A truly engaged employee is one who believes so strongly in an organization that he or she invests discretionary effort in its success.  In other words, a truly engaged employee is someone who regularly goes above and beyond his or her job description.


What does this mean in a law firm?  While equity partners (and those on the track to become equity partners) are best thought of as owners rather than employees, everyone else should be considered an employee.


The engaged non-equity track associate involved in document review will notice and point out an interesting new detail.  The non-engaged counterpart could ignore this detail, because it might make the job more difficult.


The engaged paralegal or legal assistant will cheerfully work evenings and weekends as a courtroom date draws near.  The non-engaged employee will complain and sulk.


The engaged mail room person will deliver a registered letter to a lawyer as soon as it arrives, allowing for timely consideration and response.  The non-engaged employee will wait until the next scheduled delivery cycle.


And finally, the engaged marketing director/manager/support person will devote extra time and effort to creating a truly customized client proposal, rather than simply answering RFP questions with the usual non-specific content.


In addition, employee engagement is not limited to the workplace.  An engaged employee will rave about his or her law firm outside the office as well — whether to neighbors on the sidewalk, fellow parents at a soccer game, or someone they meet at book club or a cocktail party.


When you consider these examples, it is easy to see how truly engaged employees can propel law firms from run-of-the-mill to highly successful.  “Defining and communicating the unique story or message at the heart of your law firm is essential to employee engagement,” said Laura Wegscheid.


Wegscheid discussed why law firms should enhance employee engagement in order to improve morale, operations and the bottom line.  This presentation to the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Legal Marketing Association (www.legalmarketing.org/rockymountain) took place Sept. 13 at Fogo de Chao Restaurant in Lower Downtown Denver.

Wegscheid is a senior consultant with Cast Communication Design (www.castcommunicationdesign.com), an internal communications consulting firm focused on helping businesses engage and align their employees.


This is part one of a three-part article.  For the entire article, see Truly engaged employees lead to highly successful law firms.