Despite the ups and downs of the post-pandemic environment over the last year and beyond, businesses continue to experience growth and greater demand for services across many different sectors. But after navigating the pandemic, many businesses are struggling to retain the talent needed to keep up with increasing workloads. The professional services and legal industry are no exception to this global experience, leaving leaders striving to bring out the best in overworked, stressed-out employees.
Fortunately, the challenges that law firms grapple with today are solvable. The right payroll services SaaS provider can help firms tighten the reins on workforce costs, align employees around common processes and systems, and make it easier to overcome the challenges that come with so much disruption.
Here’s a look at how payroll technology paired with HR software can help firms power through critical workforce challenges like evolving client demands, larger workloads, low morale and retention, and compliance requirements:
Remote Work and Evolving Client Demands Put Strain on Workforce
Many law offices were thrust into a remote work model at the start of the global pandemic. While working from home required adjustments to every aspect of the business, many firms discovered new opportunities to serve their existing clients, allowing them to reach new clients altogether.
This shift to a fully-digital workforce, coupled with the explosion of online shopping and the increase in on-demand digital products brought on by the pandemic, has led clients to expect faster response times and a 24/7 service model. In the 2022 Legal Trends Report from Clio, 86% of lawyers surveyed say they work outside a traditional 9-to-5 schedule, with 73% stating they communicate with clients during the weekend.
As clients expect to receive legal services the same way they interface with other businesses, they are also increasing demand for the cost savings and convenience a virtual work environment provides. Email communication, zoom meetings, eSign, and online invoicing and payment options are now considered the norm, especially by digitally-native clientele.
An integrated payroll and HR software system can help firms keep up with these evolving expectations. With tech solutions that offer simplified time tracking and on-demand reporting, recurring tasks like monthly billing can be accomplished easily and in less time. And when firms can spend less time on various back-office work, they can dedicate more time to meeting the needs of their clients.
Larger Workload Adds Stress to Employee Schedule
When the pandemic caused nationwide court closures in 2020, it created a significant backlog of cases to process in 2021. As a result, Bloomberg Law’s 2021 Law Firm Benchmarks Survey showed that 37% of law firms reported their attorneys being overworked, and 33% said their firms lacked the personnel to handle the current workload.
Demand has only continued to rise, with average caseloads increasing by 10% between March 2021 and August 2022. At the same time, billable hours rose an average of 28%, with a gain of 31% in average revenue.
Not only are law firms managing an overall greater volume of work according to data from the Thomson Reuters 2021 Report on the State of U.S. Small Law firms, but almost 80% of firms also haven’t determined how to address the problem of spending too much time on administrative tasks.
The answer? Ditch doing payroll in-house. Adopting an all-in-one tech system that streamlines and automates recurring work can lower, or even eliminate, time spent on payroll management and other administrative tasks, making more time for meaningful work and helping to reduce the workload overall.
Low Morale and Retention Prevents Employees From Thriving
With firms facing larger caseloads, more hours, and evolving client demands, it’s no surprise to learn that legal professionals are feeling the strain. In May 2021, a survey conducted by American Lawyer showed that 37% of lawyers reported feeling depressed, and 71% said they experienced anxiety. The Great Resignation adds another layer of stress, with the 2022 Legal Trends Report showing resignation rates reaching 19%, and of the lawyers who changed jobs in the past 12 months, 37% said work-life balance was the primary reason for making a move.
Supporting employees and streamlining complex operations to make the day go by more smoothly is a powerful way to counteract low morale and retention problems. Payroll technology plays a prominent role in simplifying these processes, making it easy to track and monitor hours and adjust and shift workloads as needed in order to help employees reduce stress, achieve better work-life balance, and boost morale.
Compliance Requirements Add Never-Ending Complexity
The legal sector is one of the most highly-regulated spaces in the business world. Unlike many other industries, ethical behavior is codified, and there are strict regulatory and legal consequences for firms found to be in violation. Additionally, the nature of their work requires law firms to access and store sensitive client data, which creates another layer of regulations for law firms to abide by.
These compliance factors are further complicated because law firm regulatory compliance processes are constantly evolving, often tricky to understand, time-consuming, and expensive to implement. And overworked and stressed staff struggling to keep up with an ever-increasing workload is only increasing the level of risk that firms face.
Relying on a payroll provider that offers compliance services will help to simplify the process. With built-in notifications and online submission portals, firms can feel confident that all essential enrollments, renewals, filings, and payments are completed correctly and on time.
Payroll Technology Can Help Law Firms Overcome Workforce Challenges
A technology solution that can simplify business payroll simplifies everything. From hiring and onboarding to time tracking, payroll, and benefits, an optimized payroll process removes uncertainty, manual complications, and error from workforce activities to help law firms more efficiently manage their business. As a result, they can:
- Run payroll with a breeze. With features like pre-saved payroll settings that allow for changes to be made on the fly and make it easy to monitor payroll status.
- Streamline the employee experience. Payroll and HR tech makes it easy for firms to nurture the employee lifecycle “from Hire to Retire” by automating the onboarding process, integrating benefits management, and tracking performance and growth.
- Maintain compliance. With built-in reminders and automated submissions, firms can rest easy knowing that important filing deadlines won’t be missed.
- Access important data. A centralized tech solution that unifies all employee data allows firms to quickly run and review reports in real-time so they can make informed decisions faster and more efficiently.
Let Technology Be the Judge
The past couple of years has presented the legal sector with many challenges, challenges that will continue to impact a firm’s ability to attract and retain talent, reduce workplace stress, and improve morale.
Post-pandemic, it’s finally clear that talent is a law firm’s secret weapon for success and business growth. Finding ways to attract and retain the appropriate number of employees you need to run operations smoothly, is the key to success, and companies that adopt technology solutions to reduce time-consuming manual tasks and increase efficiency are ahead of the curve.
PrimePay at your service.
PrimePay® is a payroll service and HR provider, with over 30 years of experience, offering solutions that empower small businesses to focus on what matters most. PrimePay can partner with you to offer support throughout the entire employee lifecycle, including support with payroll taxes, and more. Learn more about how PrimePay can help you streamline payroll processes and support HR administration.
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