The only thing worse than training people and having them leave the company, is not training them and having them stay!” Jack Welch

The idea of training often includes visions of endless days in front of a computer learning a process or a software tool that you have little or no interest in.  But what about the tools you and your team use every day?  “Oh we know those – been using them for years”.  Perhaps this is true, but that doesn’t mean you’re not throwing time and money down the drain every day you use it.

Let’s start with Microsoft Office as an example.  Odds are, you’ve been using Office for a decade or more.  But most of us have been using it the exact same way for the last 10 years. We’ve upgraded from 2000, 2003, 2007 and here we are at version 2010.  And we’re still only using the same basic functions.
TrainingHere’s a quick test.  Does your staff know how to view and edit two parts of the same Word document at the same time? Do they know how to insert exact portions of a screen shot into a new document? Does your staff know how to format a document using Styles?  Can they create a PDF directly from Word 2010? Each of these features are absolute home runs for a law firm. If your team doesn’t know how to use these tools, chances are you’re losing time and money fumbling around the ‘old fashioned way’.

Most firms already OWN the best software.  Some of it probably came with the new PC’s you bought (so they could work faster and get more done).  But by not taking advantage of these tools, you could have saved a lot of money by simply not purchasing anything.

And Word or Office is just the tip of the iceberg.  Odds are you have provided your team with a whole host of tools, from email and calendaring to time and billing to accounting.  If you’re using Adobe, Time Matters, Amicus, HotDocs, Timeslips or any of the other tools out there – odds are your staff is only utilizing about 5-25% of it’s capabilities.

Keeping your people current on all of these tools can be the difference between a static law firm and growing, vibrant one.  Here’s a basic formula if you’re looking for proof – take your software costs (e.g. $10k) and multiply times the percent of the software you’re using.  If you’re using 25%, you’re hoping it will pay for itself in 4 years.  ($2,500/year).

Now add in your $3k / year maintenance plan PLUS the fact that you’re not using the new features you’ve purchased with that maintenance plan and you now own the equivalent of a credit card that can never be paid off.  The return on this investment will always be negative. Ugh.

So whether it’s MS Office, or Adobe, or Worldox – whatever it is – we recommend that to get the most out of your tools by investing in training. You’ll see gains in productivity, increased workflow and ultimately, more money in the bank.  And that’s the real goal, right?

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