To circumvent this, set up an ongoing training schedule for your employees. Your attorneys, paralegals, and staff are busy, but your practice management software is a big investment and a little time each month can go a long way toward making sure everyone is comfortable with this essential tool. Don’t forget to cross-train staff on different aspects of your practice management software, either.
Finally, ongoing training can also be an opportunity to provide basic technology refreshers for your staff. Making sure everyone is up to a basic skill level will ensure that the practice management training they receive will stick.
Incentivize your employees
Learning a new way to do your job is hard, but a little extra motivation can help get your employees a bit more excited about it. Incentives can come in a variety of forms:
- Offer billable hour rates for attorneys dedicating time to learning your practice management software.
- Provide bonuses for employees who take leadership in training or undergo additional training on your practice management system.
- Set a timeline for employees to complete the first phase of training. Those who complete it early receive a gift card or time off.
People are more likely to do something if they know they’ll be rewarded for it, so this is a great way to encourage employees to use the software.
If your employees still aren’t using the law practice management software after implementing these changes, there may be other factors coming into play.
Keep communication open
Good communication is key when you’re implementing new technology. If your attorneys, paralegals, and staff are feeling frustrated and not using your practice management software, it’s a good idea to sit down and ask them what the obstacles are. General feedback is helpful, but you should specifically look to find out:
- What capabilities of the practice management software are causing challenges
- If more training is needed, and if so, what kind of training
- If training approaches are—or aren’t—working for them
With that feedback, you can assess your training and figure out where the problem lies.
Is your practice management software the right fit?
Not all practice management software are the same. Depending on the size of your practice, your practice area, and the target clients you serve, you may benefit from a more robust practice management solution—or a more lightweight option. If your employees are struggling with functionalities, it may be time to go back to the drawing board. While no one wants to switch software again, you’ll have learned some valuable information about your law firm’s needs and how your team works. There are plenty of options out there.
Making the switch to a new law practice management software can be daunting, but it’s worth it if it means your employees will actually use the software. It’s a big investment, but if it helps improve your firm’s operations, it will be worth it in the end.
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