In many conversations over the past months, I heard common themes from CMOs, managers and teams. Often I’ve been asked “how are my colleagues in other firms handling this?”. To help answer these questions and share insights across the profession, over 200 colleagues responded to our survey which was conducted between May 13 - 22, 2020. Thank you to all who participated.
First, here's who responded:
Secondly, here's what we learned:
People are working longer hours during COVID-19
We’ve all seen dozens of social media posts and news stories discussing the challenges of working while isolated at home. This has included surviving endless Zoom meetings, supervising dependents and making sense of the world around us. So how is this impacting our work hours?
Some key questions for our profession:
Marketing and BD are focused on ‘protecting the base’
Marketing and BD teams are famous for wearing multiple hats in any given day. Responding to pitches and RFPs, organizing events, executing on business goals, planning ways to enhance and sustain existing relationships... this list never stops. Given this context, when asked to share the major focus areas for the marketing and BD team during the COVID-19 response, the respondents answered as follows:
The trend among survey respondents is highlighting an emphasis on externally facing initiatives. They appear to be “protecting the base” by providing support and knowledge to existing clients and taking next steps on already defined strategic business development plans. Comparatively less focus has been applied to marketing to new clients, implementing new initiatives or responding to RFPs.
Old teams, new tricks?
Many discussions with firms early in the pandemic response considered how marketing and BD teams could use their transferable skills to support other teams (at the expense of traditional marketing and BD activity).
There are a number of takeaways from this data:
Our colleagues prefer working from home
For years, we have heard a growing number of colleagues talk about wanting more flexibility in their professional lives, with the option of working remotely (or at home) for at least some of the time. COVID-19 has pressure tested this working model in ways few of us could have imagined. Close to three months in, our survey respondents have indicated their preferred working styles:
It will be interesting to see whether these rates persist if current restrictions continue for months (or years). Anecdotally - and supported by the data above relating to working hours - it would seem that productivity has not dropped despite teams working from home. This has long been a concern of firms considering more flexible working arrangements. One unexpected benefit from these challenging times has been this ‘case study’ in working from home. I’m sure this will lead to a lot of consideration for ‘the office of the future’ for law firms.
Which Industry & Practice groups are the busiest for your firm?
Which Industry & Practice groups are the quietest for your firm?
Kate Harry Shipham is the Principal of KHS People LLC, an executive search firm for BD and marketing people in professional services firms. Kate has done search and recruiting for nine years and prior to that was an attorney.