Foot Anstey is an award-winning law firm and is known as one of the fastest organically grown firms in the UK with 500 staff and 50 partners.
With many opportunities to win clients in new areas, one of Foot Anstey’s major priorities has been to develop more focused objectives for everyone across the firm.
To capitalize on those opportunities the firm needed to ensure the right objectives were being set and that collaboration was properly enabled.
The firm was still using a system for objectives and opportunity development based on Word documents. Although they had a good structure for this system, there were still limitations on the effectiveness of planning and objective setting: the existing documents couldn’t be centralized and weren’t visible to everyone across the firm – ultimately creating a barrier to collaboration.
That was a problem, as one of the firm’s goals was to “put the firm’s best collaboration foot forward” and differentiate itself, to win new business and retain existing clients.
Simmons & Simmons launched a series of employee surveys to gather the insights needed to develop strategies that catered for the varying needs of the workforce. The firm banished all assumptions and asked the questions that really mattered.
Foot Anstey implemented Objective Manager to address three key activities central to its objectives and goals. Firstly, streamlining objective setting and the performance review process, including mid-year and annual reviews.
Secondly, using the survey functionality to gather feedback for the annual review process. This included 360° surveys for all partners and senior people in the organization, with all feedback integrated within Objective Manager.
Lastly, the firm began piloting client plans for several key clients to improve planning and collaboration – and, crucially, the pilot includes client partners and the teams supporting them.
Adoption of the system was a success. The number of objectives per user is now at 8.5, equating to over 5,000 objectives across Foot Anstey. The firm chose to make all objectives transparent and open to view by anyone in the organization. The result has been 80%–90% of all objectives being shared, going a long way towards fulfilling the firm’s strategic collaboration goals. New objectives and requests for feedback are happening continually, making progress constantly visible.
There’s been a high level of engagement in performance reviews. Among partners, completion rates have been exceptional, with 98% completed on time.
Additionally, a huge burden has been lifted from the HR team. With the entire system being automated and integrated in one place, the need for fixed, siloed Word documents has been eliminated.
Similarly, Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) compliance-related activities have been simplified, as they no longer need to manually collate the relevant documents and a single report can be generated for each fee earner.
Ramsey Mirza, HR Director at Foot Anstey, believes the increased focus on SMART objectives will drive increased revenue growth in the long term, “you can’t not write a SMART objective with the help of the system”, he says, and the firm is already seeing a dramatic improvement in efficiency and transparency.
Ramsey continues, “We already have over 5,000 objectives recorded in the system – around 8 or 9 per person – and around 90% of those objectives are being shared. The Objective Manager system is so user-friendly and intuitive, that user adoption has been phenomenal.”