The New Hire process is one targeted for automation and improvement by all organizations - not just law firms (although the law firm new hire process does differ from other organizations). In fact, this process optimization is probably most often initially driven by the IT department. The amount of hours spent by IT in determining and then effecting account setups across multiple business systems, coordinating equipment procurement, phone setup, etc. is dramatically reduced when this process is optimized.
Unfortunately, many firms miss out on the full value of New Hire process optimization because they fail to see the cross-functional considerations of this process, and just as importantly, the relationship of the New Hire process to upstream and downstream employee-related processes.
Here's How NOT To Do It
The worst example I've ever seen of this myopic thinking was when an IT department decided it was going to introduce process optimization of the new hire process, and neglected to even engage the HR department until the point of implementation! Needless to say, things went downhill quickly from there - or actually, not quickly - a year later the implementation was still flailing.
The lesson? It is ok to implement optimization of a fragment of a process, but it is NEVER ok to do that without understanding the relationship of that fragment to the entire process or other processes. And to literally ignore the key owners of a process (in this case, the HR department) is a mistake you won't recover from without paying a dear price of time, effort and cost.
Getting Real Value from New Hire
I don't know about you, but if I'm going to be heading out on a long driving trip that I want to break up across several days, I look at the whole route and once I understand that, I figure out how I want to break it up - what portion I'll drive Day 1, then Day 2, etc. Also, I'll make sure that wherever I stop on each of those days gives me a place to sleep, eat, etc.
Luckily, one of the keys to good process management uses the same simple thought process! Let's apply it to the Law Firm New Hire process.
Figuring Out Who Cares
Don't make the mistake of looking at the New Hire process in a siloed fashion like the IT department in our sample above. And also don't assume that the answer to this question is obvious - if you do that, then you aren't going to achieve the kind of transformation good law firm BPM brings. Think in new ways.
For example, it seems obvious - HR and IT - they both care. Oh, and of course, there is the hiring manager - they care. But who else might care? For that, we need to break it down a bit. What position is being hired? That might make a difference - if it's a new secretary, paralegal, or attorney may impact many aspects of the process, and also who gets involved. Attorney recruiting or professional services teams will have interest in this new hire process, but also in what information gets vetted and kept for ongoing downstream processes (we'll get to that in a minute).
Define The Starting and End Points
Seems simple doesn't it? Well, it is, but it still needs to be defined. Depending on who you speak with there could be many definitions of the 'start' of the New Hire process - so you'd better ask!
Does it start when IT gets the email that a new person is coming on-board? Does it start when the offer is made or when it is accepted by the potential employee?
Does it end when the employee shows up for Day 1 and has a place to sit with a phone and a computer, or does it end after employee orientation is over, or when the 3-month probationary period ends?
Understanding the Optimization Focus
Now you need to determine what you are going to optimize and transform. Are you going to do everything from start to finish, or are you going to phase the optimization - focusing on high value 'fragments' of the process over a period of time? This conversation and ultimate decision is based on timeframe, investment (effort and associated cost) and return-on-investment.
This is SCOPING and has been identified by Gartner as 1 of the 7 Key Criteria of BPM Success.
Get this right, and you are going to be well on your way - get it wrong and it could get dicey.
We help customers and prospects break out of this place quickly - in hours, not weeks or months. See past blog articles, downloads and free scoping workshops for more information on Elegrity's scoping advice and consulting. Here are just a few:
Don't Forget The Employee!
Last but not least, be sure you understand the key subject of the New Hire process - the employee! Why do I bring this up? Because I would say that 99.99% of the time law firms don't think about this - not really.
What I mean is - we need to think about the entire lifecycle of this employee over the long-term. Let's start by realizing that the New Hire isn't even the first business process about this employee - there were all kinds of activities surrounding this employee that are parts of other, related processes that have already occurred. Recruiting, background investigations and reference checks, conflicts (if this is a Lateral Hire), etc. AND, there are hopefully going to be a lot of other processes that will be about the employee for their tenure at the firm (and beyond). Miss these relationships, and you could be wasting amazing opportunities for long-term return on your efforts on New Hire.
Law Firm BPM is critical to the ability of today's firms to achieve long-term profitability. Every effort can achieve maximum value return when done thoughtfully and with a long-term outlook. I hope the information is this blog helps your law firm achieve maximum value from your efforts surrounding New Hire and related processes. Get the following FREE whitepaper for application of these same concepts to New Business Intake.