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.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Will They Ever Serve Again? – Managing the Chipotle Crisis

By Rose Strong

With the rush of the holiday season upon us, it’s highly likely we’re going have at least one meal this month from a fast food chain restaurant.

However, if you’ve been paying attention to the news, you may have heard about a recent outbreak of norovirus at Chipotle. A food-borne illness struck more than 140 people near Boston College; all had eaten at the restaurant in the Cleveland Circle neighborhood.

The fast food chain that has marketed itself as the healthier option, with non-GMO and organic ingredients sourced from local farms, has been struggling lately as several hundred customers across the country have contracted food-borne illness.

Food-borne illness can happen anywhere: a restaurant, a school cafeteria, even your own home. It can happen at any point along the supply chain, from the location where food is grown and harvested to where it is stored, processed, packaged, transported, unloaded, displayed, purchased, and cooked - and even after cooking. A simple, human error in any part of that chain can cause people to fall ill.

On the West Coast, Chipotle voluntarily closed 43 stores in November due to E. coli infections, after 17 stores were cited. The restaurant chain also has had an outbreak in Pennsylvania and several other eastern states.

How does a restaurant or food company bounce back after an outbreak of food poisoning? Some do and some don’t. Much depends on how they manage the crisis.

For the food service industry, there are four phases to responding to a crisis, according to the industry publication, Food Safety magazine. Prevention, preparation, management, and recovery are all a part of preventing food safety issues, and communicating effectively with all stakeholders if a crisis does occur.

1.    Prevention: Employing a good food safety culture, including staying current on risk factors
2.    Preparation: Proactively planning for a problem and monitoring public discussion of risk
3.    Management: Implementing the plan using multiple messages and media
4.    Recovery: Reassessing risk exposure and telling the story of changes

Clear, transparent, timely communication with all audiences is an essential part of every crisis plan for any type of business. Does your business have a crisis communications plan? If not, your first resolution for 2016 should be to draft one.

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