As we continue to battle the pandemic, every organization across the world has been affected in some form. We have learned to adapt and change the way we have typically gone about our business, pushing us to get more creative. From home work stations to changing the way we regularly conduct meetings, we have found solutions to problems and ways to implement new best practices in our firm moving forward.

Improving Knowledge Transfer through Virtual Collaboration

Having to work in a remote environment has adjusted how we communicate and collaborate in a myriad of ways. A major benefit has been the ability to more easily “right-seat” a junior staff member or a senior leader being mentored for their next role. We have been able to effortlessly bring employees to client, project, or operational meetings that might not have otherwise been feasible due to travel time and/or travel costs. Now, it has become a simple act of including an employee on the virtual meeting invitation and allowing them to fully participate, providing a professional development opportunity. For me, this has included asking a colleague to meet a new client, learn more about a project or task, shadow someone to understand how to facilitate a discussion, or learn the behind-the-scenes process of annual budgeting or proposals.

With a virtual setting, everyone is on an even playing field when sharing knowledge." Jean Huang

With a virtual setting, everyone is on an even playing field when sharing knowledge. In a traditional environment, sharing a lesson learned or best practice most commonly meant sharing with those that are physically nearby when experiencing that “aha” moment. With fewer people “nearby” anymore, it’s just as easy to share through a webinar or email or chat with one person as it is with 10, 50, or more people, thereby benefiting the larger team. The technology used also documents that lesson learned so it is searchable later.

Consistent and Meaningful Mentoring

Mentoring and coaching within the organization have certainly seen some change, but there are many silver linings. Our employees have been able to interact with and learn from their mentors even more in a virtual environment. At times, it could be difficult to track someone down while physically in the office, but now they can reach out with a call or a chat message at any time during the day because that is now how we track down others. Mentors have also made a point to schedule regular check-ins, making them more consistent and meaningful in fostering the growth and development of less experienced employees.

As a firm with more than 50 offices across the U.S., we are fortunate to be able to collaborate across disciplines and geographies. The growing need for a variety of expertise has allowed us to become more unified and put a variety of skills to use. The virtual environment has made the ability to share knowledge across disciplines more accessible.