Monday, February 08, 2016

An Internal Communications Tool for Today’s Teams

By Megan Quinn

When I was told that we were implementing Slack in the office, my first reaction was, “What is a Slack?”

Slack is a collaboration platform that enables teams to converse and share files in various channels. It allows for open channels, private channels and direct messages and is accessible on all types of devices, from desktop computers to smartphones.

I enjoy Slack as a means of internal communication. What’s great about it, particularly when compared to basic instant messaging tools, is the fact that multiple people easily can be looped into a conversation about client work, regardless of their location. And if a certain project doesn’t concern all members of the staff, they don’t all need to be in the same channels. This makes group communication much more efficient and effective.

Our office administrator, Rose Strong, said, “Slack is such a great tool. I like being able to go back and forth in groups, channels and one-on-one. Slack is most productive when we communicate in well-organized channels, some about clients, some for internal use, and even one for articles that we want to share and access again and again.”

Managing separate client channels ensures that all messages don’t get mixed together like in an email inbox. You also can go back through a single conversation easily to pinpoint particular notes. If you have several channels, searching with the find tool can help you sift through multiple conversations.

Taking the Slack app to your smartphone makes travel easy. You can keep up with the latest client conversations even while traveling, which is very helpful.

We are far from the only ones enamored of Slack. Founded in 2014, the San Francisco-based startup is now the team communications tool of choice for everyone from NASA’sJet Propulsion Laboratory to Walmart to Comcast to the New York Times.

How do you help your internal teams communicate effectively and efficiently?

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

The 15-Minute Internal Communication Tactic That Also Could Save Your Life

By Gina Rubel

One of the most frequent concerns we hear from clients during assessments for practice management is that the organization lacks effective internal communications. Often, management fails to tell the rest of the staff what is going on on a day-to-day basis, contributing to frustration and resentment and resulting in a wide variety of missed opportunities to grow and improve the business.

Thankfully, we have an easy solution to this problem that costs nothing and takes no more than 15 minutes of staff time: daily “stand-up” meetings.

A few years ago at Furia Rubel, we implemented daily stand-up meetings where we would all stop what we were doing and gather in the center of the office to reconnect and refocus. They began as two per day one at 9 a.m. and the other at 4 p.m. Over time, our daily stand-ups have changed a bit. Rather than the whole office meeting in the morning, only those who need to check in with one another do so. In the afternoon, a reminder pops up at 4 p.m. for the entire available staff to meet.

What I like about these brief stand-ups is that they force all members of the Furia Rubel team to connect with one another and highlight only the most pressing and important issues of the day. It also helps us to know what is going on with our clients and who on the team is responsible for what. It is important to us to foster a culture of inclusion.

When we asked our colleagues to tell us what they felt was most valuable as it relates to internal communications, everyone mentioned daily stand-up meetings as one of the valuable tools.

Heather Truitt, our senior graphic designer said, “Before coming to Furia Rubel Communications, I worked at small agencies and larger, in-house agencies. Some places had email distributions, which were great, when everyone remembers to reply to the email distribution list, or reply to all on emails. But in a day and age when you send an email instead of picking up the phone, and communications can get so misconstrued, our daily, in-person stand-up meetings promote regular interaction with everyone on the team.”

Heather said, “Being able to stand up and move around a bit and interact with the team is a great exercise towards the end of the day. We interact with each other in person and talk about projects, ask what people need help with for the rest of the day, or just receive a daily reminder that a team stands ready to support each and every person.”

On top of the communication and productivity benefits, there are inherent health benefits to standing up and moving away from the computer. We don’t call them “stand-ups” for nothing.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Fostering Inclusion Through Internal Communications

By Laura Powers

As an agency that assists clients with internal and external communications, we believe in practicing what we preach. So when we recently discussed tactics and tools that we use within our own day-to-day operations, we knew that our readers could benefit from these valuable communications ideas, too.

At Furia Rubel, we employ many tactics and practices that enhance our internal office communications. They include:
  • Email aliases that allow small groups to communicate quickly about client work.
  • The cloud-based team collaboration messaging platform Slack, where we have set up separate channels for discussions regarding each client.
  • Regular status meetings every four to six weeks.
  • Lunch-and-learn meetings where we present brief educational presentations to our team.
  • Daily stand-up meetings to discuss immediate projects and needs.
However, I think the most important thing about our internal communications approach is that it almost always involves all team members, from the most junior to the most senior. Even though most businesses benefit from an internal hierarchy, we have seen the benefits of including the whole team in daily communications:
  • It fosters a sense of ownership with regard to the company and our clients.
  • It allows every team member to contribute her own perspective and experience.
  • It cultivates a work environment of support and trust.
  • It provides all team members with the ability to speak intelligently about most of our services, processes and client work.
The regular sharing of information across all positions and responsibilities ensures that all Furia Rubel team members are able to learn from each other and also enables us to provide better service to our clients.

What internal communications processes do you use? Let us know in the comments.

Friday, January 08, 2016

National Law Journal 'Best of' 2016 Survey Voting Now Open

Friends, the 2016 Best of The National Law Journal reader ranking survey is live, and we are asking for your support.

Please vote for Furia Rubel in the following categories, and please share this with legal industry colleagues asking them to vote too. We greatly appreciate it.

#3 – Best national public relations firm
#4 – Best national crisis management firm
#6 – Best national integrated law firm marketing provider
#7 – Best national legal marketing and branding services
#8 – Best national law firm website design services
#10 – Best national social media consultancy

Please also vote for our client USClaims on Questions 53 and 54 for litigation and law firm funding.

Eligible voters must come from within the legal industry and may include attorneys, paralegals, staff and service providers. You may vote only once and your name and company affiliation will be required at the beginning of the survey. 

Voting will remain open through Feb. 5, 2016.

With your support, Furia Rubel has been named the among the best agencies in the country by The National Law Journal every year since 2012.

We have been recognized for our top-level services including Legal Marketing and Branding, Law Firm Marketing, Law Firm Website Design, Law Firm Public Relations, Crisis Management and Social Media Consulting. 

Thank you from the entire Furia Rubel team for your support over the years and again today.

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