The webinar discussed topics including leadership and management, motivation and communication management, effective and efficient performance while working remotely, the effects of digitalization on marketing and business development processes during and after the pandemic. The event focused on four key topics: human resources management; quality and standards; business development; and finance.

Human resources:

The pandemic brought many uncertainties and new ways of working for employers and employees. With the introduction of more widespread homeworking, it has become more difficult to monitor what employees do and for how long, and who works less and who works harder during the pandemic. In addition, homeworking means that employers are mostly focusing on evaluating results rather than processes used.

Working remotely should not mean mentally moving away from the office for existing employees or for new recruits. Managers may need to put in some additional effort to keep people engaged, and how managers react to this crisis will be a guide for what to do should a similar situation arise in the future.

Although the world is already on the way to digitalization, the pandemic has accelerated this transition, so workflows need to be digitised at a faster rate and made more measurable. Some business lines (such as administrative services, secretariat) that are currently location-dependent may become uncoupled in the future.

The sense of belonging is very important for young employees, and particular attention should be paid to good onboarding and internal communication during the new working restrictions.

 

Quality and standards

The session demonstrated the importance of key personnel to maintain quality and the importance of passing on corporate culture through knowledge and experience.

Speakers noted that ensuring quality in business management has three factors:

  1. The human dimension where it is very important to have a training framework, especially as as lawyers / attorneys are no longer working in the next rooms and so cannot easily ask each other in the slightest mistake / question.
  2. ‘Providers’ to ensure quality in business management. Facilitating innovations in technology and services such as instant communication systems, an online library, and systems management will be required in the new period to increase the quality of business management.
  3. Client satisfaction. Client feedback is an indicator of quality, so it is necessary to prioritise the existing clients first, to measure the satisfaction levels and to determine the factors that cause dissatisfaction. Client satisfaction and quality will go hand in hand when there is a structured approach plus communication, to eliminate the factors that create dissatisfaction.

Marketing and business development

Although 2020 progressed negatively until April-May, the speakers used the statement, "We can develop our own business, but we can only trace to a certain extent how the demand for the services we provide in the external environment may change" to emphasise the importance of business development. For this reason, the importance of existing clients was emphasized, especially in the context of marketing and business development in these difficult times. Since it is not easy to gain new clients, suggestions were made that existing clients should be protected, the services provided to them should be increased, and marketing and communication activities could be carried out online.

While marketing activities are mainly aimed at new clients, “how we can better evaluate what we have” should be prioritised in this process and importance should be attached to business development, where business development means protecting the existing clients and increasing the services provided to the existing clients. Client satisfaction should be planned well, as existing clients can be a reference site for new clients. In this context, it was mentioned that client satisfaction is related to the quality of the work done and that this satisfaction will increase by providing services on time and being accessible and having information about the client's sector and business model, since clients will be more satisfied when they can reach senior lawyers easily and feel that their job is prioritised. 

During the current crisis, it is necessary to identify key areas of work first, to determine the clients in this field, to measure the satisfaction of these clients and to take corrective and improving actions.

The importance of consistency in marketing was also emphasised and it was noted that marketing activities should be planned and spread over time. Since face-to-face interviews are often no longer possible, cost-effective methods should be found to stand out from the ‘information pollution’ that may be caused by resource abundance.

As an example of these methods, specialisation in the fields of study and the production of qualified marketing materials in these areas were suggested. Articles could be prepared for proactive and commercially action-oriented publications with a long shelf life. It is important for lawyers and attorneys to improve themselves in terms of remote visual communication and written communication skills. In written communications, benefits provided to the reader should be prioritised. The importance of innovative steps, such as using webinars for communication purposes was mentioned. The speakers also stated that different distribution channels should be used to deliver the content to more people, for example a broadcast can be published in at least five/ six different channels.

Finance

When developing 2020 and 2021 budget and finance projections, macroeconomic indicators such as those from World Bank and IMF should be considered.

The financial measures that companies can take and new habits they can adopt were also discussed. A fund should be created as a buffer against unforeseen crises, and speakers also suggested that the technology budget should be reviewed if the financials are sufficient.

 

Other suggestions included: if there are projects, it may be possible to turn these jobs into regular consultancy, even if the income is low; regular jobs can be increased; some job positions may become unnecessary in the new era; it may be helpful to turn to businesses that pay in foreign currency.

Finally, the floor was opened up to questions from the participants.

FICPI’s view and involvement

The independent IP attorneys who are members of FICPI bring insights and counsel from a wider external perspective and share their insights with fellow FICPI members through articles, blogs, webinars and events. FICPI’s committees help drive professional and technical excellence, whilst its national associations and national sections offer the opportunity to network and drive developments at a local level.  

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