At A. A. Thornton & Co., working as an HR professional is rewarding because the firm really does understand that ‘it’s our people that make the difference’, which makes my job so much easier!
Following a management discussion back in the mid part of 2014, initially about appraisal refresher training for managers, the firm’s ‘People Group’ considered what it was we really needed to achieve from training to support our business plans in the future. We agreed that we would like to support our managers to develop more open and honest working relationships with other managers and colleagues. In particular, we wanted to enable better communication with each other by appreciating different styles and preferences in ways of working. At the same time, we wanted to equip our managers to facilitate high-quality appraisal and development discussions to enable our highly skilled patent and trade mark attorneys and carefully selected team of professional staff, to feel supported, developed and motivated.
We decided to use the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator as a way to help the leadership team look more closely at our own behaviour and style in work and to give us a common language to discuss strengths within the team, differences in approach and what might need to change in light of that new awareness. This has enabled us to agree actions around firm-wide communication, improving management team meetings and strengthen line management relationships.
It is so easy to see time spent on this kind of development as a lower priority, especially when projects and operational workloads are heavy. But I can honestly say that the time we invested in this has paid dividends.
In addition to seeing changes in the leadership team, we also realised that there would be some real benefit in involving all staff in things we had learned, so we subsequently ran a series of interactive sessions entitled “promoting positive working relationships” These gave everyone the opportunity to explore their part in building a positive team environment within the Firm and look at how they could contribute to an effective and inclusive workplace. Feedback has been very positive and it has underlined for us how vital it is to nurture the right behaviours within an organisation, at every level.
The work we have done so far has been the start of a range of actions and developments that have been put in place to have a positive impact across all areas of the business. Specific examples of changes we have seen as a result are a focus on SMART objective setting and the start of a drive to develop a culture of openness and feedback. We are delighted with the progress we have made so far and it has highlighted once again for me how great workplaces don’t happen by accident – they happen because everyone contributes and understands they each make a difference. We recognise we still have work to do and know that when it comes to creating a great place to work, we need to ensure we continue to develop and challenge ourselves, but it is good to feel we are now building on some very solid foundations.
Karen Genuardi is HR Manager at A.A.Thornton & Co., a leading Intellectual Property law firm based in London and Northampton, servicing an international client base with a team of carefully selected experts. http://www.aathornton.com/, LinkedIn : https://www.linkedin.com/pub/karen-genuardi/5/613/48