We’ve talked in the past about one important way you can boost efficiency in your law firm – and that’s through automation.
Automation is a powerful way to streamline routine tasks, minimize human error and free up time in your day to focus on value-added tasks that generate revenue.
There’s also another way to increase the number of billable hours you put into each day, and it doesn’t require you to double the amount of hours you work each day.
It starts with building good workflows.
Why Developing Workflows is Essential to Your Law Firm
While the two concepts are similar, creating good workflows does not necessarily require automation (although many of the tasks in your workflow should be automated).
A workflow is a series of steps you – and everyone in your firm – takes to complete a specific action or task. The key here is that a workflow requires consistency. It is a process that can be easily replicated by every single employee in your practice.
For example, think about how you track billing in your office. Now, imagine if each attorney chose their own method to manage and track their time – there would be madness.
A standard workflow creates a repeatable series of steps everyone can follow. There’s clarity. There’s consistency. There’s calm.
Benefits of a Good Workflow
Workflows benefit your employees, your processes, and your bottom line. When implemented correctly, they save you money and improve your overall efficiency. Here are other important benefits to developing good workflows for your law firm:
- They increase utilization rates – When you spend less time on administrative tasks, you have more to give elsewhere. Greater productivity leads to greater utilization and increased realization.
- They make for happier employees – Implementing workflows does not mean you are imposing strict rules on your employees. On the contrary, you’re clearing up ambiguity, eliminating confusion and giving your employees a clear structure and environment in which to feel accomplished. They know just what to do and how to do it.
- They highlight areas of opportunity – Workflows are about improving productivity and increasing your billable rate. One way effective workflows can do this is by prioritizing tasks. When processes are clear and replicable, you can easily identify which tasks should go where in order to achieve economy of scale.
How to Develop a Workflow
Now that you know why workflows are important, it’s time to get started creating one.
- First, pick a single task and evaluate your current processes. Who is involved and how is the current process handled? Is there a jumble of paperwork and digital forms? Are there approval processes in place?
- Next, delineate your flow. What is the sequence of events that should ideally happen?
- Identify who is accountable at each step. For each step in your workflow, who needs to take what action?
- Create a visual. Put your process to paper in a way that helps everyone visualize how each step comes together to create one seamless process.
- Test and retest. Try implementing your workflow, and don’t worry if it’s not perfect right away. It will likely take a few iterations to get all the wheels turning in sync. Solicit feedback from users and continue to make improvements until you get the process just right.
- Train and deploy. Once everyone is happy with the process, it’s time to train all the users and put it to use.
Developing workflows will take time, but you will reap the benefits. We promise. If you need help developing workflows or automating repetitive tasks in your law firm, get in touch with us at Honeycrisp today.