As a firm or legal group grows, the complexity of its internal communication increases exponentially. It becomes increasingly difficult to figure out how to best assign tasks, follow up on issues, and stay in the loop.
When your team fails to communicate, matters stall, clients grow dissatisfied, and revenue plummets. But with strong, clear team communication, productivity soars. With an entire team both focused and connected, anything is possible.
To expand the capabilities of your team, follow these 7 best practices for internal communication with Filevine:
1. Communicate on the same platform where the work is done
Ever find yourself searching through 13 different apps and websites to try to find that message someone sent about your client? Not only is it exhausting and time-consuming, it fragments your data archive and introduces more security risks.
The best strategy is to use Filevine for all client and case-related communication. Go there to add new information, ask follow-up questions, and assign tasks. This ensures that you have one system of record, with a complete, time-stamped archive of all your case communication.
In addition to increasing security and accountability, this supplies your team with all the information they need to better serve clients. When a client calls asking for updates, the latest information will be immediately available to their entire legal team.
2. Funnel external communication back into Filevine
When communication does happen outside of Filevine, funnel it right back in to keep your record complete.
- Easily add emails to the right file with the Filevine email extension.
- Scan in paper documents (check out Docs+ OCR to make those indexed and searchable).
- Forward texts right from your phone.
- Following in-person meetings, add your notes and tasks into Filevine to make sure you capture all action points.
Funneling information into Filevine maintains the integrity of your archive and breaks up information silos. In the end, you’ll have a time-stamped, chronological record of all notes, tasks, deadline reminders, documents, emails, text messages, and faxes relevant to that matter.
3. Use ‘mentions’
You probably already know how to assign a task in Filevine (use the @ sign and begin typing the person’s username). But did you know you can tag someone without assigning them a task?
To ‘mention’ someone, type the + sign before the @ sign and the username. This will bring the item up in their activity feed, even if they aren’t a follower of the project.
You can mention as many people as you want in one note. It’s a great way to keep relevant people informed without overloading their feeds.
4. Cut out unnecessary notifications
Obstacles and barriers harm internal communication. But perhaps just as damaging is information overload. Important details and updates get lost in a flood of irrelevant notifications.
Filevine is designed to help you fine-tune your notifications and escape from the flood. To manage exactly how and when Filevine notifies you, click on your profile picture and then click ‘notifications’. You can choose what actions spur an instant notification, and whether you’d like to be informed through email, Slack, or a text message.
But perhaps more important is the second tab, where you can choose to get a daily digest of new mentions, upcoming deadlines, and more. Maybe you want to be notified immediately when you’re assigned a new task, but for everything else, a morning email once a day will do. Even better, perhaps you review your tasks and activity feed regularly enough that you can cut out some notifications completely.
Experiment with different balances until you figure out the right notification settings for you.
To keep your activity feed relevant, be discerning about what projects you follow. Keep your activity feed tidy by switching from ‘follower’ to ‘collaborator’ status on projects that don’t need your oversight. Click on the ‘Team’ tab for the project to change your status.
5. Rely on taskflows to defeat micromanaging
Another malady that strikes at your office communication is micromanagement. It destroys efficiency and erodes any sense of trust that might have existed. Micromanagement is a sure way to repel top talent from your organization.
You don’t have to pop in and ask each person about each step, or once again provide additional details. All of those finer points can be automatically added into the project’s taskflow.
Automatic taskflows will keep each member on task, but give them the freedom to operate on their own terms, without the sense of a boss breathing down their neck. Managers can follow through on missed deadlines and bottlenecks by running regular reports. They can trust each team member to carry out their work, and diagnose problems early when they arise.
On the flip side, automatic taskflows reduce the number of interruptions more senior members face. Instead of asking a supervisor about the details of each step in a matter, all needed information can be automatically included in the taskflow.
To learn about setting up automatic taskflows, click here.
6. ‘Note’ documents
As you move through cases and matters, you probably find yourself returning to key documents. You want to bring a document to someone’s attention, add additional context, or incorporate it as part of an assigned task.
You can do all of these in Filevine. When you’re typing a note or task, click on the 3 dots on the right side. Begin typing in the name of any document that has already been added to the project to include a link to it in the note or task. (Of course, this is also where you can upload new documents.)
Conversely, within the Docs tab, click on a document in order to learn about its history. You can see past versions, as well as every place it has been noted within the case files. You can also click ‘note this’ to create a new note about the document without leaving the tab.
7. Add a little formatting
Want to make a piece of information stand out or create tidy bulleted lists? Learn a few Filevine formatting tricks.
Filevine uses a simple ‘markdown’-inspired system to add formatting to your text. For instance, to make something bold, you add two underscores to each side.
__Don’t forget:__ send documents to clients
And you’ll end up with:
Don’t forget: send documents to clients
You can also create headers, hyperlinks, and more. To learn a few simple formatting tips, check out the list here. Incorporate formatting into your automated taskflows as well.
Communication is what transforms a group of individuals into a team. With clear direction, fast access to information, and control over their own work product, your team can leverage its combined energy to achieve ever bigger and better results.