The head of HR for the company’s legal department, composed of approximately 30 attorneys and 10 legal support staff, sought help to solve a growing tension among staff, namely between distinct legal groups within the department as well as between department leadership and staff. A number of individuals complained of experiencing low morale, poor interpersonal communication, and dissatisfaction with leadership.
We set out to discover where the conflicts truly lied, both from top-down and bottom-up approach. Our Peacebuilder/Analyst began analysis and conflict mapping through one-on-one and group interviews and a mixed methods survey. He then presented results and themes to all involved, outlined a proposed strategy for culture transformation, and facilitated a group discussion around the strategy in order to get input and buy-in from all involved. The group facilitated dialogue yielded several agreed-upon initiatives, which would be integrated into the department’s protocols, including:
- Hiring a technical lead to own the effort of new technology adoption, train people, and assist in implementation
- Giving attorneys the opportunity to have new career experiences
- A system for recognizing team members’ exemplary work
- Quarterly calls with the entire department, led by the department head, as well as monthly group calls led by each group manager
- New communication policies, include expectations around responsiveness and protocols for urgent matters
Staff reported satisfaction and relief in feeling heard and getting their long- standing concerns finally addressed.
- Because they had agency in the solution, staff reported buy-in on technology processes and key decisions that had previously poor adoption
Leadership gained clarity into the underlying issues, leading to a) a plan for restructuring of titles and departmental structure, b) the development of clearer career paths and succession plans, and c) best practices in employee feedback systems for ongoing culture optimization.