How to train your firm with new technology

Wednesday 18 October, 2023

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Technology supports cultural change, and cultural change means you make better use of technology.

At a law firm, it isn’t as simple as turning your new programmes on and reaping the rewards, so here are our top principles for training your teams in new technology:

  1. Establish how tailored your training can or should be
  2. Training is not an event, it’s a process
  3. Accept feedback — training shouldn’t be one-way
  4. Consider re-training as well as training

Establish how tailored your training can or should be

Some firms — and some individuals within those firms — pick up new technology faster than others. Certain partners or fee earners will be afraid that if they do anything wrong with new technology, it will break. Others are unafraid to experiment.

If you have two people on either side of that spectrum, it’s unlikely that they will need the same kind of training.

Only you know how practical it would be to deliver one-on-one training, but the further you can tailor the training to the learning style and the confidence of each trainee, the better chance you have of that training being successful.

Training is not an event, it’s a process

It would be a mistake to think that having delivered a presentation, and perhaps given each team member a tour of their new programme, that training is complete.

Only by ‘road testing’ your technology will you know if people are truly comfortable with it, and if they use it well. Time and use reveal where people need the most support, so even if it’s informal or ad hoc, training should be ongoing and responsive.

Consider planning a training calendar — work can take over, and training can be easy to forget.

Accept feedback – training shouldn’t be one-way

If someone doesn’t like the system, then shutting down their concerns will only entrench them.

Ideally, you will have had firm-wide buy-in for the technology before the switch, but even then, users can discover things they don’t like, or find that how they’re being told to use something isn’t the way they think they should use it.

If you’re emotionally invested in the system working, and you’ve told your team how to use it, you can instinctively reject any suggestion that differs from your approach. However, that’s the time to remember that your investment is in success, not in the technology itself. The result is what matters, not the tools you use to get it — the best results come from collaboration.

There will always be valuable feedback about a system from the people who use it the most.

Consider re-training as well as training

This isn’t only an opportunity to train with new technology, but also to retrain with your existing systems. Unless, of course, your new programmes replace all current ones.

Software and systems attract habits and behaviours over the years, which then get passed throughout the firm and to new members of staff. The introduction of a new system is the perfect time to rethink how you use everything.

Some businesses find that they’ve been doing things a certain way just because they assumed it was best, but they discover that they could have had far more success if only they’d taken slightly different approaches.

Old habits die hard, but when the team is already in an experimental mood, game-changing discoveries come more naturally.

Want to hear how other practice managers choose new technology and embed it in their firms? Join the conversation on the Practice Managers’ LinkedIn Page.