The coronavirus pandemic has caused a healthcare and economic crisis across the country and around the globe. It has also posed some difficult questions for businesses and their workers, like law firms and their attorneys and staff.
There has been a wide range of issues stemming from the pandemic. As an employer with offices throughout Florida, we also have first-hand experience with some of the complications caused by the economic downturn. At the same time, we also understand how important it is to maintain a diverse and inclusive workplace. This is an essential part of our identity as a law firm, which we believe helps us better serve the people and businesses we represent.
Businesses, including law firms, must understand that employment-related and other decisions made now in response to the pandemic can have a long-term impact. They should be mindful of how those moves can affect their ability to recruit and retain a diverse and capable workforce.
Below are some essential tips for weathering COVID-19 without jeopardizing your team.
Keep Diversity in Mind When Considering Cutbacks.
The crisis has unfortunately forced some employers to trim their payrolls by cutting the headcount. Still, it is vital to retain a diverse and inclusive workforce during the pandemic and to be able to retain talent when economic conditions improve.
Company leaders can prioritize diversity by keeping it at top-of-mind when deciding whom to lay off and whom to keep on the job. They should ensure that such decisions are based on objective criteria rather than subjective factors that may make diverse employees more susceptible to the termination.
Leaders can also combat potential biases by being mindful of assignment creation, especially as many employees continue to work from home. Providing your diverse workforce with opportunities to work on important projects or tasks can go a long way in helping all to build confidence and experience on the job.
Understand That Everyone Has Different Personal Obligations
The pandemic, school closures, and the shift to telework can be incredibly stressful for working parents and people who are caring for the elderly or other family members.
It is crucial to acknowledge that everyone has different cultural and personal obligations, and it is especially important to show a commitment to working with employees during this time of anxiety and uncertainty. Allowing for flexible time off during the week and alternative scheduling arrangements can play a huge role in easing the burden for many employees.
Supplement In-Person Networking with Resources for Remote Profile Building
Although social distancing means many people are staying home, it does not mean that all career-building and networking opportunities need to be put on pause.
Law firms and other businesses should already be thinking about helping people bolster their online networking efforts. Tutorials on leveraging Linkedin, getting involved in webinars and other events, and participating in professional organizations can ultimately lead to maintaining and/or expanding contacts.
Internal marketing departments can play a crucial role in this training and development. It is also important to implement standards for tracking these efforts to ensure that they pay off in the long run.
Following the above tips can help all business leaders maintain a strong and diverse team of employees.
Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley PA is a Florida-based personal injury law firm that has represented thousands of clients with car accident, medical malpractice, brain injury and numerous other injury claims.