Today is Employee Appreciation Day, and your law firm probably has at least few non-lawyer employees. Paralegals, legal assistants, and legal secretaries do a lot of the hard work at a law firm, and today is a great day to appreciate them for what they do.
But heck, why limit your appreciation to one day? Even Ebenezer Scrooge celebrated Christmas all year long. You can certainly do better than him, and you don't even have to come face to face with your own mortality first!
Here are a few simple ways to show your employee appreciation:
1. Take Them Out to Lunch.
Everyone likes to go out to lunch, and lunch is an informal setting where you can actually get to know your employees as human beings. No, you shouldn't make this a lunch-in affair; you should actually go out of the office, where people can't be pulled away to "just do this one thing" for someone. If lunch is off the table because there's too much work to do during the day, there's always an after-work cocktail hour.
What's the best way to show your employees that you care? Pay them more! Raises would be great, but if you can't afford that, then at least try for year-end bonuses. No one would say "no" to a surprise, unexpected something extra in their paycheck around the end of the year. (Profit-sharing plans may be acceptable, depending on the state.)
3. Be a Good Boss.
All year long, you can appreciate your employees by being a good boss. This doesn't require any of that baloney Six-Sigma training: Just be nice to your employees, encourage them to come talk to you when there are problems, and recognize them for good work. Really, employee appreciation is a year-round thing. When employees don't feel like anyone cares about what they do, they're a lot less happy at work.
4. Make Sure Your Technology Is Up to Date.
Having a working computer isn't a terribly sexy thing, but to employees, it makes a whole lot of difference. Coming in, day after day, to write client letters on an old hunk of junk from the early 2000s that starts and sputters can take a toll on your happiness. And remember the fax machine from "Office Space"? Yeah, make sure all that stuff is in working order, too.
Give your employees some time off every now and then. Has your paralegal been working, day in and day out, for months? How about you suggest that he or she take the day off, or take a vacation? Americans don't go on vacation very much, so you should encourage your employees to go decompress every couple months or so. (Ideally, you provide paid vacation, otherwise this is sort of an invitation not to get paid for a while.)