As one of the nation’s premier law firm training companies, Savvy is often asked for our advice on sample training plans for law firm training programs. This sounds like a pretty easy thing to package up, but if a firm is truly trying to increase productivity and efficiency through training, a turn-key approach is probably not going to provide the best return on investment. Each firm, and each employee, has different foundational skills, so you need to build on what you’ve already got, rather than trying to force-feed a pre-packaged curriculum to your learners.
That said, we do believe there is an easy way to draft a training program that is custom to your firm. Below, we share seven basic steps that any firm can use to plan a training program that ends up delivering customized, immediately useful skills.
If you think these steps look handy, please use them! And if you discover that you need help, contact us today. We are passionate about what we do, and we’d love to help you make your training program transformative for your firm’s bottom line.
LMS Training (if applicable)
We highly recommend that any firm looking to improve ROI on their training program subscribe to a learning management system. With an LMS, you can load learning content, build learning paths based on learner type (ie. new hires), assign content based on needs or requests, run reports on learner success rates, and more. It’s like cloning your trainer, extending his/her reach across the firm with a few clicks of a button.
For firms that have wisely invested in a learning management system, there are two training steps to undertake to utilize this piece of technology properly:
- Admin Training: Make sure the people who will run the LMS know how to use all of its whistles and bells.
- End-User Training: Make sure your learners know how to access the portal and find the training they need.
This step should honestly be rather quick and painless, assuming you’ve chosen an LMS with a good user interface. Then, you are free to move forward with the rest of the sample training plan.
If you offer training that nobody needs, you risk turning people off your program for the long term. Not to mention the fact that this is a colossal waste of time and money. This is why your training program needs to assess each learner’s skills and then provide training that challenges and elevates their knowledge. Again, this sounds time intensive, but it’s not. For example, Savvy helps clients create learning paths that provide the following:
- Skill Assessments: Run learners through a few tests to better understand their foundational skill sets. Then, you can assign appropriate training paths to rapidly take them to the level that your firm needs them to be.
- Knowledge Checks: Throughout your training program, you should challenge learners with knowledge checks to be sure they have acquired and maintained the skill levels that you expect.
Once you have assessed your learners’ skills, you can assign them to the appropriate learning paths, such as:
- New Hire: Create a learning path for all your new hires. This can include everything from your firm’s Styles protocols for documents, to HR compliance requirements.
- Pilot: Planning a firm-wide training program? Test it on a pilot group to see what they think and how quickly they assimilate the new skills. Then you can tweak the path for a firm-wide launch.
- Rollout: Launching a new tech, such as a document management system? Create a learning path in your LMS specifically for this goal. Fill it with all the training that you have created, or that a law firm training provider has told you fits your needs.
- Classes/Courses: Work with your firm’s Help Desk to identify ongoing problem areas, then assign courses to address those skills. You can even identify people who call the Help Desk over and over to feed them courses on the skills they need most.
Reinforcement (Ongoing Training)
Learning is not a one-and-done process. As Michelangelo said, “I am still learning.” If your firm expects to stay competitive as legal technologies become more sophisticated, you need to create a learning culture at your firm.
- Refreshers: On a regular basis, assign tutorials that help keep your employees’ skills fresh. This will help you identify people who may be slowing down your firm’s productivity.
Identify Remedial Training Needs
Thanks to the Knowledge Checks and Refreshers mentioned above, you will be better able to identify people who need extra help and topics that need extra attention firm-wide. Assign the proper topics to each individual or to the entire firm using your LMS.
- Help Desk Requests: Create a communication channel with your help desk folks so that they can feed you people and topics to cover in training. Your help desk personnel will be thrilled to not have to answer the same question dozens of times each day.
- Reported Skill Gaps: When people are identified as having a skill gap, assign the appropriate learning content to bring them up to speed.
Optional Learning Opportunities
When the above steps are launched, your trainer will have more freedom to work on strategic initiatives, such as:
- Advanced Classes: Need some power users on a specific tech platform? Identify some motivated learners to take advance training and assign them the proper learning paths in your LMS.
- Cross-Training: Need to diversify your skill sets across departments? Pick a handful of people to cross-train and assign them the appropriate learning paths.
Communication is key to success in any great law firm training program. Your employees need to understand why it is important for them to build and retain skills that contribute to your firm’s productivity. We have seen some trainers partner up with the firm’s marketing department to create monthly or quarterly announcements about the impact of training. Also, remember that people need to be rewarded for “good behavior,” so share individual accomplishments in your marketing efforts.
Savvy helps firms adopt and maintain these steps every day. If you need help or advice, contact us today.